The Banged Up Bullpen, the Emergence of Edwards, and Other Bullets

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The Banged Up Bullpen, the Emergence of Edwards, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

carl edwards jr cubsEvery time a Cubs player leaves a game early with an apparent injury, I do the thing that we all do: frantically search for more information to play through every possible scenario and comfort my troubled mind. It’s an almost entirely irrational exercise, because if the guy left the game and is going to be evaluated further the next day, there won’t be new information out there until then. But I do it anyway. I was up way too late last night because of it, which isn’t good, because I was supposed to get up really early (didn’t) and bang out some work – the kiddos are home with me today and I was pretty sure I was going to need a head start. We’ll see how this goes.

  • The Cubs player in this instance, of course, is Pedro Strop, who left last night’s game after trying to field a dribbler, and he’ll have an MRI on his left knee today. There were no further signals after the game about the severity of the injury beyond the fact of the MRI. Even if the MRI comes back beautifully clean, there’s still a chance Strop will miss time. I’m expecting Justin Grimm, who was optioned to AAA Iowa on Monday but hasn’t pitched there yet since that move, to return to the bullpen today.
  • If Strop misses a lot of time, you could see Carl Edwards Jr. stepping into that 7th-ish inning role vacated by Strop, because we already know he has the stuff, and he’s showing each time out this year that he has the temperament, too. Look at the moment he handled last night – the tying run is on second base, nobody is out, and he’s called in to face Mike Trout and Albert Pujols right away. He strikes out Trout, gets a groundout from Pujols, and then a groundout from Andrelton Simmons to end the inning. We’ve known for years that Edwards had the big league-caliber stuff and velocity to be a dominant force in the bullpen, and the only questions were whether he could improve the command a touch, and do it in the biggest moments at the highest level. So far, so good.
  • Through 19.0 big league innings, Edwards’ numbers are as good as you’ll find: 1.42 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 2.05 xFIP, 38.8% K rate, 7.5% BB rate. That last one is the one that’s been the biggest change from Edwards’ minor league performance – his minor league walk rate was nearly double that level. Undoubtedly, the league will find some tendencies and he’ll have to adjust, but right now, the young man is simply locating his fastball incredibly well (and it’s a high-velocity fastball with good cutting movement), and then dropping a hammer curveball.
  • Welp, I just fell in love:

  • A minor league suspension:

  • Escanio had silly numbers in the DSL this year, but he’s 24 years old and is not a prospect of whom I was aware.
  • Today is the last day of a sale at the BN store – everything is 15% with the code HEAT16 when you check out. Treat yo self.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.