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2023 Cubs player profiles: Hayden Wesneski

Eighteenth in a series. The rookie is holding his own so far, and looks like he’s here to stay.

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Hayden Wesneski was drafted by the New York Yankees in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft from Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Texas). He was acquired by the Cubs at the 2022 trade deadline in return for reliever Scott Effross and was 3-2 down the stretch, starting four games and making two other relief appearances.

His showing was good enough to be entered into the competition for rotation spots in 2023 Spring Training, and he won the fifth starter role in the end, over Javier Assad, Adrian Sampson, and the injured Kyle Hendricks.

So far this year, he has won two games and lost one with a 3.93 ERA, 23 strikeouts and eight bases on balls. He’s usually around the plate, though he has struggled at times this season, and has given up six home runs thus far.

Wesneski has been pitching better of late, looking more confident, and it doesn’t look like he’s lost his spot by any means. He throws a terrific ‘sweeper,’ a variety of slider that’s all the rage these days, a fastball in the mid-90s, a straight change, a cutter, and a sinker, but he mainly relies on the fastball and sweeper to get his outs.

His stuff has a lot of movement and he can log some spectacular strikeouts as hitters flail at his offerings... when his command is ON, he is dominating. Fangraph says: “Wesneski’s slider is really nasty and his entire repertoire fits nicely together.”

Hayden Wesneski is under club control through 2029, and the strong likelihood is that he’ll be a stalwart in the rotation during that period. He’ll be joined by other young pitchers as the Cubs finally seem to have learned how to develop pitching, and the future looks bright indeed for the 25-year-old Texan. Tony Andracki wrote that he’s proven he belongs, and perhaps that’s all one can ask.

“He’s been really impressive,” Jed Hoyer said. “Seems unbelievably comfortable in a good way. He’s talking to all the veteran pitchers. Everything about the way he carries himself is that he belongs in the rotation; he belongs in the big leagues. That’s all we’ve seen.”

Indeed, BCB readers voted that he should remain in the rotation after Kyle Hendricks returns. Jameson Taillon is still harboring an injury and has been ineffective so far, and he is on the injured list, again. So that can is kicked down the road just a little, as now there’s room for Hendricks or the Iowa sub du jour.

I’d vote to keep Weznasty under most common circumstances. Your mileage may vary.