Chicago Cubs News: Justin Steele snubbed in latest MLB Network ranking
MLB Network released a pitcher power ranking on Monday morning, and Justin Steele surprisingly did not make the cut despite pitching at an extremely high level for the Chicago Cubs.
Despite posting at least six innings pitched in 9 of his 10 starts this year. He has also only given up more than three runs on one occasion, giving him a 2.20 ERA on the season which is third in the National League. He has also collected 53 strikeouts, six wins (T-1st in NL), and a WHIP of 1.01 (T-6th in NL). The guy has been dominant in most of his starts and he is in the early conversation for the NL Cy Young award. Maybe we're a little biased since this is the Cubs' first successful home-grown starter in a long time, but that doesn't mean Steele hasn't been extremely impressive thus far.
And he's not the only one. The top of the Cubs rotation has been pleasantly productive in the first seven weeks of the season despite not having much to show for it in the standings. Marcus Stroman has been using his sinker to keep the ball on the ground and let his defense take care of the rest while Drew Smyly's new curveball is allowing him to cruise to a sub-three ERA (2.86). Unfortunately, much of this starting success is overshadowed by inconsistent offense, a lackluster bullpen, and major question marks in the last two rotation spots.
Steele's emergence could bear fruit for years to come (not a free agent until 2028) as the Cubs look to return to the playoffs for the first time since the pandemic shortened 2020 season.