The Chicago Cubs have something this season that I don’t remember them ever having — a number one rated farm system. Now this rating came along about nine months ago when they jumped to the top of the list and at some point they’re bound to fall off as they’ve been promoting a few top guys this season. But number one or not, they’ve still got a plethora of talent in the lower levels and even after few call ups, how they’ve managed to stay stacked at some positions is still quite impressive. Other positions aren’t necessarily stacked, but on the whole, the Cubs still have some substantial talent in the minor leagues.
One such talent is right handed pitcher C.J. Edwards. The Chicago Cubs acquired him as part of a trade in 2013 that sent Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers. Most of his 2014 season was lost to a shoulder injury, but he didn’t need surgery and made a half dozen starts to finish out the season. He doesn’t have a cutter in his repertoire but his 94-97 MPH fastball does cut ever so slightly at the end. He also throws a change up and a curve ball which are at best between average and above average. He can finesse a pitch or two, but he puts food one the table by bringing the heat and daring batter to connect.
So far this season Edwards has only made four appearances, all in relief. He has a 3.52 ERA, but has only tossed 7 2/3 innings for Chicago’s Double-A Tennessee squad. Although he had a modest Spring Training, he still seems rusty after missing most of 2014. His control is off as he’s logged 10 strike outs compared to 8 walks thus far in 2015. The rust will most certainly shake off as the season progresses, but whether he can become a starter again or just come out of the bullpen remains to be seen.
Edwards doesn’t have a very high ceiling as far as potential is concerned, but if he can get his control back and solidify his curve ball, he could see some time coming on in relief for the Major League club in the next two to three years. He’s still young (23), but if he doesn’t pick things up both control and stamina-wise in the next season or two, that low ceiling could cost him dearly, and he may find himself being replaced sooner than later. Things are starting to look up for C.J. Edwards, but no one’s window stays open forever.