Twenty-five-year-old righty Javier Assad will get his first crack at the big league level Tuesday, getting the start for the Cubs in game one of the doubleheader against the Cardinals. Assad has had himself a really nice season in the minors, pitching to a 2.66 ERA, 1.2 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 108 1/3 innings between Tennessee and Iowa. Twenty-one of his 23 appearances have been as a starter.
This will be an intriguing guy to watch take the mound. While not considered a top-30 prospect, he is still fairly young and has a chance to show what he can do. Teams that develop well can take non-ranked minor leaguers and make them successful MLB players, something the Cubs would like to improve upon from the previous years.
Looking at Javier Assad’s career in the Cubs organization
Assad is a native of Tijuana, Mexico who signed with the Cubs as a teenager in 2015 as an international free agent. He debuted with the organization in 2016 as a 17-year-old. He has 527 2/3 innings under his belt in the system, sporting a 3.96 ERA and 1.4 WHIP to go along with 479 strikeouts and 173 walks.
This year he has made some massive improvements from 2021. Last year he spent the eentire season in Tennessee, pitching to a career-worst 5.32 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 93 innings. His K/9 is up a full 2.0 from last year with his H/9 (hits-per-nine) down 2.5. The fact that he has a sub-3.00 ERA and sub-2.0 BB.9 in Triple-A so far, albeit in a smaller sample size, is an impressive development considering the hitter-friendly nature of that level.
A majority of Assad’s contact over the past several years has been on the ground, though he’s not necessarily considered a typical “groundball pitcher”. He has an annual groundball between 41-47 percent which is not quite at that 50-55 percent threshold that is typical for a groundball pitcher. He has shown this year that he can miss some bats. His 9.2 K/9 is the highest it has been since 2017.
Assad’s first assignment won’t be easy. He will face a red-hot Cardinals team that leads the NL Central. This man was a toddler when Albert Pujols made his MLB debut.