With a little more than a month before the end, the Cubs are giving one of the team’s best pitching prospects his first chance to pitch in the Majors — and make a difference for a Chicago team in a playoff run. The Cubs have summoned left-hander Jordan Wicks from Iowa (AAA) for his MLB debut, which will come on August 27. Here’s a closer look at Wicks.
A Look at Wicks
The Chicago Cubs picked up college left-hander Jordan Wicks in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft. The rap on Wicks, who struck out 230 over 203 innings in his college career at Kansas State, was that the lefty owned arguably the best changeup in the MLB Draft that year (h/t MLB.com).
In his pro career thus far, Wicks has proven to be an effective pitcher that has beaten hitters at all levels.
One thing Wicks could do in the Minors was to get strikes — and whiffs — with his complete arsenal. Wicks’ arsenal includes a fastball that hit in the mid-90s down in the Minors, along with a curveball, slider, and the aforementioned changeup.
That ability helped propel Wicks to some rather strong numbers in the Minors. Wicks pitched to a 3.39 ERA and struck out 69 batters over 13 games (58.1 IP) with Tennessee (AA) in 2023, then struck out an additional 30 over 33.1 IP with Iowa. Batters hit just .217 against the 23-year-old in AAA.
Wicks was a candidate to be promoted to the Cubs, as the left-hander was scratched from a scheduled start earlier this week. Chicago placed Michael Fulmer on the IL and pushed Javier Assad‘s scheduled start to August 27.
What it Means for the Cubs and Fantasy Outlook
The Giants called up left-hander Kyle Harrison last week, in what could be considered a move to provide San Francisco a jolt in the rotation. The same could be said for the promotion of Wicks, as Chicago needs help given the struggles of Drew Smyly and an injured Marcus Stroman.
Wicks has the stuff to be an effective starter for the Cubs long-term, for a team that already has a young ace in Justin Steele and several other young pitching prospects like Cade Horton and Ben Brown. The question now becomes this: can Wicks be a difference-maker now for a Chicago team that entered the day on August 26 a game up on the Giants for the third NL Wild Card spot.
As far as Wicks’ fantasy outlook is concerned, the left-hander’s been an effective strikeout pitcher in the Minors. His first game will give fantasy players a better indication of where he’s at, but he is someone to watch in the short-term.