Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Michael Wuertz: A True Farm Product
2007-02-11 11:30
by Phil Bencomo

An 11th-round draft pick in 1997, Michael Wuertz spent six years in the Cub minor league system before breaking camp with the big league club in 2004 as a 25-year-old reliever.

He's played at nearly every level in the system; he's been both a starter and a reliever; he's been both good and bad.

Like most relievers, Wuertz began his career as a starting pitcher, to which he met mild success. It was not until after a painful 2002 season that Wuertz took to the bullpen.


As a starter, Wuertz was mediocre, at best. He struggled with control and was far from overpowering. But since 2004, he's been a solid arm out of the bullpen for the major league team. True, he's had his ups and downs, spending some time at Triple-A Iowa, but he has steadily improved each year since he moved to the bullpen.

Wuertz With The Cubs

In the majors, Wuertz has never finished a season with less than a strikeout per inning, largely due to a hard, late-breaking slider that is most effective out of the pen. His fastball is by no means overpowering, but Wuertz can locate it well to set up his nasty breaking stuff.

Better yet, Wuertz has been outstanding in close games and at critical moments.

Late and Close.
Tie Game.188.257.328.585

The only situation in which Wuertz really faltered last season was with two outs and runners in scoring postition: .319 AVG, .418 OBP, .489 SLG.

And Wuertz has done all of this with a career BABIP of .285. Luck, it seems, has not been a factor.

Any predictions for Michael? Here's mine:

70 G, 2.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 85 K

2007-02-11 18:48:38
1.   steffens
Is there any room for Wuertz? If Prior is healthy (admittedly, a big if), and the Cubs put Wade Miller in the 'pen as the long man, the seven-man bullpen is: Cotts, Dempster, Eyre, Howry, Miller, Ohman, and Wood.
2007-02-11 20:36:41
2.   Sandus
35 appearances, 31.2IP, 4.64 ERA, 36 K , traded midseason before the deadline.
2007-02-12 13:07:55
3.   Phil Bencomo
If the Cubs had any sense, it wouldn't be an issue (we don't need three lefties out of the pen).

But as it is, I fully expect someone to get hurt, and Miller to spend a lot of time in the rotation, meaning room for Wuertz in the bullpen. Anyway, if last season is any indicator, Wuertz is far more deserving of a spot than Cotts or Ohman.

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