Chris Bosio’s staff grades out high in the starting rotation and bullpen
The front office added depth to the staff and gave Joe Maddon four pitchers that could perform various roles out of the bullpen.
John Lackey was signed to slot in the rotation behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester and in front of Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. The front office acquired Adam Warren, re-signed Trevor Cahill and retained Clayton Richard while keeping Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm and Travis Wood for the bullpen. Neil Ramirez pitched his way on the roster in the spring and could play a big role in the pen this season.
The Cubs decided to begin the year with a 13-man pitching staff, five starters and eight relievers. And Jim Bowden thinks the Cubs’ staff is among the best in baseball.
Jim Bowden recently handed out grades to all 30 pitching staffs and ranked them from best to worst on ESPN.com
Bowden gave the Cubs’ rotation an A- and the bullpen a B+ with an overall staff grade of A-.
The Cubs started the season with a rotation of Arrieta, Lester, Lackey, Hammel and Hendricks and a bullpen of Rondon, Strop, Grimm, Wood, Richard, Cahill, Warren and Ramirez.
According to Jim Bowden, the Cubs have the sixth best staff in the majors but second in the division behind the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bowden’s Top 10 Pitching Staffs: Mets (A), Indians (A-), Cardinals (A-), Rangers (A-), Yankees (A-), Cubs (A-), Royals (A-), Nationals (B+), Giants (B+), Diamondbacks (B+)
Bowden thinks the Cubs have a strong rotation and called the Lackey signing “one of the off-season’s most underrated moves.” Bowden believes that even without Lackey the Cardinals “still have one of the best rotations in baseball and the division’s best rotation.” The Pirates checked in at No. 13 on Bowden’s list.
Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester started the season with two excellent outings against the Angels. Arrieta tossed seven innings of shutout ball on Opening Day. And Lester was charged with one run in seven innings. Combined, the top two starters on the Cubs staff allowed one run on six hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts in 14 innings. Cubs pitching kept Mike Trout and Albert Pujols off the bases (0-for-15) in the two-game series.
John Lackey makes his Cubs’ debut Thursday night. And both Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks can quiet their critics with quality starts against the Diamondbacks this the weekend.