6 homegrown pitchers on the Chicago Cubs active roster

The Chicago Cubs are finally seeing multiple home-grown pitchers contribute at the big-league level, with three of them in the rotation and one closing ballgames.
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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The Chicago Cubs have been propped up by a wave of young pitchers this season as the front office's efforts to prioritize pitching development are starting to pay off in a big way at the major league level.

Back in 2019, the Cubs found themselves struggling to replicate the magic of the 2016 season and the team's general strategy was to develop hitters and buy pitching on the market. Things started changing with a handful of shrewd hires like Vice President of pitching Craig Breslow, General Manager Carter Hawkins, and pitching coach Tommy Hottovy to name a few. This top-down shift toward developing pitching has become the main strength of the Chicago Cubs, who are seeing young home-grown pitchers starting to trickle into the active roster. As things currently stand, 3/5 of the Cubs' starting rotation is home-grown pitchers who are taking major steps forward in 2023.

1. Jordan Wicks

The most recent example is no. 10 prospect Jordan Wicks, who got the call last week and twirled a marvelous five inning-outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday. Wicks became the first Cubs first-round pick to strike out at least 9 hitters in his MLB debut since Mark Prior in 2002. Wicks was drafted 21st overall by the Cubs in 2021 out of Kansas State University. He was unanimously voted the Big 12's preseason pitcher of the year before striking out 118 batters with a 3.70 ERA in 92 1/3 innings that year.

Wicks has been highly touted since joining the organization and his maturity showed in Pittsburgh. Starting your first major league game on the road is not easy, but matters get worse when the opposing leadoff hitter sends the second pitch you've ever thrown in the majors into the seats. But Wicks was able to make that home run an afterthought after he hunkered down and found his rhythm. With Drew Smyly returning to the bullpen, Wicks is poised to hold this rotation spot for the foreseeable future so hopefully, he can continue to succeed and help stabilize the staff.