Giving key Chicago Cubs players 2022 letter grades

(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Cubs pitching has shown a lot of promise over the past few months.

NOTE: Some pitchers who threw under 40 innings and/or are not considered future pieces omitted.

Marcus Stroman: B+

The right-hander came in and replicated what he has on his career resume. 3.50 ERA, 3.76 FIP and 1.5 WHIP in 25 starts. He did miss some time due to injury after the really bad start against the Cardinals, but the body of work was overall very solid. Not much else to say but a job well done.

Justin Steele: A

Arguably the best storyline of the season, Justin Steele turned himself into a legit force to be reckoned with. He posted a 3.18 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 1.4 WHIP and 126 strikeouts in 119 innings. The slider looked filthy and displayed good fastball velocity. As the season went on, he grew stronger.

Keegan Thompson: B-

Had mixed results as a starter, but overall very good as a reliever. This kid has some really solid stuff and the biggest challenge will be finding consistency. Thompson proved this year he can be a piece for the future, maybe a swingman.

Kyle Hendricks: D

The Professor only made 16 starts before missing half of the season due to injury. While he showed flashes of his old self from time to time, it was an overall struggle. A 4.80 ERA and 4.82 FIP pitcher is a far cry from what we saw from 2014-2020. His legacy as a Cubs hero is set in stone regardless.

Drew Smyly: B

A nice surprise. The veteran, who has gone through a lot in terms of injury and bouncing around in his career, pitched very efficiently. It will be interesting to see if the mutual option is exercised for next year or if the two sides hammer out a new deal to keep him in Chicago.

Adrian Sampson: B+

Another nice surprise, Sampson made 19 starts and pitched to a 3.11 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 104. 1/3 innings. He kept the team in games and ate some innings too. The stuff was not dominant, and one could wonder about 2023 regression, but much credit to him for being a nice piece in the rotation this year.

Rowan Wick: C-

His strikeout numbers were good, but command and overall numbers were a tick or two below the league average. He had some really good stretches, but a lot of rough outings as well.

Brandon Hughes: B

His debut season saw a lot of positives, with a few rough patches. The strikeout numbers were very good with 68 in 57 2/3 innings, as was the ERA (3.12). He did have some issues with home runs. That said, Hughes can build off an overall solid first year in 2023.

David Robertson: A

Chicago took a flier on the former All-Star reliever and it paid off handsomely. He was rock solid as closer, recording 14 saves and pitching to a 2.23 ERA and 11.4 K/9. The Cubs got an intriguing prospect from the Phillies for him in Ben Brown at the deadline.

Scott Effross: A+

Pitched lights out, and then was flipped to the Yankees, getting the Cubs Hayden Wesneski at the trade deadline. A win-win.

Mychal Givens: B

Another good find by Jed Hoyer, Givens struck out 51 hitters in 40 2/3 innings before being dealt to the Mets. Suffice to say, things didn’t go quite as well for the veteran in Queens.

Mark Leiter Jr: C

One might not remember his performance that fondly, but he quietly pitched to a 2.49 ERA, 3.54 FIP and 27 strikeouts in his last 19 appearances. His overall season numbers were not spectacular, but honestly not as awful as we might remember them as.

Michael Rucker: B-

A decent year overall, strikeout numbers were pretty good with 50 in 54 1/3 innings.

Wade Miley: C-

He was a notable acquisition this offseason but spent most of 2022 injured. Hard to give a bad grade because his performance was decent, and getting hurt was not his fault, but it’s also hard to give high marks for a guy who didn’t see the field much.

Hayden Wesneski: A

A potential future starter, he really impressed in his brief but exciting first go-around in the majors. The slider is nasty. Don’t forget his immaculate inning, either. Hopefully it’s a preview of what’s to come.

Javier Assad: B

Shout out to the 24-year-old for coming up on a need basis and pitching well when just about nobody expected him to.

Daniel Norris: F

Reclamation project that just did not work out, he pitched better in Detroit.

Chris Martin: B

The peripherals looked much better (3.02 FIP and 11.5 K/9) than the 4.31 ERA.

Adbert Alzolay: Incomplete

Came back very late, but the stuff looks pretty good. He still can be a part of the future.

Caleb Kilian: Incomplete

It was not particularly pretty, but the noted prospect only threw 11.1 MLB innings.

Players on current postseason rosters who can help. dark. Next

As mentioned in some of the evaluations, certain circumstances for select players make it harder to assign a grade to. While this season has not been the best, the second half certainly gave Cubs fans a glimmer of hope.