The Cubs made another roster move at the back end of the bullpen Friday, calling righty James Norwood up to Chicago and optioning fellow righty Rowan Wick to Triple-A Iowa. Wick had just made his Cubs debut Thursday against the Phillies, allowing a run on two hits while notching one strikeout. But tis the season for streaming, and I don’t mean Netflix.
As the Cubs head into the heart of their schedule without the benefit of two off-days each week, they’re going to fire up the Iowa Shuttle in earnest. Which means a lot of this shuffling to keep a fresh, new arm in the ‘pen at all times. The moves could slow down a bit once Pedro Strop returns to the roster, but that’s likely a week away yet.
Norwood debuted with the Cubs last season and electrified with his big fastball, to the extent that many believed he could be a legit contributor this season. He’s still pretty raw, though, and the Cubs wanted him to get a little more seasoning before calling him up again.
With a 1-0 record, three saves, and a 4.95 ERA, the popular stats don’t say much about his work in Iowa. The 25 strikeouts (11.25 K/9) and only seven walks (3.15 BB/9) over 20 innings carry a lot of weight, though.
The 25-year-old righty can touch triple digits with the fastball and has a split-finger that can be devastating when used properly. He also has a slider, which, unlike that of Dillon Maples, is more of a get-me-over offering. Norwood may throw the slide-piece early to throw hitters off, it’s just not a frisbee.
He can be a dude if he’s locating that heater and getting the splitter to disappear, but don’t expect a sudden solution to the Cubs’ bullpen issues. You never know, though, maybe he can put it together and show out for a while. If nothing else, it’s fun to see those big readings on the radar gun.