Thirty-one-year old Mychal Givens has had himself a solid big league career to this point. Givens was originally a second-round pick of the Orioles in 2009 out of high school and has pitched in 364 career MLB games. He sports a career 3.40 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 1.17 WHIP and 473 strikeouts.
On Thursday night he notched a save for the Cubs in a 5-2 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. Givens has pitched in several other big spots during this young Cubs season, showing they might have found another under-valued solid pen arm.
Cubs seem to have picked up a reliable late-inning arm in Mychal Givens
David Ross still seems to be trying to figure out the best places for certain relievers going forward. Veteran David Robertson has already successfully notched multiple saves for the Cubs, but we also saw Givens deliver in that same spot. He also came in on Opening Day and got a crucial strikeout in the eighth inning to help preserve a 5-4 lead. In his first four appearances as a Cub, he struck out seven hitters in 3 1/3 innings, surrendering only two hits.
While not a triple-digit flamethrower, nor one who puts crazy movement on his pitches, Givens has the ability to generate swings-and-misses with primarily a mid-90s fastball, slider and occasional changeup. He’s a career 10.7 K/9 pitcher. To sum it up, Givens is not overly flashy but effective. With all the “finesse” guys on the pitching staff, it is good to have guys who can generate strikeouts late in the game.
It is a small sample size so far, but Givens shows promise of being a reliable back-end pitcher for Ross and the Cubs. While less experienced arms like Ethan Roberts and Keegan Thompson will also be important for the pitching staff, it is nice to have an experienced guy like Givens in there alongside Robertson and Rowan Wick. This gives Ross more options on the closer role if they do not want to go full-time with Robertson, or if he needs a rest.
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Trial and error will likely see a lot of mixed results from the Cubs pen early on. If Givens continues to pitch the way he has, then that would be huge for the back end. The middle relief has been the shakier spot in the pen so far, and that will need to improve.