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Cubs’ Potential Pitching Rotation to Start 2020

Nationals 2021 Pitching Rotation 2020

The Chicago Cubs have been successful in the MLB over the past handful of years or so, and their pitching has been a contributor to that. They should have some of the same guys in their rotation this season that won the World Series with them in 2016. Here is a potential pitching rotation for the Chicago Cubs to start the 2020 season.

1.) Jon Lester

Jon Lester joined the Cubs in 2015. The next season, in which they won the Fall Classic for the first time since 1908, Lester finished second in the NL Cy Young voting. He posted a 2.44 ERA over 32 starts. The southpaw also had a 1.016 WHIP. He hasn’t posted numbers like that since that season, but the veteran has still put up valuable starts for the Cubs. The 36-year-old may get another Opening Day start this season.

2.) Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish was able to bounce back in 2019 after a shaky 2018 season, which was his first with the Cubs. In 2019, he finished the regular season with a 3.98 ERA. As with other seasons, his strikeouts were high at 229 over 178 2/3 innings pitched. Through his first seven seasons, he is averaging 11.1 SO/9, which is one of the best in the majors. Darvish allowed 33 homers this season. If he can bring that down and keep the strikeouts up, He could find himself having a notable season on the mound.

3.) Kyle Hendricks

Cubs Pitching
Kyle Hendricks started the Cubs’ historic game 7 of the 2016 World Series. He pitched 4 2/3 innings while only allowing one run, helping the team win 8-7 for their first World Series title in over a century. (Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

Through his first six MLB seasons, it could be a fair statement to say that Kyle Hendricks is an underrated pitcher. He has never made an All-Star game, but he has also never had an ERA above 4.00 in a single season. In 2016, he had a regular-season ERA of 2.13 and a league-best 196 ERA+. Since that year, his ERA has been below 3.50 each season.

Another aspect of Hendricks is efficiency. In 2019, he had an 81 pitch shutout against the Cardinals. He doesn’t pile up strikeouts like his teammate Darvish, but quick outs can sometimes be beneficial to a pitcher.

4.) Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana can have a rebound season in 2020. He put up a 4.68 ERA over 171 innings. He allowed 100 runs, but only 89 were listed as earned runs. Even still, the numbers are likely not what he would want in a season. Quintana can be motivated to pitch well this season because the Cubs can replace him if his struggles continue. If he does pitch game four for the Cubs, it is scheduled to be their 2020 home opener against Pittsburgh.

5.) Alec Mills

A number of guys could’ve gone here, but that’s a reason that this is a potential rotation. Former 22nd-round-pick Alec Mills has only 19 big league appearances. Six of them are starts for the Cubs. In his 16 total appearances with the team, he has a 3.17 ERA in 54 innings pitched. If he can have an impressive spring training, he may be able to make the spot in the rotation that Tyler Chatwood, Adbert Alzolay, or maybe even someone else may end up starting the season at.

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