Cubs: Giving end-of-season grades to this year’s rookies

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Hughes / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Cubs end-of-season grades: Rookie pitchers showed more good than bad

Javier Assad: C
This season, Javier Assad appeared in nine games, starting eight of them. Called up Aug. 23, the 25-year-old right-handed pitcher may have struggled a little bit, but did show some hope. Working to a 3.11 ERA in 37 2/3 innings, Assad struggled with a high WHIP of 1.46. Seeing him on the 26-man roster next season is likely, but in the bullpen, at least until he can lower his WHIP.

Brandon Hughes: A

Called up May 17, 26-year-old southpaw Brandon Hughes showed he deserves to be in the majors. In 57 games, Hughes accumulated a 3.12 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP in 57 2/3 innings. Toward the end of the season, he was moved into the closer role, notching eight saves in 12 opportunities. Hughes will definitely be in the bullpen next year and will likely be in the hunt for the closer’s job again.

Hayden Wedsneski: A+
Acquired from the Yankees earlier this season in the Scott Effross trade, Hayden Wesneski was called up to the majors on Sept. 6, and has been lights-out since. In six games, starting in four, Wesneski ended his debut season with a 2.18 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 33 innings. The 24-year-old pitcher should be in the starting rotation next season, possibly as its fourth or fifth member. His future with the Cubs appears to be bright and he could become a massive part of the young core.

Caleb Kilian: D

Caleb Killian was one of the two players received in the Kris Bryant trade in 2021, and he may not be quite ready for the majors yet. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher appeared in only three games, working to a 10.32 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in just 11 1/3 innings. Killian will likely not be on the major league roster to start season, especially when you consider the control issues that plagued him not only in Chicago, but at Triple-A for much of the season.

Brendon Little: F

A former first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, Brendon Little was called up to the majors on Aug. 30. Little will definitely start the 2023 season in the minors, as he was only given one opportunity and it did not go well. Despite the Cubs not being a postseason contender down the stretch, manager David Ross clearly saw enough of Little is that brief appearance.