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Cubs’ Justin Steele is making a heck of a case for the All-Star Game

1 year agoTony Andracki

Over the last calendar year, the pitcher with the lowest ERA in baseball would probably surprise many outside of Chicago.

But at the corner of Clark and Addison, the Cubs are well aware of what they have in Justin Steele.

After 6.1 shutout innings in Friday’s 10-0 win over the Guardians, Steele now has a 2.07 ERA over the last year (dating back to July 1, 2022).

That’s the best mark in baseball among pitchers with at least 24 starts. And in Steele’s 24 outings in that span, he has permitted 2 runs or fewer in 20 starts.

Simply put, he has been a model of consistency in the Cubs rotation and the only thing that has held him back has been injuries (back strain late last season and a forearm issue earlier this month).

“He’s a horse, man,” David Ross said. “Every time he takes the bump, it feels like a guy that it’s Win Day. He loves to take the ball. His competitive nature and how you see him lock it in even more so when things get a little awry or a little bit hairy — he’s there competing his tail off.

“He’s been really good. He’s turning into an ace. That’s what I think he is. He’s proven it.”

With Friday’s start in the books, Steele now has a 2.43 ERA — the lowest mark in the National League. He also carries a 9-2 record and 1.03 WHIP and has allowed just 3 homers this season. He is making a very strong case for a spot on the All-Star squad and could even be an option to start the game for the NL team.

Ross believes Steele and his rotation mate, Marcus Stroman, both have easy cases to be named to the Midsummer Classic.

“I think that’s pretty obvious to me but I’m not following the rest of the league as far as rankings and standings,” Ross said. “Steeley’s definitely been one of our best pitchers — him and Stro have been phenomenal. If you’re talking about Stro in that context, Steele should be in that mix for sure.”

Steele admitted that he has thought about what it would mean to be named to the All-Star team.

“Yeah, it’s crossed my mind,” he said. “It’d be quite the honor. It’d be really cool. Another notch on the belt. I just kinda take pride in showing up each and every day when the ball is handed to me and giving my team the best chance to win the game that day.”

Steele will find out his fate Sunday evening when MLB announces the complete All-Star rosters.

Steele understands he hasn’t gotten to this level all on his own and made sure to thank his teammates Friday as he exited the game. With 1 out in the 7th inning, Ross came out to pull Steele from the game and the southpaw initially started walking back to the dugout before switching gears, going back to the huddle on the mound and giving a fist-bump to all the Cubs infielders.

Steele Mound Visit Fist Bumps 2 Steele Mound Visit Fist Bumps

“I was starting to walk off,” Steele said, “and I was like, ‘alright, before I go back, let me dab everybody up and tell ‘em good job and I appreciate the hard work behind me.'”

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