The Cubs ended the competition to determine the team’s fifth starter, as manager David Ross told reporters that Hayden Wesneski would be joining the rotation. Adrian Sampson had been one of the other contenders for the job, but the right-hander was optioned to the minor leagues earlier today.
The news officially confirms what had become increasingly obvious during Spring Training, as Wesneski set himself apart with a 2.12 ERA over 17 innings of work, as well as a strong 31.43% strikeout rate and an 8.57% walk rate. By contrast, Sampson struggled to an 8.66 ERA over 17 2/3 innings, while Javier Assad pitched well (2.57 ERA) but tossed only seven innings due to his commitments with Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Wesneski was a sixth-round pick for the Yankees in the 2019 draft, and he came to Chicago at last year’s trade deadline as the return for Scott Effross. That trade is suddenly looking like a pretty significant steal for the Cubs, considering that Effross threw 12 2/3 innings for New York before undergoing Tommy John surgery that will sideline him for the entire 2023 season.
Meanwhile, the Cubs now have a viable starting candidate in Wesneski, continuing his relatively quick career ascension considering that he didn’t pitch at all during the canceled 2020 minor league season. The 25-year-old had solid but not eye-popping numbers (3.68 ERA over 269 minor league innings) on the farm with the Yankees and Cubs, but he looked impressive in his first taste of MLB action last year, delivering a 2.18 ERA, 25% K%, and 5.3% walk rate over 33 innings for Chicago.
Wesneski slots in behind Marcus Stroman, new signing Jameson Taillon, Justin Steele, and Drew Smyly in the Cubbies’ rotation. Longtime Chicago veteran Kyle Hendricks is still recovering from a capsular tear in his shoulder, and Sampson and Assad project as further depth options in the minor leagues.
The Dynasty That Never Was. And Maddon almost blew the 2016 WS on top of that.
They win it, who cares whether it was close or not.
They should have won 2 at a minimum with the team that was assembled. Winning just 2016 was barely better than not winning any at all. The Dynasty That Never Was.
It must suck being a Marlins fan. So jaded.
Cubs in STL
This might be the dumbest take ever been uttered here lol, and that’s saying something
Three trips to the NLCS and winning a World Series says they were better than your Marlins.
All caps, how original. Dig deeper flounder
I’m out of here.
And here we were just starting to get to know one another. I’m crushed.
You sir, are an idiot.
Well, I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t care about what some nobody on a message board calls me.
That is good. I imagine it is a common opinion amongst people you know.
Wow- that’s a real burner of an insult you got there! Hahaha
Death by a thousand paper cuts.
Cut the crap, NOW.
Touch a nerve did I fish boy?
CUT THE CRAP, NOW!
They say that about you where you live, so what get upset?
Still having that stroke in installments I see. Get some help… and some new material.
Whatever- you’re welcome for the Bin-Laden raid, you ingrate.
Awww.. Don’t cha know name calling is the last refuge of the ignorant?
I guess when there are four teams in the division better than the Marlins one of their fans turn to the rent free Cubs living in his head.
Adrian Sampson…..it’s all your fault.
You’re welcome for the Bin-Laden raid.
You shut up, idiot.
HaHa! Don’t spill your drool cup!
I guess Sampson did have options left. Not sure how you can release a guy and then get him back and still keep his options but hey, Whatever. My bad. All the better for the Cubs.
I thought for sure Sampson was out of options since he’s been around the league and bouncing between the majors and minors seemingly every season. Guess the volume of transactions made me add a season or two to his career in my mind.
I still think Sampson will be gone soon and the 5th spot in the rotation to be pretty fluid with Asad, Wesneski and maybe even Wicks and Thompson weaving in and out. Maybe even Hendricks at some point although I still think he’s a long shot at best to make more than 5 starts. 4o Man spots will soon become more important than bodies IMO.
The Yankees still have several years of control over Effross so let’s not get too carried away with it.
Wesneski has some filthy pitches in his arm, I believe he could blossom into a solid upper middle of the rotation arm for the Cubs. Of course, watching his pitches, he misses badly at times so label me “cautiously optimistic”.
Justin Steele looks like the budding Ace of this staff. After his conversation with Jon Lester last season about being more aggressive, the guy took off.
@drasco036 talk about not getting carried away, I think we should pump the brakes a bit regarding Steele. He doesn’t look like a future ace. He has yet to prove he’s even a viable starting pitcher in MLB.
Steele was pretty good overall last season, and very good in his final 10-12 starts. 2023 will be an important season for him as he will need to show he can do it over a full season.
After Steele talked to Lester, he had 12/14 starts that were excellent, one start that was good (3 runs over 6 innings) and one clunker where he gave up five.
His last 7 games he tossed a 0.89 ERA, 3.62 k/bb ratio and 11.5 Ks per 9. Looks like a “viable starter” to me and a budding Ace.
Barring injury, he definitely seems like a viable starter. I’m optimistic, but not ready to call him a budding ace. It was a very impressive stretch, but also a small sample size. I’m excited to see how the year goes for him!
Cubs in STL
It was like half a season lol. That’s not that small of a sample, but yes we should know one way or the other this year
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
Steele is a perfectly capable young lower half #3, with the potential of becoming a #2 starter. On this roster, he was essentially their #2 last year out of necessity but he slots in fine behind Stroman and Taillon (or vice versa).
Wesneski has the most upside, but let’s give him twice around the league before we anoint him as more than the #5.
Sampson just gets lit up too many times to pitch in Wrigley. He would be a good fit in Baltimore, where many of those home runs would just be deep fly outs to left.
Sooner or later the Cubs will have to push Thompson and Steele out of the nest and watch to see if they fly. You can’t control their innings until they’re 35. Sometime soon you just have to turn them loose and see. Effross should still be a quality reliever for the Yankees for quite some time.
Thompson has been having velo issues this spring. Until they can sort that out, he won’t be successful. While he looked good as a starter at times, I think the 2-3 inning specialist role in the pen is what’s best for him if he gets his velo back.
I’ve heard that story too. It must be bullsh*t because he’s pitched like 5 scoreless innings since I heard that. He looks fine to me.
Assad might also make the roster depending on the health of Thompson and Hughes.
How many players have the Yankees traded for that had preexisting injuries or ones that almost immediately manifested itself? And, how much talent did they give up for those guys?
Thank god I do not like Sampson every time h pitches it gets me in a bad mood just release or trade him already
Kind of how I feel about Rowan Wick.
Brick House Coffee Tables Inc
Wick needs to be set free. I’d even rather watch Rucker pitch.
All the Adrian’s missing out on the last spot
Sampson had two partial seasons of Hendricks like success with the team in 2021/22. I would not count him out – unfortunately the team ends up using not only the original opening day roster but at least another 26 additional players during the season to replace injured/released/traded players. The fact that he could be optioned is a big win. He can probably get straightened out in Iowa and help when called upon. To have 7-8 starters is a luxury most teams don’t have. Even if most are back end of the rotation. Look for a surprise this season. Think the Brew Crew will watch the Cubs and Cards from behind. Cards are the better team and will win where Cubs need everything to go perfectly. Still see the North sliders getting above .500 and finishing 2nd.