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Cubs promote top prospect to Triple-A

4 weeks agoAndy Martinez

Cade Horton is one step away from the majors. 

The Cubs’ top pitching prospect was promoted to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.

Horton, 22, has been stellar to start the year. In 4 starts with Double-A Tennessee, he has a 1.10 ERA and. 0.92 WHIP in 16.1 innings with 18 strikeouts and 2 walks. Since being promoted to Tennessee last season, Horton has lit up the level. In 10 starts in the Southern League, Horton has a 1.25 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 43.1 innings with 49 strikeouts. Horton is the Cubs’ No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. 

Now, the Cubs’ 2022 first-round pick will have the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level of the minor leagues, with the majors just one step away. 

Success with Iowa could have him on a fast-track to Chicago. The Cubs have already dealt with numerous injuries to their starting rotation — they’ve received just 9 starts from their top three projected starters from spring: Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon and Kyle Hendricks. Steele and Hendricks are currently on the IL and Taillon made his third start of the season on Monday in New York after opening the season on the IL. Lefty Jordan Wicks was placed on the IL earlier this week with a left forearm strain, too. 

In their absence, the Cubs have shown confidence in their young arms — Ben Brown and Hayden Wesneski have so far stepped in nicely into the rotation. Steele and Hendricks appear not too far from a return, but if another injury occurs, the next man up isn’t totally clear. Chris Clarke (2.00 ERA, 1.56 WHIP) and Thomas Pannone (2.73 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) have pitched well in the I-Cubs rotation and could figure into that mix. 

The Cubs have been aggressive with their young pitchers before. Wicks started last season in Double-A and was quickly promoted to Triple-A, too, before debuting in the majors in September. Brown was on a similar trajectory before injuries at the end of the season stymied that path. 

So, the Cubs messaging seems clear: if Horton continues to perform, there’s a path to contribute in the majors sooner rather than later. But, for now, his first step will be contributing at the Triple-A level. 

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