The Chicago Cubs have been struggling in the relief system for the last couple of years with a lack of talented arms in the pen. After last year’s trade of fallen all-star Carlos Marmol, the Cubs have looked to gain a closer they can rely on.
They thought they had it last year with Japanese prospect Kyuji Fujikawa, but lost him early in the year due to injuries. They then turned to veteran Kevin Gregg, but the organization knew that Greg was not the answer to the problem long-term.
There has been a shine of talent in the bullpen this year in Arizona, as some younger relievers have stepped up on the mound this year. Pitchers like Carlos Pimental and Tommy Hottovy have showed that they can be gems in the bullpen if they continue to play like they do in the pre-season.
Pimental is into his second season in the show, last playing in 2012 with the Texas Rangers. Pimental so far has given up just four hits in 8.2 innings out of the pen, not even allowing a single-run. He’s pitched more innings than any other reliever, and is tied for the most strikeouts on the team alongside starters Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson at eleven.
Hottovy has also been pitching well, granted he’s only pitched 3 innings though. Hottovy is also a new addition to the Cubs, coming off a year in the minors after spending two major league seasons between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals. Hottovy has also not allowed a run in spring training, giving up just one hit through 3 innings of relief and striking out
So although the Cubs haven’t found that perfect combo of great relievers to put together a competing bullpen, there are people in the works that could make that happen in the next couple of years. If the Cubs can put together a few more relievers like Hottovy and Pimental soon, we could see the sinking bullpen peak in the next few seasons.