If this offseason was any indication, the Chicago Cubs are attempting to move forward in its rebuilding process. The Chicago front office made a flurry of moves this past winter to bolster its lineup, to go along with a rather solid rotation. With that said, here’s a breakdown of what the Cubs will be working with in 2023.
A Look at the Cubs Rotation Options for 2023
- RHP Marcus Stroman (6-7, 3.50 ERA, 7.7 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Jameson Taillon (14-5, 3.91 ERA, 7.7 K/9)
- LHP Drew Smyly (7-8, 3.47 ERA, 7.7 K/9)
- LHP Justin Steele (4-7, 3.18 ERA, 9.5 K/9)
- RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 4.80 ERA, 7.0 K/9)*
The Cubs rotation doesn’t feature much in the power stuff, but rather several pitchers that can beat hitters with deception, good pitch sequencing, and craftiness.
RHP Marcus Stroman is set to headline the Cubs rotation for the second straight season. Last season, Stroman recorded a 3.50 ERA over 138.2 IP. The righty can beat hitters with four pitches — a sinker, slider, changeup, and cut fastball — and possesses very good command and control. If healthy, expect similar numbers from the 31-year-old again in 2023.
New to the Cubs rotation is Jameson Taillon, who won 14 games with the New York Yankees last season. Like Stroman, Taillon is a control pitcher that can fool hitters with a fastball/cutter/slider combo, as well as with a low-80s curveball.
Left-hander Drew Smyly is back for 2023, after a relatively solid 2022 campaign with the Cubs. As we highlighted back in December, Smyly won’t blow hitters away. Instead, Smyly can fool batters with a very good curveball and a cutter that can get hitters chasing at the plate.
LHP Justin Steele broke out for the Cubs last year. Despite a unclean 3.8 BB/9 rate, Steele struck out 126 over 119 innings for Chicago in 2022. The 27-year-old left-hander doesn’t own an incredible fastball, but does play it off well with his slider — a dominant pitch for Steele. While Steele showed four pitches in 2022, he didn’t use two of them — his curveball and change — very often. Steele used his fastball and slider a combined 95% of the time, something to watch in 2023.
As of now, it looks like veteran Kyle Hendricks will be the fifth starter for the Cubs, assuming he returns later into the spring. Hendricks didn’t have a strong season in 2022, a season that saw the righty post an ERA (4.80) north of 4.70 for the second straight year. Shoulder problems kept Hendricks out for all of the second half. In the meantime, RHP Adrian Sampson shoud settle back into the rotation. But, there are some other names to watch for in 2023.
If the Cubs need additional help throughout the year, the likes of Caleb Kilian and Hayden Wesneski could be called upon to make starts. Wesneski, in particular, should be a name to watch. Acquired from the Yankees last summer, Wesneski struck out 33 over 33 IP in a cameo with the Cubs in 2022. One name that appears to be bullpen-bound for the forseeable future is RHP Keegan Thompson, who started 17 games for the Cubs last year. Thompson is set to be a reliever for the 2023 campaign.