Chicago Cubs prospect Caleb Killian struggles in first AAA start of the season

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

It was a disastrous start to the Triple-A season for Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Caleb Killian. Killian made his first start of the season for the Iowa Cubs on Sunday and struggled considerably as he failed to last three innings while allowing eight runs on nine hits and one walk. Included in the eight runs that Killian allowed on Sunday was a total of four home runs.

After entering the 2022 season as the Cubs' top pitching prospect, Killian has seen his prospect value decline after struggling with control issues in his three starts at the Major League level and in his return to the Iowa Cubs.

Killian revealed during Spring Training that he dealt with a left knee issue that was altering his mechanics and led to the struggle in command that he had last season. Killian only allowed one walk on Sunday but that wasn't the issue as he wasn't missing bats and allowed hard contact after hard contact.

Killian not being able to reach his full potential is something that the Cubs may have already prepared for and can withstand. Hayden Wesneski, since being acquired by the Cubs at the trade deadline of last season, has cracked the starting rotation at the Major League level and appears to be on a path that could place him near the top of the rotation by the time that the season ends.

Meanwhile, the minor league system, the Cubs have two pitching prospects that could ascend to the top of their prospect rankings by the end of the season. Left-handed pitcher Jordan Wicks is starting the season with Double-A Tennessee and is the 6th ranked prospect in the team's system. There has been early speculation that Wicks could get a look at the Major League level in September depending on where things stand with the Major League team. Ben Brown, another deadline acquisition from last season, begins the season as the team's 8th ranked prospect and he, too, could get a look at the Major League level at some point this season.

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Killian has fallen to the 18th slot in terms of the Cubs' prospect rankings and his appearance on Sunday will not help his cause.