Cubs Midseason Report Card - Justin Steele: A+
Justin Steele broke out in a big way down the stretch last season and hasn't slowed down a bit here in 2023, earning the first All-Star nod of his young career. The left-hander has an NL-best 176 ERA+ and MLB-best 0.4 HR/9 and you could make have easily made the case he deserved to start the Midsummer Classic for the National League this year.
Trying to poke holes in Steele's success is difficult, to say the least. He's been as effective against lefties as righties, great at Wrigley and away from the North Side, although he seems to really vibe in front of the home faithful and has been largely consistent, regardless of the run support he receives.
In the second half, the thing to watch will be his workload: last season, Steele's 119 innings pitched marked a career-high. Already here in 2023, the lefty is at 91 1/3 innings of work - so he's poised to blow way past that mark even before the calendar hits September. But the returns halfway through the year are stellar - and you really can't ask for more than what you've gotten from Steele so far.