The Cubs announced a series of moves before tonight’s game against the Mets. Robert Stock was selected to the roster, while Cory Abbott was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Dillon Maples was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 15, with a right triceps strain, and Trevor Megill was optioned to Iowa. To create 40-man roster space for Stock’s selection, Chicago transferred catcher P.J. Higgins from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Chicago claimed Stock off waivers over the winter, but they ultimately outrighted him off the 40-man before the season began. The hard-throwing righty has spent the year in Iowa, where he’s tossed 19 2/3 innings of 4.12 ERA ball. That’s not an eye-catching level of run prevention, but Stock’s peripherals look much better. He’s punched out 30.5% of opponents in Triple-A while walking just 4.9% of batters faced.
The latter number is especially crucial for Stock, who’s been plagued by control issues at the big league level in recent seasons. The 31-year-old walked an untenable 15.3% of hitters with the Padres and Red Sox between 2019-20, contributing to a 7.13 ERA over 24 frames. The Cubs will give him a chance to carry over his seeming newfound control at the big league level. Stock’s 2021 MLB debut will come tonight, as he’s on the mound as an opener against New York.
Losing Maples is a tough blow for the Cubs bullpen. The 29-year-old has appeared in the big leagues in each of the past five seasons, but his 22 2/3 innings this year is easily a career-high. Maples has pitched to a sterling 1.99 ERA over that time with elite strikeout (33.7%) and ground ball (52.3%) numbers. Maples boasts some of the best stuff in baseball, with elite velocity and spin on each of his four-seam fastball, cutter-slider and curveball. He’s always walked a fine line with his control, though, and Maples has continued to dole out free passes at an alarming rate (14.7%) this season.
Higgins went on the IL last week with a forearm strain. He’ll now be sidelined until at least mid-August. Recent testing revealed more significant damage than expected in his elbow, reports Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic (Twitter link). The 28-year-old Higgins has picked up his first 25 MLB plate appearances this season, serving as a backup to Willson Contreras.