Pitching is one of the, if not the most important aspects of baseball. It is the only position on the field that controls the entire game from start to finish. Good pitching can cover up a bad offense, and sometimes even a below-average defense.
You know what else is important? Having a farm system loaded with pitching prospects that you can call on to contribute to the big league club at a high competitive level. That’s what the Cubs are hoping to do with Caleb Kilian. Killian was acquired in the trade with the San Francisco Giants for Kris Bryant back in July and is ranked as the Cubs 14th best prospect according to MLB.com.
Who Is This Guy?
Caleb Kilian is a 6 foot 4-inch right-handed pitcher who was drafted in the 20th round of 2018 MLB Amateur Draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He ended up turning down the Orioles before signing with the Giants in the same year. He has a solid four-pitch mix that features a fastball anywhere from 90-95 mph but has topped out at 98 mph. He also has a curveball, cutter, and change-up that will keep hitters off balance. His pitch speeds are going to sit between 76-98 mph which is something that the Cubs are very high on and hope he continues to use to his advantage. Take a look at this tweet from Bryan Smith on Kilian’s start in the Arizona Fall League:
If Kilian can keep this type of pitching up, he will be a huge piece of the Chicago Cubs pitching rotation.
Arizona Fall League
Look, let’s not say that one start is the be-all, end-all but Kilian showed how dominant he can be against some of the best prospects in the game of baseball. While playing for the Mesa Solar Sox, Kilian pitched 14 innings, striking out 18 batters while allowing 12 hits over those 5 appearances he made. An average to above-average fall league is a good sign for most pitchers and the Cubs should be happy about his progression during his time with the Solar Sox. What’s even more promising is his start in the Fall League Championship Game. In that game, Kilian threw six perfect innings with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks. To say Kilian was lights out would be an understatement and the more impressive aspect of this game was that Kilian went toe to toe with the game’s best prospects and he dominated their lineup. This is the kind of start that the Cubs are hoping to see more of as soon as he gets to the big leagues.
Kilian is projected to make his Major League Debut for the Cubs in 2022 but there are some things that need to happen on his end for that to happen. Kilian did have an earned run average of 5.14 which is something that will come down with time and experience against better hitters. He has also had trouble with commanding his off-speed pitches which will need to be addressed if the Cubs look to count on him as a starter in their rotation. That being said, later in the 2022 season, we could see Kilian makes his debut and contributes to the Cubs in a major way.
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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images