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BCB After Dark: Kings of K

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who will lead the Cubs in strikeouts this year.

World Baseball Classic Quarterfinals: Puerto Rico v Mexico Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the hottest after-party for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in and relax with us. We’re all friends here. There’s no cover charge. The show is just about to start. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

We’ll be discussing the World Baseball Classic in the days to come, but we got all we asked for as Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout to seal a 3-2 Japan win over the USA. It was Japan’s third WBC title and first since 2009.

I put a picture of Marcus Stroman pitching for Puerto Rico up there in the spirit of the Classic, even though tonight’s question is about the Cubs. But feel free to discuss the Classic if you want here.

Last time I asked you if you were worried about Dansby Swanson’s poor Spring Training at the plate. On a scale of 0 to 4, forty percent of you said your level of worry was a “1.” Another twenty percent said your worry level was a “zero” and another twenty percent said it was a “two.”

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I don’t do any movie stuff, but I always have time for jazz. So those of you who skip that can do so now. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight I’ve just got a quiet little number, “Don’t Blame Me,” by Thelonious Monk in Denmark in 1966.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music.

Tonight’s question is simply “Who will lead the Cubs in strikeouts in 2023?” No, I’m not asking you whether Patrick Wisdom or Dansby Swanson will swing and miss more often. This is a positive question for a positive night. I’m asking you which Cubs pitcher will strike out the most opposing hitters this season.

Much to my surprise, the Cubs were actually above-average in the National League in strikeouts as a team last year. Although that’s “barely” above-average as Cubs’ pitchers struck out 1383 batters last year and the NL average was 1376. They were actually ninth out of fifteen teams so in that sense, they were below average.

I was surprised the Cubs were around average in the league totals because they did not have any pitchers anywhere near the league leaders in the category. The Brewers’ Corbin Burnes led the NL in strikeouts last year with 243. The Cubs’ team leader was Justin Steele with 126.

So who will lead the team in strikeouts this year? Steele led last season, but Jameson Taillon struck out 151 batters last year with the Yankees. Obviously that would have led the Cubs.

So your candidates are the five (expected) pitchers in the Opening Day rotation: Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Justin Steele, Drew Smyly and Hayden Wesneski. One assumes Kyle Hendricks will return to the rotation soon enough, but between the missed starts and the fact that he just isn’t a strikeout pitcher, I don’t think Hendricks is a realistic candidate. But if you want to vote for him or a reliever or anyone not listed, I’ve got an “other” category for you. Maybe you think Jordan Wicks or Ben Brown will be up in May and blowing hitters away all season. Or maybe you think it will be Adrian Sampson, although he’s even less of a strikeout pitcher than Hendricks.

So who will lead the Cubs in strikeouts?


Which pitcher will lead the Cubs in strikeouts?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Drew Smyly
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Justin Steele
    (9 votes)
  • 11%
    Marcus Stroman
    (13 votes)
  • 46%
    Jameson Taillon
    (53 votes)
  • 31%
    Hayden Wesneski
    (36 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave in comments)
    (0 votes)
113 votes total Vote Now

I would truly like to know how many times in his life Drew Smyly has ever been first in alphabetical order in anything.

Thank you so very much for stopping in. We’re always here to celebrate a win or forget a loss with you. If you checked anything, let us get it for you now. Please get home safely. Tip your waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow evening for more BCB After Dark.