3. Cubs have something special with Justin Steele
Justin Steele made his MLB debut for the 2021 Cubs where he was used as a starter and reliever. The performance was very average. He was 4-4 with a 4.26 ERA in 57 innings of work. Nothing, in particular, stands out.
The story has been much more positive this year even as the team continues to limp through the end of the year. The rotation’s Superman, Steele is 4-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 22 starts spanning 107.2 innings. He is matching the 9.3 strikeouts per 9 he had last season with 111 of them thus far.
The recently-turned 27-year-old lefty wasn’t an especially high-profile pitcher on the farm for Chicago. A strong showing in several campaigns, however, made him a candidate to get some innings early on in 2021. Steele has been incredibly productive and is possibly on his way toward becoming a sneaky-good arm in the rotation much like Kyle Hendricks was early in his career.
Steele has been brilliant at avoiding home runs, serving them up at a rate of 0.6 per nine. If this continues, it will allow him leeway in making other mistakes. Young pitchers, especially on teams with a questionable offense, need every advantage they can get.
Next season, the Cubs will have Steele in their rotation to begin the year. There is little doubt about it. He has earned it through what has been a mostly forgettable season for the club.