Laurila: Rowan Wick was a good story out of the Cubs’ bullpen

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on October 13, 2019:

Two spring trainings ago I was at the Padres complex in Peoria, Arizona, chatting with Dave Cameron. The longtime FanGraphs frontman had recently joined the NL West club as an analyst, and he had a suggestion. “You should talk to Rowan Wick,” Cameron said of the non-roster invitee whom San Diego had claimed off waivers the previous month. “He’s a good story.”

Indeed he was. Wick entered pro ball as a catcher in 2012, converted to the mound in 2015, and possessed what was later described to me as “one of the shortest, quickest arms I’ve ever seen.” He’d had yet to throw a pitch in the big leagues.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to Wick before departing Arizona, but I remembered Cameron’s suggestion when I returned to the Cactus League this past spring. The right-hander — now with eight-and-a-third MLB innings on his resume — was in camp with the Cubs, a long shot to make the team. A full year after having the bug put in my ear, I wrote about the 26-year-old hurler from North Vancouver, British Columbia.

He proceeded to outperform all expectations. The bulk of his big-league action coming since mid-June, Wick logged a 2.43 ERA and a 2.82 FIP in 31 games out of the Chicago bullpen. Those weren’t even his most-impressive numbers. Opposing hitters slashed a paltry .183/.295/.233 against his overpowering arsenal — one which included a retooled secondary offering.

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Originally published: October 15, 2019. Last Updated: October 15, 2019.