We haven’t been expecting too much in the way of surprise September call-ups for the Cubs this year, as you’ve already seen the vast majority of AAA players who will be coming up (a cadre of relievers, Victor Caratini, and a bunch of regulars getting healthy).
One guy we’ve probably all been wondering about, though, is breakout relief prospect Dillon Maples, who has rocketed up from High-A to AAA this season after years of injuries, ineffectiveness, and fading pitching prospect pedigree. Not only is Maples a fantastic story after struggling following the 2011 draft, but he’s also been flat-out dominant, with a strikeout rate near 40% in the minor leagues this season. Some scouts say he’s got one of the best fastballs in the minors, AND one of the best slider/curveball/however-you-classify-it in the minors. The stuff is unquestionably elite.
The command and control are the questions, as they long have been for Maples. Bouts of wildness will come, trouble will arise, and he’ll probably have to get himself out of those situations. There’s some Carl Edwards Jr. potential here in that respect.
And we’ll see it for ourselves soon:
Triple-A Iowa reliever Dillon Maples will be among the Cubs' Sept. 1 promotions, according to source
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 31, 2017
— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch) August 31, 2017
If and when the Cubs do call up Maples, he’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster, and someone else will have to be bounced. Maples is Rule 5 eligible after this season, so he was going to have to be added at some point anyway.
It’s unlikely, but if Maples continues to dominate even at the big league level, it’s possible he could be a part of the postseason bullpen. Absent that, though, he’ll be a significant contender to make the team’s bullpen in 2018.