In mid-July, the Chicago Cubs selected the contract of a minor leaguer most people had never heard of – former fourth-round pick Erich Uelmen. Seeing a struggling team look to the minors as the season stretches on isn’t exactly surprising, but the fact the right-hander is still around nearly a month later is certainly interesting, especially given his lack of appearances to this point.
Since Uelmen’s debut, he has appeared in just six games, throwing 7 2/3 innings with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.174 WHIP. But the problem is, since his debut, the Cubs have had 19 games, and Uelmen has appeared in just a half-dozen of them. Uelmen is not on the injured list, and he is still with the major league team, so there has to be questions as to why manager David Ross is not giving him regular appearances.
Even if Ross does not trust or believe in Uelmen, there is no reason to not give the rookie a chance. This team is not going anywhere, so having players like Sean Newcomb (8.71 ERA), Michael Rucker (4.70 ERA), and Mark Leiter Jr. (4.72 ERA) get the ball while someone like Uelmen watches from the bullpen doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Cubs have to turn things over to the younger players down the stretch
The only way for anyone to get better at something is practice and experience. Having a rookie on the major league roster means that they need to play in order to get better. Just look at Christopher Morel, who is getting better week after week this season. The same can be said about Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson. David Ross also let Matt Swarmer pitch a lot earlier in the season. But why is he not letting Uelmen pitch?
Once September comes around and the rosters expand, we’re going to see some more younger faces. Those players must be given the chance to play, but with the way Uelmen is being used, I’m not convinced his role will change a whole lot down the stretch.