The Cubs announced a lengthy series of roster moves Tuesday, most notably placing Kris Bryant on the disabled list (retroactive to June 23) due to left shoulder inflammation. Chicago also placed right-hander Justin Hancock on the DL due to inflammation in his right shoulder and optioned righty Duane Underwood Jr. back to Triple-A Iowa. In place of that trio, the Cubs are calling up right-hander Dillon Maples, right-hander Luke Farrell and infielder David Bote.
It’s the first career trip to the disabled list for Bryant, who entered play today hitting .280/.383/.481 with nine homers, 20 doubles and three triples so far on the season. There’s no timetable available yet for Bryant, who hasn’t played since this past Friday.
The 27-year-old Hancock has posted a strong 1.46 ERA in 12 2/3 innings for the Cubs so far, though his 11-to-9 K/BB ratio is far less encouraging. Underwood, 23, recently made his MLB debut in a spot start, tossing four innings of one-run ball.
Of the names being recalled to join the big league roster, Maples is the most noteworthy. The 26-year-old flamethrower is widely considered to be among Chicago’s best prospects, and the organization hopes that he can help to anchor the relief corps for years to come. If that’s to happen, though, Maples will have to considerably improve his control. The righty has the ability to wholly overpower opposing hitters, as evidenced by averaging better than 14 strikeouts per nine innings pitched across three minor league levels over the past two seasons. However, Maples’ control has been terrible in that time as well; he averaged 5.3 walks per nine innings pitched in 2017 and has issued 24 free passes in 25 1/3 innings with Triple-A Iowa so far in 2018.
Bote has been up and down with the Cubs this season, appearing in a total of eight games and hitting .263/.286/.368. The 25-year-old has a career .282/.360/.510 slash in 70 Triple-A games and has experience at every position other than catcher (including seven innings of minor league relief pitching). Farrell, 27, was claimed off waivers last October and has already pitched 20 innings in the Majors for the Cubs this year, recording a 4.50 ERA with 30 strikeouts against eight walks.