Cubs News: Jameson Taillon has an insane strikeout-to-walk number this spring
By Jake Misener
He may not have been the flashiest name on the list of free agent pitchers this winter, but new Cubs right-hander Jameson Taillon has made quite the first impression on his new team this spring.
He's faced 52 batters, striking out 18 and, perhaps more importantly, walking none. He's long been a guy who pounds the zone when he's on the mound, but Chicago may be in the position to help him add a swing-and-miss element to his plan of attack - evidenced by a 12.2 K/9 mark this spring, well above his career mark of 8.1 K/9.
With the rotation picture now clarified with rookie Hayden Wesneski winning the spring battle for the fifth and final spot, the Cubs will head into the regular season with Marcus Stroman taking the ball on Opening Day. The rest of the starting five will include Justin Steele, Taillon, Drew Smyly and Wesneski while right-hander Kyle Hendricks continues to recover from 2022 shoulder surgery.
Cubs hoping Jameson Taillon can find another level in his game
With the Yankees, Taillon brought value in his ability to eat innings - something the Cubs have sorely lacked in recent years. Since the 2018 season, only Hendricks (twice) and Jon Lester have eclipsed 180 innings pitched in a single year. In 2022, Taillon racked up 177 1/3 innings for New York, which would have, by a wide margin, led all Cubs hurlers.
If Taillon can take that next step and add that swing-and-miss stuff to his game and Steele and Stroman can build on dominant second-half performances from last year, Chicago will have a formidable trio atop the rotation. And let's not sleep on what Wesneski may end up bringing to the table - he's showcased some of the best stuff of any pitcher on the staff this spring and could be a rotation staple for years to come.
With a revamped organizational pitching infrastructure, the next great Cubs team may very well be built on the backs of its pitchers. Taillon is out to prove he can be a piece of that puzzle, both in 2023, and for the duration of his four-year contract.