Friday, May 24, 2024

Cubs Calling Up Former Fan Favorite

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The Chicago Cubs are going to be calling up right-handed pitcher Keegan Thompson, who will join the team’s bullpen Friday night when the Cubs begin their weekend series against the Seattle Mariners. The former fan favorite is getting another shot in the majors following a brutal 2023 season.

Cubs manager Craig Counsell revealed the roster move on 670 The Score Friday afternoon. On Thursday, 29-year-old reliever Jose Cuas was optioned to Triple-A. Cuas allowed at least one earned run in four consecutive appearances prior to his demotion.

Thompson made 19 appearances with the Cubs last year, but spent the majority of the season at Triple-A following his demotion in the middle of May. The right-hander lost velocity and just could not sustain his success from the year prior when it looked like Thompson had established himself as a legit multi-inning reliever.

So far in 2024, Thompson has been getting good results with the Iowa Cubs. His season debut was rough, allowing three runs on two walks and a homer, but since then Thompson has tossed 5 scoreless innings in three relief appearances, striking out six and only allowing two hits and a walk.

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Can Thompson redeem himself with this opportunity? Time will tell, but one thing that is concerning even with the recent scoreless outings in Triple-A is that Thompson’s fastball velocity is still only sitting in the lower 90s.

Back in 2022, he threw 115 innings and posted a 3.76 ERA overall. As a reliever that season, Thompson recorded a 1.47 ERA in 36.2 innings and it wasn’t fluky, as he held hitters to a .156 batting average, had a 57.5% ground ball rate and struck out 30% of the batters he faced, using his fourseam fastball and a cutter as his main arsenal. Thompson was averaging 94mph then, but those numbers have dipped, his walk rate spiked and so did the hard contact against him.

Fingers crossed that Thompson can at least have a few quality innings during this stint with the Cubs. It most likely won’t last too long, as the Cubs are expecting to have Jameson Taillon back in about a week or so and at that point Thompson will probably be sent back down to Triple-A to make room on the roster.

Looking ahead to later in the season, if the Cubs do need a boost in the bullpen then a trade may be in the cards for Jed Hoyer. How aggressive the front office will get is the real question, but it’s never too early to start thinking about targets and there’s one guy on the south side who could be intriguing.

On this week’s Pinwheels And Ivy Podcast, we discussed why a Michael Kopech trade to the Cubs could happen.

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