Hayden Wesneski Just Wants to Fill Up the Strike Zone With Nasty Stuff

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Hayden Wesneski Just Wants to Fill Up the Strike Zone With Nasty Stuff

Chicago Cubs

Tonight, Chicago Cubs pitching prospect – still a prospect! technically! – Hayden Wesneski will make his fourth big league appearance and second big league start. Last time out against the Rockies, in his first big league start, Wesneski was incredible.

Through those first three big league appearances, Wesneski, 24, has been as good as you could have plausibly hoped: 2.30 ERA over 15.2 IP, 2.85 FIP, 30.5% K, 3.4% BB. The opponents have generally not been great, so caution is always advised before going too far with the results, but when it comes to the two big boxes to check early – (1) has at least a couple big league caliber pitches, and (2) doesn’t seem fazed by the largeness of the Big League moment – Wesneski has checked ’em in pen.

We’ll see how he looks tonight, as the league increasingly gets data, info, tendencies, video, and advanced scouting reports. An adjustment period will arrive eventually, and you *almost* hope he would start to see it before the offseason begins. Not that you would prefer that to him just continuing to dominate, but having Challenges X, Y, and Z happen to him before the end of the year – things to work on in the offseason – wouldn’t be the end of the world.

For his part, Wesneski isn’t letting himself get caught up in thinking about “winning” a role on the big league team to open up next season.

“It crosses my mind but we’ve got a long ways before that happens,” he said after his last start, per Marquee. “I got a full offseason to get through. I haven’t even thought about what I’m gonna do in the offseason yet and that’s something that I’ve usually done by now. With all this going on, it kinda just puts my head away from what I should be doing in the future.

“I’m just trying to stay here day by day, to be honest with you. I haven’t really thought about it. I hope to be on the big league club next year. If it’s starting or relieving, I just want to be given the opportunity. I just try and throw strikes.”

About that last part, you’re going to love Wesneski’s attitude about strike-throwing. Wesneski says he wants to just bring it right at batters in the strike zone, because his stuff is good enough:

“I put pride into that,” he told Marquee. “I think that’s the best chance you have of staying here longest is filling [the zone] up. That’s just part of my MO and who I’ve been. They’re gonna keep running me out there if I keep throwing strikes. At some point, good things will happen. My stuff is good and I know that. If I’m throwing strikes with my stuff, I even have a chance where I’m not so sharp.”

He’s not wrong! Sometimes, sure, he’ll be a little off and he’ll get hammered in the zone when a slider comes in flat or a fastball leaks. But I would think, overall, if you have stuff that moves all over, if you can fill up the strike zone, you’re going to be more success than if you nibble.

Hopefully Wesneski pounds the zone again tonight against the Pirates, and we get to see another great outing.



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.