Speculation has it that Cubs No. 1 Prospect Adbert Alzolay is one of the front-runners for starting a game this Saturday in the doubleheader against Cincinnati. A chance of Alzolay’s major league debut on Saturday is slim as the Cardinals chances of winning the World Series in 2018. It’s not going to happen but more likely than not, we will see Mike Montgomery start one game alongside Q on Saturday.
Alzolay is a sure-fire bet to be the next star in the Cubs rotation some day in the next few years. He dominated last season with Myrtle Beach and then Tennessee near the midway point of the season. Thus, resulting in a promotion to Iowa before this season started. The catch is, Alzolay was rushed through the Cubs farm system pretty quickly jumping three levels in the last year basically. He has yet to face those big-league hitters enough to adapt his pitching to the pros. We are not discounting Alzolay’s skills because he can do it, but he needs time. He needs a year of development in AAA this year and that will probably be a good thing.
In 5 starts this season, Alzolay has posted a 2-2 record with a 4.10 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Not bad for a 23-year old, but the numbers from his last two games are concerning. Alzolay has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in his last two starts, allowing three runs on May 5th and then five runs on May 14th. Signs point that Alzolay has struggled over these past few weeks because the hitters are at a major-league ready level versus guys still developing in the lower levels. Once again, Alzolay can and will figure out these hitters but he still needs the time. A major league debut at this point just doesn’t make sense for a young pitcher still trying to develop and become the forefront of the Cubs rotation future.
The Cubs have taken notice of this for Alzolay, and that’s where Mike Montgomery comes in. Back in 2016 and 2017 in these types of situations, Montgomery would be the guy no doubt for a situation like this. Joe Maddon has said he does not want to jerk Mike around as much this season like last with all sorts of different appearances but does believe if they can stretch him out he’s the guy this Saturday. Montgomery has already chalked up three appearances this month spanning over two innings. That shows he’s ready for the call.
We all want to see Adbert Alzolay’s stuff at the major-league level this year, but it’s not happening. Alzolay has more hope in the Cubs farm system than any other pitcher. He’s regarded as the next ace on the staff, and we want to ease him into this role. Alzolay needs one more year and could potentially get called up in September. That’s when we are more likely to see him prosper.
*Update: With a Rainout on Thursday in Atlanta, Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish will go on Saturday in no determined order yet.*