Adbert Alozolay emerging as next Chicago Cubs bullpen ace

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs were clear in the offseason that Adbert Alzolay would pitch exclusively out of the bullpen during the 2023 season and it is a decision that has already flashed its potential during the first week of regular season games for the team.

The Cubs have a unique setup in their bullpen to begin the 2023 season. The Cubs have three pitchers in Alzolay, Javier Assad, and Keegan Thompson that are capable of pitching mutiple innings per appearances. While that goes against the traditional mold of a bullpen, it is a trend that could become the new normal for Major League Baseball teams. Interesting enough, the Cubs could add another pitcher of that form when Kyle Hendricks returns from the injured-list. It seems likely that the Cubs will add Hendricks back to the rotation and that may push veteran Drew Smyly from the rotation tot he bullpen.

"Bullpen Aces" have become an asset for Major League Baseball teams and that was a role that Thompson thrived in. The downside to that role is the recovery time between appearances is often longer. Whereas the standard reliever may be able to pitch in back-to-back games, relievers like Thompson may need multiple games in order to be ready for their next appearance.

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That is the reason why Alzolay may be among the most important pitchers on the Cubs' staff this season. Alzolay has strucked out 8 hitters through his first 4.2 innings pitched this season and appears to be progress toward becoming a secondary bullpen ace in that role. Alzolay's emergence in the role would allow for the Cubs to put him on a different schedule than Thompson and always provide the team with an option in the bullpen each game that can pitch multiple innings and shut an opposing team down.