Thursday, April 18, 2024

Rotation Contender Gets The Nod To Start Cubs’ Spring Opener

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The Chicago Cubs will begin their spring training schedule on Friday when they take on the Chicago White Sox in Mesa, Arizona. While most of the team has been in camp for a couple of weeks, this will be the first in-game action the Cubs have seen together since early October. They will look to build on what they accomplished in 2023 and contend for the NL Central crown in 2024.

This offseason has been both loud and quiet at the same time for the Cubs. While lots of talk of spending kept the team in the headlines most days, talk is all it was. The Cubs were reportedly in discussions with top free agents all winter. But the only MLB signings they have made thus far were starting pitcher Shota Imanaga and relief pitcher Hector Neris. They also traded with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire prospect infielder Michael Busch.

Decisions To Be Made

Even as spring training kicks off, the Cubs’ decision-making is incomplete. We are still waiting on former Cub Cody Bellinger to sign with a team and begin playing. His agent, Scott Boras, has big clients that are also unsigned and available. While the Cubs continue to monitor the spending market, they also have some big decisions to make regarding their in-house players.

The starting rotation is a decision on everyone’s mind that the Cubs will make in the coming weeks. Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks, and Imanaga will almost certainly make up the first four spots. However, the Cubs have options they need to evaluate for the fifth starting job. One pitcher who could earn that role is young left-hander Jordan Wicks, and he will get his chance to shine right away.

Follow our new Twitter account for real-time updates and in-depth analysis of all things Chicago Cubs.

Jordan Wicks To Start Cubs’ Spring Opener

Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times tweeted that manager Craig Counsell has named Wicks the starting pitcher for the first game of the spring schedule. On Friday, he will take on the White Sox lineup at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona. If all goes well, we will see two to three innings out of him.

Wicks was a first-round draft pick by the Cubs in 2021. He was called up to the major leagues in late-2023 and started seven games. In those games, he had a 4-1 record with a 4.41 ERA in 34.2 innings pitched. His first start came against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, where he went five innings and struck out nine batters – the fourth Cubs pitcher ever to strike out nine or more in their debut.

Based on what we saw last season, some will say the fifth and final spot in the rotation is his for the taking. But the Cubs have plenty of options for that spot – an excellent problem to have. Given the depth and capability on the roster and the possibility of an outside signing coming in, this will be a true try-out for everyone involved.

Wicks is no stranger to the competition. He flew through the Cubs’ farm system and into the big leagues just two years after being drafted. MLB has him ranked as the 94th top prospect on their big board. He will look to maintain those expectations starting tomorrow afternoon.

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BearCub30
Feb 23, 2024 4:40 pm

Go gettem Jordan!

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