Projecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 season

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Chicago Cubs
Caleb Kilian – Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Cubs: Who are some minor league candidates to make the leap?

The Cubs have made it a point to add pitching to the farm system and that group has really shown promise over the past few months. Caleb Kilian made his MLB debut earlier this season but really struggled with command.

With so many fresh faces in the mix down in the minor leagues, Kilian makes a strong candidate to get a look out of the bullpen in 2023. It may not be where he ends up down the road but it could give him a chance to start the season in the show and develop his craft a bit.

Ben Brown, the return in the David Robertson trade at the deadline, is another young arm that can be a force out of the bullpen. I would not be surprised if he works his way up to the major league roster by the end of camp next spring.

Two exciting arms in the system that could be surprises at the start of next season are Luke Little and Luis Devers. Both are currently in High-A ball but have some nasty stuff that would play well out of the pen.

Little stands at 6’8″ with an overpowering heater which makes him a very enticing prospect. He can reach triple digits on the radar gun while consistently sitting around 97 mph. Devers has a nasty changeup that has propelled him to an unreal start to his High-A career.

Devers has a 0.57 ERA in 31 2/3 innings with South Bend and is striking out batters at a ridiculous clip. He could get a promotion to Double-A before the season ends and get an invite to spring training next season.

Codi Heuer, a prospect the Cubs got back for Craig Kimbrel last season, might make the bullpen later in the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. However, it seems more likely that he will be ready to really play a role again in 2024.