Cubs: Scott Effross trades tells a lot about the team’s pitching infrastructure
The most shocking trade the Cubs made was the trade of Scott Effross. A relative unknown a year ago, Effross’ sidearm delivery of his sinker and slider turned him into perhaps the most reliable reliever in the Cubs bullpen. Effross’ reliability and controllability made him a likely candidate to replace Robertson in the closer role, but Hoyer opted to sell high on the righty instead.
While the Yankees got a shutdown arm for the back of their bullpen, the Cubs grabbed who some thought was the best pitching prospect the Yankees had in Hayden Wesneski. Wesneski primarily utilizes his plus fastball and slider (both 60-grade pitches according to MLB Pipeline) and also has a usable changeup as a third offering. His fastball touches 98 while his slider has the sweeping motion that the Cubs absolutely covet in pitchers.
Though he has two absolutely plus offerings, his strikeout numbers aren’t as high as you may expect, sitting at just 22.4 percent in Triple-A. However this would be a career-low for Wesneski, and he’s reuniting with his former Double-A pitching coach Daniel Moskos who oversaw Wesneski’s highest strikeout rate at over 35 percent, so it’s reasonable to expect a rebound in that department.
Wesneski also excels in his command, walking just 7.5 percent of the batters he’s faced this season. The right-hander is almost certainly going to factor into the team’s 2023 plans as the 24-year-old is already on the doorstep of the majors, and may only need to break through in the strikeout department before the Cubs deem him ready.
While losing Effross was unexpected and hurts this year, the Cubs have shown the ability to churn out a quality bullpen over the last two years, and there shouldn’t be a reason to doubt that approach now. Nabbing a team’s top 10 prospect for a reliever is always a sound decision.