Cubs make bold but correct decision, promote Ben Brown to fill in for Justin Steele

In promoting their #2 pitching prospect, Chicago is prioritizing ceiling and potential impact over a placeholder to fill the void in the rotation.

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Virtually everyone expected right-hander Hayden Wesneski, who has bounced between Iowa and Chicago for much of the last two years, to be the man summoned to fill in for the injured Justin Steele. Instead, Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins made a bold decision - and one that's rich with upside for the Chicago Cubs - by promoting the team's #2-ranked pitching prospect Ben Brown.

Brown, who was set to open the year with Triple-A Iowa, had a dominant spring training with the team. The 24-year-old posted a 0.64 ERA in 14 innings of Cactus League ball, striking out a dozen batters and walking 5. Had an injury not derailed his 2023 season, it seems very likely we would have seen him at Wrigley Field late last season.

There's still no word on any sort of timeline for Steele's return, although I suspect we may get an update ahead of the Cubs' Saturday night matchup with the Rangers. The left-hander is an integral piece of the rotation - and the team's hopes to contend in 2024 - so we're all keeping our fingers crossed for a semi-speedy return.

Cubs give a chance to Ben Brown, a big-time pitching prospect

Chicago acquired Brown back in 2022 at the trade deadline, sending veteran right-hander David Robertson to the Phillies for the highly-touted prospect. He's rocketed up prospects boards since joining the organization and possesses some big-time swing-and-miss stuff in his arsenal, although control will be a major focal point for him.

Wesneski, along with veteran left-hander Drew Smyly, have been the Cubs' go-to options when voids in the rotation arise of late. Neither figure to be a high-impact presence this season, but Brown certainly has the potential to make his mark while Steele is sidelined. It's a big-time decision by the front office and one that the fanbase is surely to be very receptive of.

More to come on Brown and what he brings to the table. For now, though, this is a big move by the Cubs - and one that could make a big difference for the team with its ace sidelined.