And Friday, he’ll join the Cubs’ rotation:
#Cubs pitching vs Cardinals: Fri Eddie Butler, Sat Jon Lester, Sun Jake Arrieta— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 10, 2017
It hasn’t been announced yet, but I assume Felix Pena will return to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Butler on the 25-man roster.
What can we expect from Butler? Over the course of the last three years with the Rockies, comprising 36 appearances (28 starts), he’s been... bad. I’d like to be charitable, but a 6.50 ERA, 1.770 WHIP and 28 home runs in 159⅓ innings is just... bad.
Butler was a No. 1 (supplemental round) pick of the Rockies (46th overall) in 2012. He’s obviously got talent. What happened?
Part of it could be pitching at altitude. Butler pitched well at the lower levels of the Rockies system but once he got to Albuquerque? Ugh. 5.02 ERA and 15 home runs allowed in 152⅓ innings.
In the major leagues, Butler was somewhat better (though not all that good) away from Coors Field: 7.92 ERA (90 innings) at Coors, 5.40 on the road (69⅓ innings).
Something must have clicked when he got to Cubs camp. Maybe it was the coaching, maybe it was getting him back to what he did in college, but he threw quite well in spring training this year: 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP in five appearances (14⅔ innings, granted, a very small sample size).
He’s been even better than that at Iowa: five starts, 30⅔ innings, 1.17 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, no home runs allowed. (Granted, against Triple-A hitters.)
Could he have figured something out? The Cubs have done pretty well dumpster-diving for pitching talent in recent years. Butler turned 26 in March and if he can throw even close to the way he did in Triple-A, he’ll likely stick in the big leagues for a while. The Cubs could use some consistency out of the rotation.
Anyway, we’ll find out starting Friday night when he takes the mound in Busch Stadium (where he’s never pitched) against the Cardinals’ Mike Leake.