3 Cubs that deserve a shot at becoming closer: #3: Dillon Maples
Let’s start with a guy who had a fantastic start to the 2021 campaign, Dillon Maples. Maples has appeared in 24 games this season, posting a 2.28 ERA over 27 2/3 frames of work. That is by far his best stretch of baseball throughout his career. Unfortunately, Maples went down with a blister in July and landed on the IL, where he has since been activated and sent to Iowa, where he has been for the last 10 days.
Currently in Iowa since coming off the IL, Maples has unfortunately gotten hit hard in two of his five outings, giving up three earned in those appearances. His ERA in Iowa sits at 6.91 due to a rough inning where he allowed three runs to cross the plate this weekend. Once he strings together a few solid outings I have full confidence he will be recalled to Chicago where he absolutely should get a shot at closer if he posts the same types of numbers he did earlier this year.
Before going down with injury, Maples posted a 33.7 K percentage in the first half of the season along with a 4.01 FIP. A reverse splits guy, Maples has allowed a batting average of .160 in 14 2/3 innings pitched to righties while only allowing a 0.98 average in 13 innings pitched to left-handed batters. You would love to see him cut down on his walks. He has allowed 19 in his 27 2/3 innings in 2021 at the major league level.
It’s really any man’s job to earn at this point in the season with things in the shape they are. Even though save opportunities are few and far between for the Cubs right now, when you are called upon, those who shine now are pretty much guaranteeing themselves a spot on the roster moving forward. Nothing better than guys on cheap contracts performing well. Saves the club a lot of spending money.