Cubs Officially Promote Top Pitching Prospect Caleb Kilian

Though no one wanted to see Drew Smyly on the IL, his oblique injury opened the door for the Cubs to promote right-handed pitcher Caleb Kilian from Triple-A Iowa. David Ross said last week that there were no plans to bring Kilian to Chicago, which seemed very strange even without any injury issues. In order to make room for the vaunted prospect, righty Mark Leiter Jr. was optioned to Iowa. Conner Menez has been designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man.

Additionally, right-handed pitcher Anderson Espinoza has been added as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Kilian will wear No. 45) as he makes his major league debut in the second game tonight. The 25-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.06 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Iowa this season and has struck out 41 with 15 walks. His fastball works into the upper 90’s and he’s got excellent breaking stuff with a developing change.

The 6-foot-4 Kilian was acquired by the Cubs from the Giants along with outfielder Alexander Canario for Kris Bryant at last year’s trade deadline. Kilian really brok out while pitching for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League following the season, tossing 6.0 perfect innings in the AFL Championship game.

In parts of three professional seasons, Kilian is 9-4 with a 2.08 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 35 career minor league games (34 starts). He began his professional career by not allowing an earned run in 16.0 innings in 2019. The right-hander was rated as the Cubs’ No. 5 prospect entering the 2022 season by MLB Pipeline.

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