The Cubs think Carl Edwards Jr. could become a weapon out of their bullpen and contribute to a playoff contender in September.
“I certainly hope so,” Jason McLeod said Thursday at Wrigley Field. “He’s put himself in the position to do it.”
McLeod – the senior vice president who oversees scouting and player development – believes Edwards has shown enough during this transition season at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.
Edwards – who is dealing with a blister on his right hand and anticipating the birth of his child – has gone 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Iowa.
“He’s taken to this role pretty well,” McLeod said. “It took him a little while to get used to it. We put him on a structured program early at Tennessee. Since he’s been in Iowa, we’ve kind of taken the reins off him a little bit.”
Edwards has 37 strikeouts – and 24 walks – through 29-plus innings with Iowa. That could make him tempting to use out of the bullpen – or difficult to trust in big situations.
“That’s been an issue with him this year,” McLeod said. “He’s had a couple of real lemon outings when some of those walk totals have spiked. But at the same time, it’s still not where he (needs it) to be consistently effectively up here.
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“The stuff is so good that he’s still getting away with (it), getting out Triple-A hitters and getting swings-and-misses. He’s aware of it. He knows he’s going to have to work on locating his heater down in the zone. But it’s a pretty special fastball. He’s got the big curveball behind it. It’s been effective for him. And hopefully he just stays on this trajectory.”
The Cubs made Edwards a centerpiece to the Matt Garza trade with the Texas Rangers before the 2013 deadline. Edwards had worked almost exclusively as a starter until this season, beginning the year as Baseball America’s No. 38 overall prospect.
“When the stuff’s in the zone, it’s really hard to hit,” McLeod said. “He’s proven his stuff will play against these guys. It’s just the command.”