Chicago Cubs: Is Adbert Alzolay the real deal?

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs hope to finally have a star pitcher in the making.

As the first half of the 2019 baseball season nears its end, the Chicago Cubs once again find themselves locked in a close race for the division. Though they currently sit atop their respective division with a one-game lead, the battle is far from over and yet again, too close for comfort.

A large part of the Cubs success to this point in the season has undoubtedly been their offense. While inconsistent at times, it’s been the driving force behind their hot streaks. The pitching staff, however, has been a different story.

Going into the season, the Cubs were thought to have a very strong starting rotation to go along with a relatively questionable bullpen. That’s held true for the most part to this point, but the starting five have been less than stellar over the last month or so of the first half. And to make matters worse, Kyle Hendricks, who had been one of their more consistent starters, found himself on the IL and is set to miss at least a few starts.

There is a silver lining in this though, and it comes in the form of a young pitcher by the unique name of Adbert Alzolay. Pronounced Al-zoh-lie, the 24-year-old, Venezuelan born right-hander has impressed in his two outings with the major league club thus far.

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His pitching repertoire features a plus fastball that can top out at about 96 mph, a curveball and his bread and butter pitch, the changeup. In 8.2 total innings, he’s managed a 2.08 ERA and has already tallied nine strikeouts.

Alzolay made his major league debut in a relief appearance where he absolutely dazzled the Wrigley faithful with a stellar performance on his way to his first career victory. Then in his first major league start, Adbert was cruising through a very tough Atlanta Braves offense before running into trouble in the fifth inning and ultimately exiting with a one-run lead.

One of the glaring weaknesses in the Cubs scouting and farm systems has been their inability to develop a homegrown pitching prospect. For all of the power-hitting, home run-pimping sluggers they’ve groomed over the years, they’ve always come up short when it came to pitching. The hope is that Alzolay pioneers the shift in focus as more and more promising pitchers make their way through the pipeline.

While it remains to be seen just how good Alzolay can be, there’s no denying the raw talent this kid possesses. His potential goes far beyond any pitching prospect this team has had in a really long time. So aside from the usual playoff hype that comes with any given season, Cubs fans should feel hopeful in knowing that maybe, just maybe; their star pitcher of the future has finally arrived.