Much will be made the rest of the season about the Cubs’ decision to not trade Willson Contreras and Ian Happ at the trade deadline. It was shocking to everyone. What the Cubs did manage to do in the last 48 hours was trade David Robertson, Mychal Givens, and Scott Effross for 3 pitchers with very high upside. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
Wesneski comes to the Cubs from the Yankees in the Scott Effross trade. MLB.com currently has him rated as the #8 prospect for the Cubs. One great thing about the 24-year-old is that Cubs fans will not have to wait long to see him. He has already started nineteen games on the mound at AAA for the Yankees this year where he has had great success. Averaging just under one strikeout per inning at AAA, Wesneski has pitched to the tune of a 3.51 ERA in 89 innings pitched. He has a four-seam fastball that can hit 98 MPH and the slider, just take a look at the slider.
— Justin Roman (@LiveWithRoman) August 1, 2022
Brown was acquired right before the trade deadline in the deal that sent David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies. MLB.com has slotted Brown in as the #11 Cubs prospect. Cubs fans will need to wait a bit longer to see Brown as the 22-year-old was pitching at Single-A for the Phillies. Along with having an impressive baseball name, Brown also stands an impressive 6-foot-6. Brown like Wesneski, can throw hard. His fastball hits 94-96 regularly and has topped out at 98 at this point in his young career. At Single-A this year, Brown has started fifteen games and has a very impressive 3.08 ERA in 73 innings pitched. Maybe the most eye-popping, Brown has struck out an incredible 105 batters in 73 innings of work.
New Cubs prospect Ben Brown in his June 11th start. You can definitely see the lively fastball and big breaking balls. It’s a very fun profile. He struck out 11 that day. pic.twitter.com/L9NDxvOADe
— Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures) August 2, 2022
The Cubs were able to make another move just before the trade deadline by dealing Mychal Givens to the New York Mets for Saul Gonzalez. Gonzalez, like Brown, looms large on the mound. Gonzalez stands at 6 foot 7 and has had his way with hitters at A-Ball this season. In 14 games this year, 13 of them coming out of the bullpen, Gonzalez, 22 years of age, has posted a 2.81 ERA in just over 25 innings pitched. Overpowering hitters at his A-Ball, Gonzalez is averaging over a strikeout in an inning. His fastball can be overpowering as seen here.
Mets relief prospect Saúl González struck out Fidel Castro to end the game.
González had 5 whiffs on 6 swings on his fastball (up to 95 mph). pic.twitter.com/mBYhHSfYh9
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) June 3, 2022
Pitching Is The Key To Success
The Cubs are doing something they were unable to do in the Theo Epstein era, they are stockpiling high upside arms throughout their minor league system.
Caleb Killian, Jordan Wicks and Hayden Wesneski are all listed in the top ten of the system. DJ Herz and Ben Brown are not far behind. The Cubs achilles heel has always been their inability to develop pitching. President Jed Hoyer and GM Carter Hawkins are changing that. The 2016 Cubs team was built around a young group of hitters all over the diamond. The next great Cubs team looks like it might be built around a loaded group of pitchers who throw heat. Watching them grow together will be part of the fun.