Steele Keeps On Doing It, Alcántara, PCA, Love in the Bleachers, Strop Comeback(?), and Other Cubs Bullets
Ah. Mornings are just so much nicer and light and airy and replete with wonder after a Cubs win the night before.
- So you’re saying Justin Steele is the best pitcher in baseball:
- Steele has not given up more than 2 earned runs in a start since mid-July 2022, and he had a couple one-run games in the two starts before that one. His 1.19 ERA this season is tops in the National League.
- And how about this? Going back to his June 5 start against the Cardinals last year – the start after he talked to Jon Lester about how best to use his four-seamer in on righties – Steele has posted a 1.81 ERA over 109.1 innings. That discussion, alone, is not what made Steele into the guy he is now (it’s been a much longer evolution), and I don’t want to put undue weight on any one switch flipping. But it’s clear that Steele changed some of his approach after that, and it’s equally clear that he’s been a stud.
- Justin Steele is pretty clearly the most underrated pitcher in baseball now. I don’t think there is anyone even close to reaching his level of success, combined with his level of zero national attention.
- Crazy fun fact here in the early going. Just two starting pitchers have an expected ERA under 2 this year. One is Jacob deGrom. Naturally. The other? Drew Smyly.
- Hats to the left? Not sure how real this is:
- Pedro Strop, 37, last pitched in the big leagues in that brief early-season two-appearance stretch for the Cubs in 2021, and then pitched in the Dominican Winter League the last couple years (reasonably well). I suspect he really is going to try to make a comeback this year. It’d be quite a story if he could return to the big leagues, though. Strop’s last full season in MLB was actually back in 2019.
- Cubs outfield prospect Kevin Alcántara, who is playing in his first cold April in the midwest, struggled at South Bend for his first week. Understandable. But over his last 10 days, he’s hit .250/.342/.500/141 wRC+. You’re going to see him explode.
- Also, he did this last night if you missed it:
- PCA returned after a week absence (illness), and he was right back to doing PCA things last night:
- This cracked me (and only me?) up last night:
- The Wrigley Field bleachers really are a place for love:
- And speaking of love:
- “Just because Belli would probably forget” had me cracking up. Can’t lie.
- Speaking of Cody Bellinger, he’s currently on the paternity list for another day or two, and Nelson Velazquez figures to remain up as the fill-in center fielder until Bellinger returns. He had another nice night at the plate last night, ripping a (105.5 mph) single and taking a walk, without striking out. It’s not easy to come up and immediately have disciplined at bats like that, especially knowing that it might just be a couple games.
Taillon and Meatball Swings, Burdi and Estrada, Wesneski and Hendricks, Umpshows, and Other Cubs Bullets