The highly anticipated big-league debut of Caleb Kilian is here.
The Cubs will promote Kilian, the organization’s top pitching prospect, from Triple-A Iowa to start Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Cardinals.
Manager David Ross made the announcement Friday, after the Cubs lost 14-5 to the Cardinals.
“I got to interact with him a little bit, and he seems like a hard worker," manager David Ross said. "Good makeup and real-chance-to-be-an-everyday-big-league-starter-type stuff.”
"I know he wants to grow, wants to learn. There's pretty good energy about him. He’s got a nice fastball and been pitching really well."
Whether it winds up a one-start cameo for Kilian, Ross didn’t rule out an extended run in the rotation depending on how he performs.
“I think you take it for what it’s worth,” Ross said. “[Chris] Morel came up and got a chance to play a little bit. And good things happen to guys who take advantage of opportunities. So that’s a wait and see.”
For now, it's the most anticipated debut for a Cubs starting pitcher in recent memory. Game time is 6:15 p.m.
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Kilian, who turned 25 on Thursday, is the No. 100 overall prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. The Cubs acquired him from the Giants last summer in the Kris Bryant trade.
A right-handed power pitcher, Kilian has been dominant this season with Iowa. He holds a 2.06 ERA with 41 strikeouts (15 walks) through nine starts, allowing one or zero earned runs in eight of those outings.
“What he can do is special,” said Cubs pitcher Alec Mills, who's been with Kilian in Iowa while on a rehab assignment.
“I don’t think he knows how good he is yet.”
Kilian allowed four runs in his last outing, which came over a week ago (May 25). The Cubs pushed his scheduled turn in the rotation back this week while weighing their options for the doubleheader.
Kilian has been their best option all along during this grueling stretch of 11 games in nine days. The biggest hurdle has been a 40-man roster crunch.
The Cubs will have to make a corresponding move to add Kilian to the 40-man, which likely will come Saturday.
Matt Swarmer, who debuted Monday with six impressive innings against the Brewers, will start Saturday's opener.