Whew … with the 2016 Trade Deadline now in the rearview mirror, we need to get back into a regular rhythm.
After all, the Cubs already have.
After an extra-inning, marathon game yesterday forced the Cubs to use every single reliever against the Mariners, for example, Chicago will call up a reinforcement for the bullpen in the form of Spencer Patton.
Patton will be called up from Triple-A Iowa and join the team in time for tonight’s series opener against the Marlins. Patton will be taking over Brian Matusz’s recently vacated place on the 25-man roster and pitch out of the bullpen (Patton’s already on the 40-man roster, so no corresponding move is needed there).
Given our limited exposure to Patton at the big league level this year, let’s check back in on how he’s been doing. In short, he’s dominating Triple-A, but has struggled in short doses at the Major League level.
Patton has appeared in 29 games (30 IP) out of the pen at Triple-A Iowa this season. During that stretch, he’s allowed just 3 earned runs (0.90 ERA) on 19 hits (.179 average against) and 11 walks (9.2% BB-rate). Encouragingly, he’s struck out a ridiculous 49 (41.2% K-rate) of the 119 batters he’s faced. To say he’s been fantastic in Triple-A would be an understatement.
Unfortunately, that success hasn’t quite yet carried over into the Majors (although, it’s been an extremely small sample size). In his 9 appearances (12.1 IP) at the Major League level, Patton has allowed 7 earned runs (5.11 ERA) on 12 hits (.240 average) and 7 walks (12.3% BB-rate). In addition, his strikeout rate falls to just 21.1% with Chicago, while his ground ball rate has been a mediocre 39.5%. For whatever reason, Spencer, 28, just hasn’t been able to translate that Minor League success in the Majors.
But that’s not really what this move is all about.
As I said up in the intro, the Cubs used all of their relievers yesterday, after Brian Matusz lasted just 3 innings of a game that ultimately went on for 12. In addition, four of the Cubs relievers (Carl Edwards Jr., Travis Wood, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon) each pitched more than just one inning, so the availability tonight is going to be extremely limited. Hopefully, Kyle Hendricks can turn in at least 6.0 innings.
Lastly, I don’t suspect Paton to be long for the pen. Now that the Cubs have acquired Joe Smith from the Angels and can also bring back Justin Grimm in nine days if they please, Patton will be the first one out, barring injury.