Cubs Set Rotation, Surprising Name In & Out
There have been plenty of headlines surrounding the Chicago Cubs and their organization this offseason, but now that we are heading into the official 2021 regular season, we have even more exciting news from Mesa. According to Tim Stebbins of NBC Sports, David Ross has named Adbert Alzolay the Cubs No. 5 starter to start the season. The move comes as a surprise, even more surprising in the fact that Alec Mills, who had a stellar 2020 campaign including one of the only two no-hitters in baseball last season, will begin the season in the bullpen.
The Cubs rotation will stack up as follows to begin the season:
- Kyle Hendricks (Opening Day) vs. PIT (4/1)
- Jake Arrieta vs. PIT (4/3)
- Zach Davies vs. PIT (4/4)
- Trevor Williams vs. MIL (4/5)
- Adbert Alzolay vs. MIL (4/6)
Stebbins writes, “Ross said Saturday Alzolay joining the rotation has been a fluid conversation the Cubs have been having over the last week. After a rough start to spring training, he seemingly nailed down his spot not only on the roster, but the rotation in that Thursday outing against [The Dodgers].” Alzolay went 3.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 5 SO in his outing against the Dodgers. Ross also said, “[Alzolay] really had a great performance the other night against a really deep Dodgers world championship team and a lot of All-Stars. He went in there and rolled through that lineup. That was impressive to see.”
The move is a critical one, but also yet another milestone for this front office. Alzolay serves as the first Cubs homegrown prospect from the Theo (now Jed Hoyer) era to crack and become an established piece of Chicago’s major league rotation. While Kyle Hendricks also came from the minors, it is important to note that Hendricks was acquired way back in 2012 as part of the Ryan Dempster trade with the Texas Rangers.
Should Alzolay struggle out of the gate into the regular season, Ross still has a variety of options to slot in at the No. 5 spot. In addition to Alec Mills, the Cubs also have Shelby Miller, who also had a stellar spring, in their minor league camp. The clock is ticking on Miller’s time with the Cubs, as his minor league contract has a soft deadline approaching in the form of a mid-April opt-out. In my professional opinion, I expect Miller to join the Cubs bullpen at least within the first two weeks of the season, and I would be surprised if the organization lets him walk.
Here are the final spring training stats for the Cubs possibilities at the No. 5 spot in the rotation:
Adbert Alzolay (4 games): 0-3, 10.57 ERA, 7.2 IP, 8 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO, .267 AVG
Alec Mills (4 games): 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 11.2 IP, 15 H, 7 ER, 6 BB, 4 SO, .333 AVG
Shelby Miller (7 games): 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 16 SO, .214 AVG