The Cubs appear to have a really deep bullpen for the 2008 season. 31-year old righty Kerry Wood will be the stopper for the Cubs this season and he should do a really good job in this role. He pitched in 22 games (0 starts) last season for the Cubs and he was 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. He also whiffed 24 batters in 24.1 innings last season which shows his stuff if still pretty nasty. Wood has now pitched in 211 games (178 starts) in his major league career and he is 72-57 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He also has whiffed an amazing 1,323 batters in 1,153 career innings in the majors. Wood will do a good job as long as he can remain healthy which is always iffy.
25-year old righty Carlos Marmol will be the top set-up man this season and he has the best pure stuff on the pitching staff. Marmol pitched in 59 games (0 starts) last season for the Cubs and he was 5-1 with 1 save, a 1.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He only allowed 41 hits and whiffed an amazing 96 batters in only 69.1 innings which shows how helpless major league batters were against him last season. If Wood gets hurt again this season, Marmol will take over as the closer.
34-year old righty Bobby Howry will also be an important reliever late in games for the Cubs this season. He pitched in 78 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 6-7 with 8 saves, a 3.32 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Howry could also get some saves this season as he is a solid late reliever.
29-year old righty Mike Wuertz is also a fireballer. He pitched in 73 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He also whiffed 79 batters in 72.1 innings which shows that he can dominate any outing.
25-year old lefty Carmen Pignatiello will be the lone lefty in the bullpen for the Cubs when the season starts. He pitched in 4 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. He also pitched in 50 games (0 starts) in AA+AAA ball last season and he was 2-0 with 4 saves, a 2.43 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Pignatiello will have to prove himself quickly before Scott Eyre returns from the D.L. if he wants to keep his job in the Cubs’ pen.
36-year old lefty Scott Eyre will start the season on the D.L. He pitched in 55 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. He walked an amazing 35 batters in only 52.1 innings last season and Lou Piniella won’t tolerate that again this season so Eyre better straighten up when he gets healthy.
28-year old lefty Neal Cotts will begin the season in the minors. He pitched in 16 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He has good stuff but he needs to maintain his focus in outings.
23-year old righty Jose Ascaino will also start the season in the minors but the Cubs will likely call him up at some point in 2008. He pitched in 13 games (0 starts) for the Braves last season and he was 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. He also pitched in 44 games (1 start) in AA ball last season and he was 2-2 with 10 saves, a 2.54 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: A