Adrian Sampson struggling in battle for spot in the Cubs starting rotation

Feb 25, 2023; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Adrian Sampson (41) on the mound in the third
Feb 25, 2023; Mesa, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Adrian Sampson (41) on the mound in the third / Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Training has been a struggle for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Adrian Sampson as after his start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, Sampson has allowed a total of 8 home runs in 8.1 innings pitched.

Sampson gave up a pair of home runs in the second inning of his start against the Brewers on Sunday and while the expectation is that pitchers are normally working through some things during Spring Training, Sampson may be losing ground in his battle for a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation.

Before Cactus League games began last month, Cubs manager David Ross told reporters that Sampson along with Hayden Wesneski and Javier Assad would be competing for the fifth starter's spot in the Cubs' rotation. Wesneski has thrived this Spring including a perfect 4 innings pitched in his Cactus League start on Saturday and that has placed Sampson in a position where he is willing to do whatever is asked of him.

"“Luckily for me, I can kinda do whatever that they ask,” Sampson said. “I can come out of the bullpen. I can start. I can do whatever they want. As long as we put ourselves in a good chance to win, that’s the most important thing.”"

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Entering Spring Training, the expectation was that Sampson may have the upper hand in the competition for the final spot in the Cubs' rotation given the success he had with the team last season and the idea that Ross may prefer a veteran for the spot.

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Regardless of what Ross may prefer, Wesneski has clearly emerged as a clear level ahead of Sampson and Assad. While Assad is currently away from the team as he pitches in the World Baseball Classic for Team Mexico, Wesneski has shown this Spring that he could ascend toward the top of the team's rotation if he has a full season at the Major League level.