In a season filled with unpredictability, Tsuyoshi Wada has been a pleasant surprise up to this point.
Coming into the season, the Chicago Cubs were being lauded for their elite position prospects in the minors. Little attention was being paid to the pitching in the minors, because it is not comparable to the position talent. If there were conversations about Cubs pitching prospects, most conversations began and ended with C.J. Edwards and Kyle Hendricks. Now, with the way he has pitched as of late, conversations must include Wada.
To begin the season, Wada was with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. While with Iowa, Wada pitched to a 10-6 record with a 2.77 ERA. Wada displayed excellent control only walking 28 batters compared to striking out 120. Wada made his first start for the Cubs on July 8th, but was then sent down. He then was recalled to pitch on July 23rd and has stood in the majors ever since.
Wada has pitched well in his major league stint, and has won his last three starts including holding the Baltimore Orioles to one hit and one run this afternoon. Overall Wada has pitched to a 4-1 record and an ERA of 2.56 while holding opponents to a batting average of .220. His trademark control has been on display as Wada has only walked 11 batters while striking out 41.
The success that Wada has had up to this point is giving the Cubs an issue that they may not have thought they would have. Wada has pitched well enough to make a case for being in the rotation next season. After trading away pitchers at the deadline, there were numerous spots open in the starting rotation. This lead to Wada gaining an opportunity to prove himself at the major league level and pitch his way into the 2015 starting rotation.
If Wada is able to continue his success and prove that he can be a reliable pitcher, this could help the Cubs in the future. It would allow the Cubs to spend free agent money else where instead of spending on a middle of the road pitcher. Wada will never be an ace, nor will he be a front of the rotation starter. However, Wada is making the case to be a back of the rotation starter that can give the team an opportunity to win every time he takes the ball.
Going forward the big issue for the Cubs will be trying to find pitching that is comparable to the position talent that the organization has. The way that Wada has pitched could make that process just a little bit easier.