The Cubs have a doubleheader on Saturday (the game from Sunday was moved a few months ago because the Pride Parade is on that Sunday, and the congestion in the neighborhood would be ridiculous), which means they can call up a 26th player to start one of those games. Prevailing wisdom had that man being Tsuyoshi Wada, who was recently added to the 40-man roster. But he pitched a full game yesterday, and the schedule won’t line up.
So, if you did a little math (and I did this morning, but this post got buried under a swirling pile of rumors and draft signings), you could see that the likely starter would be the guy who pitched the day before Wada.
That man is Dallas Beeler, a resident of the 40-man roster, and a sinker-baller extraordinaire at AAA Iowa. The Cubs have announced that Beeler, who just turned 25, will indeed start the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, in what will be his big league debut.
Beeler has progressed up the Cubs’ system since being an over slot type (it wasn’t quite the same in those days, but you get the picture) in the 41st round in 2010. A finger injury shortened his season in 2013, but he had a chance to make up for it in the Arizona Fall League, and I heard that he was relatively impressive out there. The Cubs put him on the 40-man roster thereafter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.
This season, Beeler’s thrown 60.1 innings at AAA Iowa, posting a 4.03 ERA and 3.48 FIP. He’s struck out 43 and walked 15, and his game is getting the ball on the ground (in his career, his groundball rate is consistently well over 50%). Baseball America ranked Beeler the Cubs’ 24th best prospect coming into the season.
While Beeler may not have front or middle-of-the-rotation upside, many do feel like he’s got a big league arm. He could be a back-of-the-rotation groundball specialist, or possible a long reliever (and, hey, who knows how the velocity plays in short doses, if it comes to that?). This will be a one start look-see, but Beeler could be back later in the year if the Cubs deal some pitchers. From there, he’ll likely be in the mix to fight for a rotation spot in Spring Training, assuming he pitches well the rest of this year.
It’ll be a lot of fun to see him make his debut.