With Spring Training baseball getting fully underway, this is the time of year where predictions are made. Who will make the 25-man cut?
I can tell you one young kid who will for the Cubs.
Call me crazy, but Tom Gorzelanny is going to get the fifth starter spot on the Cubs' staff.
We know who the first four are. In no particular order: Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, and Wells will be the top four. The fifth is up for grabs.
Gorzelanny has an off-speed pitch—something former Notre Dame standout Jeff Samardizja has not really developed yet.
An off-speed pitch is something that needs to be prevalent in any major league pitcher's repertoire for them to succeed. In the MLB, you can't blow people away with a fast ball. They will catch up to it.
Take Kyle Farnsworth for example. Remember him?
He was a hard-throwing nut case. He threw the ball hard and that was about it. He sort of had a slider and nothing else really. What happened to him? Never made it in the show.
Don't turn Samardizja into a Farnsworth. Keep the kid in the bullpen if you don't want to waste his talent in AAA, and let him develop his change-up and slider. Once he does that, then let him fight with Gorzelanny.
Last season, Gorzelanny had seven starts and posted a 4-2 record. He was very good down the stretch.
Gorzelanny showed he can pitch effectively last season. He isn't amazing, but he is effective.
Gorzelanny struck out 40 batters in 38.1 innings pitched over his seven starts and 13 total appearances. Batters had a .262 average against him. Decently effective, if you ask me, and something I can live with.
Gorzelanny only walked 13 people over his 13 appearances for the North Side Crew. One walk a game is a better average than Carlos Zambrano (4.1 walks a game).
Let the kid prove me wrong. Slide him in that fifth starter role for the start of the season, and if he can't handle it, then take him out. I think Gorzelanny more than deserves it. Let the kid shine.