While things at the MLB level have been rough for the past few seasons, the Chicago Cubs have a nice collection of young talent in the organization. Position players such as Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Junior Lake are all 24-years-old or younger, and have shown some serious promise on the major league level. Also, the Cubs’ have one of the most talented minor league systems led by hitters like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora.
The future appears to be bright on the north side of Chicago as their elite young talent is getting closer and closer to the big leagues by the day. While the Cubs appear to be loaded with impact position player talent, they could certainly use some help in the pitching department.
Jeff Samardzija has elite-level stuff, but he has yet to put it all together on a consistent basis. Travis Wood had an incredible 2013 season, but he pitched well above his career averages. Luck probably played a role in Wood’s success, and he is unlikely to become anything more than a solid no. 3.
C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson have huge upside in the minors, both consistently landing on top 100 prospect lists. Edwards and Johnson lead some interesting arms in the Cubs’ system, but there are very few pitchers with top-of-the rotation potential. The Cubs must look to add impact pitching. One prospect who has flown under the radar but should be able to help fill a void in the rotation sooner rather than later is Dallas Beeler.
Beeler is a big (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) RHP with great control and a fastball that reaches the mid 90s. He has spent the past two and a half seasons at double-A with mixed results. He was very good last season before a finger injury cut his season short. After a very successful Arizona Fall League where Beeler pitched against some of the very best prospects in baseball, the Cubs decided to add Beeler to their 40-man roster, protecting him from other teams in the Rule 5 Draft.
In the past, Beeler always struggled against left handed batters. He has now added an impressive cutter that he has used to jam lefties. Beeler is a smart pitcher that knows how to attack the strike zone. His fastball has some natural sink, and he does a great job of keeping it down in the zone.
Beeler should start out the season in triple-A, and if he continues to have success, he should reach the big leagues by the end of the season. Beeler will never have the ceiling of an ace. That being said, if his cutter continues to improve and allows him to get lefties out, there is no reason why he cannot hold down a spot in the Cubs’ rotation for many years.