Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Cubs Sign Hard-Throwing Pitcher

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The Chicago Cubs continue to stock up on pitchers as we get closer to spring training and this time it is another former Miami Marlins right-hander. MLB Trade Rumors had the signing first Monday night, as 26-year-old Jordan Holloway is signing a minor league deal with the Cubs.



Holloway stands at 6-foot-6 and features a fastball that averages 95mph, a sinker at 96mph and a slider at 86mph, while also mixing in a change up. The velocity is obviously something that catches your eye, but Holloway has not been able to consistently produce good results throughout his pro career. However, despite some command issues, Holloway has been OK in limited MLB time.

The righty was drafted out of high school in 2014 by the Marlins, selected in the 20th round. Holloway has primarily been a starting pitcher, making 85 starts and 12 relief appearances in the minors. He did make it up to the majors with the Marlins in 2020, but he only made one outing that season for Miami. In 2021, Holloway pitched in 13 games for the Marlins and recorded a 4.00 ERA in 36 innings, striking out 36 batters and walking 26.

However, in 2022, Holloway once again only pitched in one game for the Marlins, while tossing only 23.2 innings at Triple-A. The right-handed pitcher battled injuries all year, landing on the injured list in the middle of April after his second start in the minors. He made it back to the mound, but following his multi-inning relief outing in July against the Cincinnati Reds, Holloway was placed on the 15-day injured list and then in early August he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, which ended his season.

Overall in the majors, Holloway has posted a 3.92 ERA, making four starts and nine appearances out of the bullpen. In 39 innings, he’s struck out 38 and has walked 28 batters, while holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

So, the big red flag when you look at his numbers in the minors and during his stint in the big leagues with the Marlins is the huge walk total. Just with the Marlins, Holloway was averaging more than six walks per nine innings.

But as always with these types of signings, the Cubs have obviously seen something that they believe they can change in Holloway to get those walks under control. The walk numbers are a much bigger issue as a starter, but as a reliever you can work around it by being effectively wild. That’s not the best path for success and Cubs fans have seen guys like Dillon Maples look amazing, but then completely miss the strike zone in a split second.

I’m not sure if Holloway is 100% back from his elbow surgery, but if he is then he’ll have a shot to win one of the last spots in the Cubs bullpen during spring training.

Earlier in the offseason the Cubs also signed former Marlins pitcher Nick Neidert, who was a former second round pick by the Seattle Mariners. Seems like the Cubs’ scouts liked what they saw from a few of these ex-Marlins pitchers.

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