Chicago Cubs: Justin Steele makes his audition for the starting rotation

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The day has finally arrived. Justin Steele is set to make his first start as a member of the Chicago Cubs. There have been talks for awhile about Steele getting a shot at cracking the starting rotation and it has finally come to fruition. With the sharp downturn this season has taken, looking for little things to excite us moving forward is key. Seeing if we have something in Steele as a part of this rotation in the future will be fun to watch.

According to MLB Pipeline, Steele checks in as the Cubs’ 29th-ranked prospect following the flurry of moves the front office made at the trade deadline. At 26 years old, he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He had Tommy John Surgery back in 2017 and has spent six seasons with the Cubs organization.

His name may sound familiar to some fans, as he’s made 11 appearances for the Cubs this season out of the bullpen, going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. After spending time in the bullpen and then a spell on the injured list, he worked at Triple-A to get stretched out as a starter. In nine appearances in Iowa, including five starts, he went 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA.

"“He’s done everything he needed to do to kind of show us his ability to be a starter and get stretched out,” Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy told “Now, we’re just excited to get our hands on him and more of a one-on-one [setting]. … I’m just excited to see him go out there and go two or three times through a lineup, and just continue to attack with some plus-plus stuff.”"

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Steele could be the left-hander the Cubs so desperately need in their rotation. This is an awesome opportunity for him to show what he’s made of. The Cubs are ranked 23rd in baseball with a 4.78 starter ERA and the sad part is Trevor Williams was the only one from the rotation they traded.

It’s a no-risk, high-reward situation as we finally get to see if Steele has what it takes to be part of this rotation moving forward. He throws a fastball that ranges from 92-95, a curveball, changeup and slider to round out his pitch arsenal.

His best pitch is his slider and is one that’s gathered a lot of attention throughout the organization. Health and experience will be key for the lefty moving forward if he wants to make it with this team.

The Cubs have a lot of questions to answer with this rotation. Kyle Hendricks and Adbert Alzolay are really the only two we can say for sure will be part of this group moving forward. With three spots to fill, the front office needs to see if any can be found in-house and where free agent signings need to come into play. This is Steele’s moment to show he’s worth a spot.

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Sure, the Cubs may no longer be in contention, but a Top 30 prospect making his ‘debut’ against the division-leading Brewers is something to get excited about. Better days are ahead for the Cubs and the hope is that Steele gives us something to feel good about.