Chicago Cubs: Adbert Alzolay is the face of future for this rotation

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

The starting rotation of this year’s Chicago Cubs team is vastly different than it was just one year ago. For starters, ace Yu Darvish was traded to the San Diego Padres, leaving a massive hole atop the rotation. Not only that, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana all signed with other teams in free agency following the abbreviated 60-game 2020 campaign.

That left Kyle Hendricks, who, at the time was deemed the team’s ace, along with right-hander Alec Mills. Chicago acquired veteran Zach Davies from the Padres via the previously mentioned Darvish trade. But, to fill the remaining holes in the rotation, the team did a few things, including taking advantage of the free agent market, bringing in Trevor Williams and old friend Jake Arrieta. Besides that, the North Siders also utilized key pieces within their organization, one of those being young right-hander Adbert Alzolay.

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With all that has changed, there was no way to predict how the rotation would perform in 2021. It seemed as if Hendricks, Davies, Arrieta and Williams would secure rotation spots before the season. However, a question remained: who would claim the fifth and final rotation spot? At the end of the day, the job went to Alzolay, and so far, the 26-year-old hurler has not disappointed and has shown why he was clearly the best man for the job.

Chicago Cubs: Adbert Alzolay has come into his own in 2021

There is no denying that one of the season’s biggest and most pleasant surprises has been Alzolay’s ongoing success. Before the 2021 season, he did not have much big-league time. He only made a couple of starts in 2020 and had a total of six MLB appearances to his name. Last season, he posted a 2.95 ERA in a limited sample size.

Though he had a rough first outing, Alzolay has really made progress and shown what he is made of. So far this season, Alzolay owns a 3.62 ERA across 10 starts, spanning 54 2/3 innings pitched. He also has earned wins in three of four of his last starts and is up to 58 strikeouts on the season.

Looking back at how good the Chicago Cubs were in the month of May, it is clear that Alzolay was a driving force behind their improving record. From the looks of it, the team is having fun, and with recently increased crowds at Wrigley Field, things should only look up from here.

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Not only that, it is great to see a homegrown player succeed as Alzolay has so far, and hopefully, his success continues throughout the remainder of the season and beyond – as the Cubs turn their eye to the next era in franchise history.