Chicago Cubs: Pitchers popped up from out of the blue for the team
Coming from indie ball, Tommy Nance still stands out as the most successful random Cubs pitcher. He burst onto the scene as a deadly weapon for the team, dominating throughout May and part of June with a bowling ball sinker and a spin rate that stood at second best in the league. It’s highly likely that he was using some form of sticky substance though, as his performance tanked after inspections started, but he was fun to watch and a good story, to boot.
Among the other pitchers is a slew of random relievers that made a few appearances before disappearing into the aether. Brandon Workman, Robert Stock and Shelby Miller all fell into this category with each one jettisoned after some brutal performances. Stock got the short end of the stick of the three though. His one appearance as a Cub was as an emergency starter against Jacob deGrom aka the god of modern pitchers. It wasn’t great.
Adrian Sampson deserves a nod as well for quietly having the best performance of his career. He ended 2021 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.075 WHIP (never mind the awful FIP), providing the Cubs with some crucial depth down the stretch. One final mention for Trevor Williams as well, a former Cubs rival that helped the team pry Pete Crow Armstrong from the Mets and gave us some touching moments with his dad.
2021 gave all of these players and more a few moments under the sun at Wrigley Field. In the grand scheme of Cubs baseball, their role is minor, but for one year, they controlled a good part of the narrative around the team. From Schwindel to Stock and Wisdom to Workman, the random Cub experienced a renaissance that’ll be the source of deep-cut trivia questions for decades to come.