3 Cubs breakout candidates - 1. Jeremiah Estrada
Jeremiah Estrada has all the makings of a back end of the bullpen piece. At 24 years old, his breakout started in the minors, where he posted a collective 2.05 ERA between all levels. He spent time in High-A (1.17 ERA), Double-A (1.86 ERA), Triple-A (0.00 ERA), and finally was called up to Chicago, where he posted a 3.18 ERA and eight punch outs in 5.2 frames. Estrada may start in Triple-A this season, but it should be a brief stint if he continues with the same production we've grown accustomed to from him.
Estrada is ready for big-league action, but the problem for him is the bullpen is already somewhat crowded with several bulk relief options. As stated before, Wesneski may start in the bullpen, along with Adrian Sampson and Keegan Thompson. Brad Boxberger and Brandon Hughes will also man roles, leaving Spring Training competition for the last few spots between names like Estrada, Javier Assad, and any of the recently acquired left-handed relievers on minor-league contracts. I expect Estrada to be the one to shine the brightest, finding himself in an essential role by the end of the 2023 campaign.