After contentious discussions, the MLB lockout is over and teams have begun their spring training schedules. Opening Day has been pushed to April 14, which gives teams some extra time to finalize their rosters and rotations. In this series, TGH will be summarizing each team’s 2021 season and predicting their Opening Day pitching rotation. Here is the projected Chicago Cubs Pitching Rotation for 2022.
The Cubs entered what some would call a rebuild and others would call a reboot starting at the 2021 MLB trade deadline. They traded away key pieces of their 2016 World Series Championship team, including Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.
These trades led them to their first losing season since 2014, as they earned a record of 71-91. They also used an MLB-record 69 different players in David Ross’ second season as the Cubs’ manager. Here is a look at how they may turn things around via their pitching rotation in 2022.
1. Kyle Hendricks
Hendricks, one of the main holdovers of the 2016 World Series team, should take the mound on Opening Day for the third straight year. His ERA was not great last year, at 4.77 over a massive workload of 181 innings pitched. But, he is maybe the entire team’s heart and soul and deserves the top spot in the rotation.
2. Marcus Stroman
Stroman was the Cubs’ biggest signing of the 2021 offseason. He had a great season last year, earning an ERA of 3.02 over 171 innings pitched. Despite the impressive ERA, he went 10-13 over 33 total starts. Stroman also struck out 158. The Cubs should be excited to have a pitcher of this caliber, but he still has to take a backseat to Hendricks at the beginning of the season.
3. Wade Miley
Despite throwing a no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds last season, Miley was still released by the team. The Cubs claimed him on waivers in November of 2021. He had an ERA of 3.37 over 163 innings pitched with the Reds. Miley can still produce despite entering his age-35 season. That is why he should be third in the rotation.
4. Drew Smyly
Smyly won the World Series with the Atlanta Braves last season, but chose to join the Cubs in the offseason. He had a 4.48 ERA over 29 appearances (23 starts), and went 11-4 in the win-loss column. He is a nice piece to have, but considering the talent ahead of him, needs to stay closer to the bottom of the rotation to be most useful.
5. Justin Steele
Steele began his MLB career with the Cubs last season. He pitched only 57 innings which skewed his ERA number a bit, landing at 4.26. He appeared in 20 games but started only nine of them. More needs to be seen from Steele before Cubs fans can call him a home-grown star.
Featured image courtesy of Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
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