The Cubs have spent the winter squirreling away pitchers, even those rife with injury histories and who have struggled to live up to prospect hype. They signed Brett Anderson in the hopes that he can stay healthy enough to supplement the rotation and keep them healthy for another postseason stretch. And they traded for Butler in the hopes that the 2012 first rounder can salvage some of what prompted the Rockies to take him 46th overall that year.
Little about Butler’s numbers across parts of three seasons with the Rockies would inspire tremendous optimism, but there is enough to justify taking a flier on him. His average fastball velocity sits above 94 mph, and he has been clocked 97-98 at times. Butler pairs this with a heavy sinker and a swing-and-miss slider. Last season was a disaster for Butler, but some of that can be attributed to bad luck. The chasm between his DRA and ERA (5.45 and 7.17) points to a better pitcher than some of his outcomes, and his strikeout rate has steadily risen since his debut in 2014.
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Lead photo courtesy Kamil Krzaczynski—USA Today Sports