A couple of years have gone by since the last article in this series so let’s take a look at five men who appeared in just one game for the Cubs over the last two seasons.
Locke St. John, April 30, 2022
The man whose name sounds like a counterspy in a James Bond movie was signed by the Cubs as a free agent in November 2021. He was a 32nd-round draft pick of the Tigers in 2014 and had also been in the Rangers organization, appearing in seven games for them in 2019. He was recalled April 30 when Mark Leiter Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
His only Cubs appearance was throwing the seventh and eighth innings of a game the Cubs were trailing the Brewers 6-1. St. John kept the score that way for one inning, but allowed three runs in the eighth on a pair of homers, by Christian Yelich and Hunter Renfroe.
He did strike out four. Here he is striking out Andrew McCutchen [VIDEO].
The Cubs optioned St. John back to Iowa two days later and DFA’d him the day after that to make room for Robert Gsellman on the roster. After a week in DFA limbo St. John was claimed by the Mets, but he never pitched in a MLB game for them, spending the rest of 2022 at Triple-A Syracuse. He went to Spring Training with the Twins this year but was released at the end of camp.
Conner Menez, May 13, 2022
Menez threw a scoreless eighth inning in this game, which the Cubs lost to the Diamondbacks 4-3. He actually looked decent doing it. Here is his only Cub strikeout, of Nick Ahmed [VIDEO].
Menez was optioned to Iowa four days later and in June 2022 was released because he had agreed to a deal with NPB’s Nippon Ham Fighters.
He has pitched reasonably well in Japan the last two seasons and is just 28. Could this be a guy the Cubs might look at bringing to Spring Training on a NRI?
Nicholas Padilla, August 23, 2022
Padilla was thought of as a decent Cubs pitching prospect at the time, and he was brought up as the 27th man for a doubleheader against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on this date.
He relieved starter Adrian Sampson in the fourth inning of the second game with the Cubs trailing 4-0. He allowed a run in that inning, then another in the fifth before departing.
Padilla registered one strikeout as a Cub, K’ing Paul Goldschmidt to end that fourth inning [VIDEO].
If you don’t recognize that PBP voice, that’s the game that Blackhawks voice Pat Foley called a Cubs game.
Padilla was returned to Iowa after the doubleheader and a couple of weeks later, on September 9, he was claimed by the White Sox, for whom he appeared in three MLB games this year, posting a 5.79 ERA and 2.143 WHIP. He finished 2023 on the White Sox’ Triple-A affiliate Charlotte roster.
Brendon Little, August 30, 2022
Brendon Little was a No. 1 pick of the Cubs in the 2017 draft (27th overall). He entered this game in the bottom of the sixth with the Cubs leading the Blue Jays 2-1 and... it did not go well.
In order: HBP, little dribbler that he couldn’t handle, three-run homer by Teoscar Hernandez.
Little was sent back to Iowa two days later and was not called up at all in 2023. He made 50 appearances for Iowa this year with a 4.05 ERA and 1.432 WHIP. Another lefty named Little (Luke) seems to have passed him in the Cubs prospect pipeline.
Tyler Duffey, October 1, 2023
With the Cubs being a better, and contending, team in 2023, there were fewer guys the front office just wanted to “give a look.”
What’s a bit surprising is that Duffey, who had decent years in middle relief for the Twins for several years, never got a chance in the Cubs bullpen until they were out of contention on the last day of the season. Maybe he could have helped. Duffey was the only one-game Cub in 2023.
Duffey threw two innings of this 4-0 loss to the Brewers and allowed one run, a solo homer by Tyrone Taylor. He struck out three. Here he is striking out Willy Adames on a nasty slider [VIDEO].
Duffey seems, at the very least, worth a NRI to next year’s Spring Training.