Cubs’ top pitching prospect Caleb Kilian, part of Kris Bryant trade, to make MLB debut Saturday vs. Cardinals

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Cubs prospect Caleb Kilian will make his big-league debut on Saturday as part of Chicago’s doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, manager David Ross announced on Friday. Kilian is expected to start the nightcap. 

Kilian, who celebrated his 25th birthday on June 2, was originally drafted out of Texas Tech by the San Francisco Giants in the eighth round in 2019. He became part of the Cubs organization last July, when he was involved in the Kris Bryant trade. (The Cubs also landed outfield prospect Alexander Canario in that deal.)

Kilian has done nothing but get outs as a professional. This season alone, he compiled a 2.06 ERA and a 2.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio in nine starts for the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate. For his minor-league career, he’s posted a 2.08 ERA and a 5.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio, meaning that his numbers this season have actually been worse than his standard.

Baseball America recently ranked Kilian as the fifth best prospect in the Cubs farm system. Here’s part of that report:

Kilian previously succeeded with average stuff and plus control, but his stuff has ticked up to enhance his future outlook. His fastball now sits 91-94 mph and touches 97-98 mph. He has maintained his advanced feel for pitching through his velocity bump and manipulates his fastball to alternately give it cut, sink or ride or depending on the hitter. Kilian primarily succeeds throwing different varieties of his fastball, but his curveball has improved to flash plus with good depth and he can mix in both an average cutter and changeup. 

The Cubs and Cardinals are in the midst of a five-game series. The Cubs took game one on Thursday night, 7-5, but the Cardinals struck back on Friday with a 14-5 romp. 

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