Chicago Cubs Call Up Pitcher With Sub-1.00 ERA

The Chicago Cubs are calling up a red-hot reliever to their MLB squad.
Apr 9, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) and Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Ethan Roberts (21) celebrate after securing the 9-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Apr 9, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) and Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Ethan Roberts (21) celebrate after securing the 9-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. / Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Cubs are giving a relief pitcher a second shot in the Majors as they made some roster moves on Sunday.

They selected right-handed pitcher Ethan Roberts from Triple-A Iowa while designating fellow righty Jose Cuas for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

Roberts was a fourth-round selection in the 2018 MLB draft and has been in the Cubs farm system ever since.

He was very impressive in college, maintaining a 2.93 ERA through 139.2 innings of work at Tennessee Tech. After a few solid seasons of work in the minors, he was called up for his Major League debut in 2022.

That stint did not go the way anyone wanted, resulting in an ERA ballooned up to 8.22 in 7.2 innings of work across nine appearances. If the poor play wasn't enough, he would undergo Tommy John surgery in June that would end his campaign and keep him out through all of 2023 as well.

The 26-year-old is back to full health and has been playing the best baseball of his career.

He quickly worked his way back up to the Triple-A, spending one game each in rookie ball and Double-A.

Through 11.1 innings of work in the minors this season he has a 0.79 ERA and 1.147 WHIP. He's also striking out batters a nice clip, averaging 10.3 per nine innings.

The relief pitcher is once again showing the stuff that got him drafted so highly a few years ago.

It could have been now-or-never for the Cubs to call him up as his minor league deal included an opt-out starting this weekend, per Meghan Montemurro at the Chicago Tribune.

Risking moving on from Jose Cuas was likely an easy decision at this point of the season. He's struggled, putting up a 7.43 ERA across nine appearances and hasn't pitched for the MLB squad since before the last week of May.

If he goes unclaimed through the waivers, which is likely, he will return to Triple-A as he tries to refine his game for another chance in the Majors.

The Chicago bullpen needs a breath of fresh air, as they rank bottom-10 in the league for WAR as a staff.

Over the last month, the group has an ERA of 4.55. While Roberts likely won't factor in as a closer, he will certainly have the chance to earn a sizable role. Especially with the increasing likelihood of Kyle Hendricks returning to the starting rotation.


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Dylan Sanders

DYLAN SANDERS

Dylan Sanders graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree from the Manship School of Mass Communication in 2023. He was born in raised in Baton Rouge, LA but has also lived in Buffalo, NY. Though he is a recent graduate, he has been writing about sports since he was in high school, covering different sports from baseball to football. While in college, he wrote for the school paper The Reveille and for 247Sports. He was able cover championships in football, baseball and women's basketball during his time at LSU. He has also spent a few years covering the NFL draft and every day activities of the New Orleans Saints. He is a Senior Writer at Inside the Marlins and will also be found across Sports Illustrated's baseball sites as a contributing writer. You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram @dillysanders