3 pitchers who will have expanded roles after Caleb Kilian's injury

The Chicago Cubs received bad news about Caleb Kilian this week, one of their depth starters from the minor leagues

2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training
2024 Chicago Cubs Spring Training / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs got some bad news on Thursday as MRI results for starting pitcher Caleb Kilian showed a shoulder strain that will sideline him until the All-Star break. As one of the main depth starting pitchers in the organization, Kilian's injury is not ideal but it will give opportunities for these three pitchers to seize opportunities in the coming months.

1. Ben Brown

2024 is all but certain to be the year where right-handed pitcher Ben Brown makes his MLB debut. He was acquired by the Cubs at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for former closer David Robertson. Since then, he has climbed his way to the Triple-A team where he threw 92.2 innings last year. Standing at 6'6, Brown's fastball tops out at 99 mph and is complemented by a plus slider and curveball.

All three of Brown's pitches have grades of 60 (out of 80) according to MLB pipeline and he is ranked as the Cubs' no. 11 prospect. Although his pitches yield a high strikeout rate (130 in 92.2 innings last year), Brown has had control issues in the past and he issued 57 walks last year. This has brought up questions of whether he can sustain being a starter in the majors, but he should get an opportunity at some point this year with Kilian not in front of him on the depth chart.

Brown has looked sharp in his three appearances in Spring Training so far and I would expect him to get some starts this year, especially if the big league rotation gets hit with injuries. Even if he doesn't succeed as a starter, Brown should prove to be a more than capable bullpen piece with his above-average stuff.