• Tony A.

What and Who to Expect From the Cubs '22 Starting Rotation

Well, it’s no big secret that the starting rotation was horrendous in the 2021 season. But with a couple of brand new starters, the top 3 of the rotation is now revamped and looks to be very solid, especially in the weak NL Central.

Firstly the ace, Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks has been the definition of consistency in his career with the Cubs, as he has posted a career 3.36 ERA and is almost guaranteed to pitch 180 innings. I again expect another 180 innings, minimum, but I expect the ERA to take a hit because Hendricks is a ground ball and weak contact pitcher and without great infielders behind him, there are going to be more balls than usual making their way into the outfield. Right now the Cubs fielders up the middle look to be Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal, and possibly David Bote at 2B until Madrigal is healthy. All of which are fine fielders, but aren’t anything special. 

(The Professor seems to be the only thing to cheer about as a Cubs fan recently)

Next up we have Marcus Stroman. While Cubs fans are very excited about this signing, we need to set our expectations to a reasonable level. Stroman is not an elite pitcher, but he is still very good and another one who is reliant on ground balls and weak contact. He and Hendricks also don’t throw very hard, meaning the strikeout stuff isn’t really there either which is usually something you want to see from your top 2 pitchers. But Stroman is very reliable and consistent as he can easily pitch 180 innings in a given season and not give up any runs. Stroman is truly a workhorse and will go out every 5 days and have a very good performance.

Now on to what looks to be a very underrated signing and that’s Wade Miley. Miley is just one of those guys that every rotation needs. A player who will go out on the mound every 5 days and give you 5 innings of very solid baseball. In the 2021 season he posted a 3.37 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. While these aren’t numbers that necessarily jump off the page, Miley will be able to keep the Cubs in the game. Miley won’t win games, but he won’t lose them either. He’s just a very solid pitcher. 

The 4 and 5 starters look to be Adbert Alzolay at the 4 and Justin Steele and Alec Mills competing for the 5th spot, of which I think Steele will win it. There’s really not much to say about these guys as they don’t have the best stuff and are players who haven’t been in the rotation all that much. Before last season, Mills and Alzolay were never really given the opportunity to start for a full season and Justin Steele only started 9 games in the 2021 season. I’d still like to see a bigger sample size from all three, but from what I’ve seen so far they’re not the best and not the worst. They’re just very okay pitchers.

I also can’t forget about Brailyn Marquez, who is currently the number 2 prospect in the Cubs system and has an incredible fastball that comes in at just below 98 mph. Marquez is a pitcher that looks very promising and could get a few starts in the 2022 season if the bottom rotation guys sustain an injury or don't seem to be developing as the season moves along.

As always Cubs fans, we just have to hope for the best and hope every one of our starters has a great season and helps us win as many games as possible. Pitching wins championships. Go Cubs!

-Tony Anaya (Twitter: @anayaL8TR)

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