The Chicago Cubs recalled their top pitching prospect, Adbert Alzolay, prior to Monday’s game against the Seattle Mariners.
Adbert Alzolay is back with Cubs and said he feels 100% physically after the minor biceps issue earlier in the summer and he's ready to help the big-league club however he can out of the bullpen (or as a starter if needed).
— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) September 2, 2019
Alzolay experienced biceps pain in July only weeks after making three appearances with the big league squad, but he appears 100% and ready to take the ball.
In three appearances and 11.1 innings with the Cubs, Alzolay impressed with his fastball, curve, and changeup. He made his MLB debut in relief against the New York Mets and pitched four innings of one-run ball. He then started five days later against the Atlanta Braves and only gave up one run in just under five innings.
But in Alzolay’s final appearance with the Cubs on July 1, he surrendered seven runs to the Pirates and returned to Iowa for three more appearances before biceps pain sidelined him. Fortunately, the top pitching prospect would only miss two weeks.
Since returning to Iowa in early August, Alzolay has started six games with a 3.32 ERA and 4.86 FIP (12.88 K/9, 4.57 BB/9, 1.66 HR/9). What stands out most is his difference in walk rate between pre and post-injury. Before making his MLB debut, the big righty only walked 2 batters per nine innings in seven starts with Iowa, whereas he has walked 4.57 batters per nine innings after his biceps injury.
Alzolay was in-line to start for Iowa on Monday but was quickly scratched and called up to the big league team. The expeditious call up is puzzling and suggests that Darvish might not be ready on Saturday. But that is just speculation at this point. Darvish did not talk to the media Monday about his forearm and reports say he is still “tentatively” starting on Saturday.
Yu Darvish declined to talk to reporters about his forearm. As of now, he’s tentatively in line to start again Saturday.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 2, 2019
It’s good to see Alzolay back up with the team, healthy, and ready to eat innings. I’ll place aside my concern about Darvish until we hear more about his status. But as of now, Alzolay is extra relief and Darvish is still your starter on Saturday.