Could Burl Carraway make an impact in Cubs bullpen in 2021?
When the Cubs drafted Burl Carraway in the 2nd round last summer, they envisioned the left-handed reliever hopping on the fast track to Chicago.
The pandemic has created some uncertainty with player development, but could he become a part of the big-league bullpen sometime this season?
The Cubs aren’t forecasting that just yet but the team did welcome Carraway to the alternate site in South Bend in 2020 and allowed him to pitch in a simulated environment against other hitters in the organization.
They came away as impressed as they were when they drafted him in June out of Dallas Baptist University. The 21-year-old southpaw can dial it up to triple digits with his fastball and he possess a dynamic breaking ball to go with the heat.
“Exciting, young arm with dynamic stuff,” Cubs VP of player development Matt Dorey said. “He had some of the best stuff in the draft in 2020. True elite closer fastball/breaking ball [combo] but I think one of the things people don’t know is how athletic he is. He can really field his position, control the running game and he’s a guy that obviously we’ve talked about a lot having the ability to fast track to the big leagues.
“Unfortunately didn’t get to pitch a lot last year, but the time he did get to pitch in South Bend was exactly how he was coming out of the draft. We’re really excited to see him in Arizona in spring training and watch his career evolve with the Cubs.”
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Since Carraway is not a starting pitcher, his development could be faster than most other arms taken in the 2020 amateur draft. He struck out 89 batters in 51.1 innings over his college career.
Carraway probably won’t break camp in the big-league bullpen, but the Cubs hope he could be a big part of their long-term bullpen picture.