Chicago Cubs: Predicting what the 2022 starting rotation will look like

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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Justin Steele / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Pondering the starting rotation for 2022 – #5: Justin Steele

Justin Steele has now been a piece of the rotation for the better part of a month and recently made his fourth start against Minnesota, picking up his first win as a starter in the process. What I liked to see was not only Steele go five scoreless frames but he was stretched out to 86 pitches with three walks and only one hit, lowering his ERA to 3.48 in the process.

The reason Steele starts this list is because as he continues to improve as a starter, the more he solidifies his role in the rotation. As cliché as that sounds, you have to remember how important it is for the Cubs to have a better rotation next season and if you can find it in a younger cost-effective arm like Steele instead of having to spend money in free agency, it helps the team in so many ways and lets the front office address other needs, which, probably should still be pitching regardless. Being able to utilize his services in the rotation allows you to pay up for another starter and at least look to have a trio of Hendricks, whoever they pick up and Steele.

Hopefully, David Ross keeps Steele in the rotation and he can see how he continues to adjust.  As dominant as he was earlier in the season out of the bullpen, if he can simply figure out how to keep the walk rate down he should be able to get to six to seven innings even with his pitch count remaining in the mid-80s.

If anything, the left-hander can be a solid piece in the bullpen but obviously, the hope is that he can continue progressing just as he has been. The first time you see him go at least six innings and post a quality start, feel free to be optimistic. Steele is a key piece of the Cubs pitching staff moving forward.