Chicago Cubs pitcher Javier Assad dominates Team USA in WBC
Last night, Team USA and Team Mexico played their second game in pool play in the World Baseball Classic. After beating Great Britain the night before, Team USA ran into a much more formidable foe in Team Mexico, who saw three brilliant innings from Chicago Cubs pitcher Javier Assad.
Assad looked sharp on the mound, needing just 37 pitches to record three complete innings, along with a line of no runs, no walks, one hit to Mike Trout, and two punchouts. Where competition can find itself light in terms of teams that are less star-studded, Team USA boasts perhaps the best lineup in baseball worldwide. Regarding the Cubs, Hayden Wesneski seems to be running away with the 5th starter competition, but Assad may have made the front office look twice, as accomplishing this feat can't go without being noticed.
Before the World Baseball Classic, Assad pitched four innings in Spring Training, recording a 0.00 ERA with a 0.25 WHIP and two strikeouts. This all came after he climbed the ladder after throwing 71.2 innings with a 2.51 ERA in, Double-A, 36.2 IP with a 2.95 ERA in Triple-A, and finally making it to the MLB, where he hurled 37.2 frames while recording a 3.11 ERA. He recorded a 2.77 ERA in 146 innings of work across all three levels combined.
David Ross and the front office will undoubtedly have a tough decision regarding who will be the 5th starter this season. Wesneski has looked like he has all the makings of an elite starter in the league, but it's hard to take away anything Assad has done. At the very least, he has earned his place on the 26-man roster, at least as a bulk reliever/spot started when needed. Though it's a tough decision, pitching depth is an excellent problem for any MLB team. Thankfully, the Chicago Cubs will have plenty of it in 2023.