Hayden Wesneski's Chicago Cubs Debut Was as Good As It Gets, and Made Some History

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Hayden Wesneski’s Chicago Cubs Debut Was as Good As It Gets, and Made Some History

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have had so many pitching debuts lately that you know the drill by now, right? That we’re mostly just looking to confirm (1) the guy has at least two big league caliber pitches, and (2) the guy is not overwhelmed by the moment. These are the baseline checkpoints, not reached by every Cubs pitching debut this year, that tell you this is a guy who is ready to try to compete and stay in the big leagues.

Well, I WOULD SAY HAYDEN WESNESKI CHECKED THOSE BOXES.

Not only did Wesneski show off multiple big league caliber pitches, but the slider looked plus-plus, he busted out a nasty changeup at one point for a strikeout, the cutter plays, and both fastballs looked really good, too. And not only did Wesneski not seem overwhelmed by the moment, he strutted around like he owned that damn mound. That was the look of a guy who already believes he belongs, and he was just waiting for the opportunity.

And the results. My word the results. Wesneski went 5.0 innings of piggyback relief – it was effectively a start – and didn’t allow a hit until his final inning of work. He walked one in his first inning, and even that included some dodgy calls. The eight strikeouts is kind of incredible.

The whole outing made some history, both for big league debuts and just for a Cubs relief appearance in general:

When Javier Assad made his big league debut, he was also also marking various bits of history in the process, but they were accompanied by outings that weren’t anywhere near as dominant as Wesneski’s was. And I like Assad as a depth starter! It’s just that Wesneski’s upside is more like mid-rotation starter.

Before I let the train get too far out of the station, I do think it’s important to at least note that the Reds lineup is not particularly good, and this was also the first time anyone in the league was seeing Wesneski. The next lineup will probably be slightly better, and slightly better prepared. So keep that in mind before you get TOO jacked up about the results.

Then again, it’s not like Wesneski, himself, can’t get better in the years ahead. I love that he’s getting this big league exposure now, which could help set him up for a big developmental and transitional year in 2023 (maybe a part-time big league starter, part-time big league reliever, part-time Triple-A starter?).

In the meantime, I tentatively expect Wesneski will stay up with the big league team for at least a little while (until Justin Steele and/or Keegan Thompson and/or Adbert Alzolay return?), and he could take a start, or just piggyback again with Wade Miley next time out.

As for last night, Wesneski really impressed his catcher and manager (via Marquee):

“What impressed me the most was the composure and the pitchability,” his catcher Yan Gomes said. “He knows exactly what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. His confidence out there was definitely something that stood out.”

That confidence was something that left David Ross and his staff impressed.

“I love the way he attacked the zone,” Ross said. “I love the way he had confidence in multiple pitches in and out, got a lot of first pitch swings there at the back end. Just let him kinda cruise control. There wasn’t a whole lot to do. It was fun just to watch him, sit back and have a nice performance.”

Some thoughts from the man, himself:

In closing, this is what Hayden Wesneski does as he begins to set himself to pitch, and I say, do whatever works for you, buddy:



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.