When the Chicago Cubs traded ace Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers on July 22nd everyone, including myself, raved about getting corner infielder Mike Olt in return. But, what was lost on a lot of folks is that CJ Edwards could be the best prospect that the Cubs received in the deal. Yes, Mike Olt is a great addition to the Cubs organization, but Edwards is something special.
Edwards stand 6’2″ tall, however he looks much taller on the bump, he weighs in at about 155 pounds and just turned 22 years old a couple days ago. Before being traded to the Cubs he was playing A ball in Hickory for the Rangers organization. During his time at Hickory he went 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 24 starts. He also had 155 strikeouts over 116.1 innings pitched.
Since arriving in Daytona, he has made six starts. He currently has no record, but is sporting a 1.96 ERA over 23 innings pitched. He has allowed just five earned runs and has struck out 33 batters. That gives him an average of 13 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.
Edwards was drafted in the 48th round of the 2011 draft and since then he hasn’t had an ERA over 2.11 at his four minor league stops. The fact that he was involved in this trade didn’t receive as much attention as it should have when the trade was executed.
We already know Edwards is tall, but he’s also got very long limbs which allow him to get closer to the mound when he releases the ball compared to your average pitcher. Something tells me at 155 pounds he is still yet to fully grow into his 6’2″ frame.
He mainly features two pitches, a fastball and a curveball. His fastball can range from 92-93 mph consistently and he can sometimes hit 94-95. His high leg kick helps him get most of this power, but when he has to use his slide step he usually drops into the low 90′s which is the case for most power pitchers.
He also features a curveball that drops into the high 70′s and completely falls off the table while buckling hitters knees consistently. This thing is absolutely filthy. One of his main problems is it seems like he is yet to develop a third pitch that he can throw consistently, this is something that he will have to work on in the off season if he hopes to move up in the minors and reach the big league level. With the development of one or two more solid pitches, Edwards is definitely a top of the rotation guy in a couple years.
A couple more things I noticed about CJ is that he isn’t afraid to challenge hitters inside. A lot of times with young pitchers you will see them shy away from the inside part of the plate, but he has no problem going in there and he does it quite well. Also, his delivery seems effortless, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of stress put on that arm. He has a very fluid delivery whether he is in his wind up or the stretch.
A couple things I noticed that could use some work are, his control, as he sometimes gets a little wild, but then manages to come back down to earth and then the fact that he doesn’t seem to hide the ball from batters very well, this could pose a problem if it is not fixed before he reaches the big leagues.
Overall, Edwards is an absolute stud and in two years he will be right in the middle of that Cubs rotation and he may even be at the head of the pack. I definitely think this is the guy that in two years we’ll be talking about as the headliner in the Matt Garza deal.
Cubs fans should be stoked to watch this guy pitch at Wrigley Field.