Pat DeMarco is a new writer for The Daily Cub. He will bring some more experience and insight to The Daily Cub.
With just about half of spring training behind us, I thought it would be a good time to look at the Cubs battle for the No. 5 starter’s job.
The battle for the final starting pitcher’s job is turning into a great battle between Sean Marshall and Aaron Heilman. About a month ago, I wrote an article stating that Heilman won’t succeed as a starter.
Heilman is doing everything to prove me wrong. The 30-year-old has given up just one run in eight innings while striking out 12.
I’m not saying that he should win the spot, but his stuff has been electric this spring. That won’t be ignored. Can Heilman be last year’s Dempster? Time will tell.
Sean Marshall has matched Heilman pitch by pitch this spring. The 26-year old is 1-0 this spring with a 1.00 ERA. Marshall has allowed just 6 hits while striking out 5 in 9 innings.
Heilman has been outstanding this spring, but I still believe Marshall will win the number 5 spot. Then again, I also wrote this article 6 weeks ago.
Both Chad Gaudin and Jeff Samardzija have pitched well in spurts, but it’s doubtful that Piniella will choose them over Marshall or Heilman. If this is truly a wide open battle then Heilman and Marshall are clearly ahead of Gaudin and Samardzija.
It’s very difficult to get a read on players during spring training. That said Marshall and Heilman look like they’re in mid-season form. Marshall is doing a great job of changing speeds and turning his pitches over.
Heilman’s slider is very sharp this spring, and his fastball seems to have much more pop then years past. Both pitchers are keeping the ball down and throwing strikes. That’s a very difficult thing to do in the thin Arizona air.
This great battle for the No. 5 starter’s job will come down to the wire. I give the edge to Sean Marshall but not by much.