There are many question marks for the Chicago Cubs pitching staff going into the 2013 season. That means there are also questions for who will be on the I-Cubs pitching staff when the season opens on April 4 in Albuquerque. What is certain in Chicago is Matt Garza will begin the season on the disabled list. Beyond that, many questions remain. Will Carlos Marmol still be a Cub on opening day? Will Scott Baker be ready to pitch before the Cubs need a fifth starter? When will Arodys Vizcaino (currently on 60-day DL) be ready? These are some of the questions that need to be answered before the I-Cubs can set their roster on the mound and in the field. With that, here’s a look at some of the pitchers that may break camp with the I-Cubs in 2013.
Brooks Raley will likely return to the I-Cubs. Raley started 14 games for the I-Cubs in 2012 after being called up from AA Tennessee. Raley also made five starts for Chicago last season. Joining Raley in the rotation could be college teammate at Texas A&M, Barret Loux. Loux was acquired in a trade with the Rangers this past November. Loux was the Texas League’s “Pitcher of the Year” in 2012, going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA. Alberto Cabrera is another option. Cabrera pitched at three levels in the Cubs organization in 2012, going from AA Tennessee, through Iowa, and up to Chicago. Cabrera appeared in 25 games for Chicago last season but may need more time to work on his control. He walked 18 batters in 21 2/3 innings for Chicago last season. Nick Struck spent 2012 pitching for AA Tennessee. Struck won 14 games in 26 starts for the Smokies and finished with a 3.18 ERA. Lefty Eric Jokisch is another option. Jokisch combined for a 10-6 record with a 3.11 ERA for high-A Daytona and Tennessee in 2012. Other possibilities include I-Cubs veteran Jay Jackson, Dae-Eun Rhee, and Jason Berken who was claimed off waivers from Baltimore last September.
The most intriguing possibility in the bullpen could be 2003 rookie of the year, Dontrelle Willis. Willis signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in January and is looking to get his career back on track with the organization that drafted him in 2000. 2012 I-Cub Michael Bowden is competing for a spot in the Chicago bullpen but could end up in Iowa if he is beaten out for a spot. Rafael Dolis, who appeared in 13 games for Iowa in 2012, is another likely reliever for the I-Cubs in 2013. Ranked the 48th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season, Trey McNutt is likely to make his AAA debut in 2013. In 2010, McNutt played at three levels in the Cubs organization going 10-1 with a 2.48 ERA. Injuries in 2011 hampered his progress but he comes into 2013 injury-free. Casey Coleman could make his return to Iowa in 2013. Coleman has spent the last three seasons going back and forth between Iowa and Chicago. Newcomer Cory Wade could join the I-Cubs in 2013. Wade signed a minor league contract with the Cubs this past December. He has appeared in 161 major league games over four seasons with the Dodgers and Yankees. Other possibilities for the bullpen include 2012 I-Cubs Jaye Chapman, Blake Parker, Esmailin Caridad, Marcus Hatley, and Ty’Relle Harris.