Matt Swarmer turning heads for Chicago Cubs

This past week the Chicago Cubs had multiple doubleheaders on their schedule. Which meant possibly a pitcher, or two would be getting called up to make a spot start. A lot of Cubs fans, and media members around the team assumed it would be Caleb Kilian to be called up first. The Cubs top pitching prospect in Kilian did make his MLB debut on Saturday showing a lot of promise on the mound. Kilian was not the first Cubs pitching prospect to be called up this year to make a start though.

That honor went to pitcher prospect Matt Swarmer.

Swarmer was called up last Monday to start game one of the doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field on Memorial Day. Swarmer was drafted by the Cubs in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

It took Swarmer six years playing in the Cubs minor league systems before getting the call to make his debut against the Brewers. Swarmer was very impressive in his debut pitching 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, with only 1 earned run, 6 strikeouts, and 1 walk. He did give up 4 runs total, but the Cubs were a bit sloppy defensively which is why only 1 run was earned.

Rookie pitcher not fazed by bright lights in debut

The rookie in Swarmer really did not seemed to be fazed by the big moment. A lot of guys are usually a bit shaky, but not from the 28-year-old right hander in Swarmer. He just kept attacking hitter after hitter out there on the mound.

In game two last Monday night Drew Smyly started for the Cubs, but had to leave the game because of oblique tightness. This led to Smyly being placed on the injured list with an oblique injury. With fellow pitcher Wade Miley on the injury list it meant that the Cubs were able to keep Swarmer around after his impressive debut for another start.

In game one on Saturday afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals the Cubs handed Swarmer the ball again. Just like in his debut, he did not disappoint at all on Saturday on the mound. Swarmer pitched 6 solid innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 earned run, 5 strikeouts, and 2 walks. Tommy Edman tagged him for a solo home run in the 6th inning meaning he was throwing a one hitter up until that point against one of the more dangerous lineups in the National League.

Swarmer’s attacking the zone, limiting mistakes on the mound

Swarmer again really attacked the hitters in the Cardinals lineup, and was not getting in trouble with handing out walks. Any veteran pitcher will tell you the less traffic you can have on the base paths the better your outing is going to be overall.

Swarmer was also able to do something that many pitchers could not do over the last month. Get slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt out. He did walk the hot hitting Goldschmidt twice, but got him to ground out to shortstop in the fourth inning to snap the impressive 25 game hitting streak. In the video below you will see Swarmer make one of the hottest hitters in baseball look very silly at the plate.

Swarmer has very impressive stat line in both starts

In two starts last week Swarmer pitched 12 innings, allowing 2 earned runs, 7 hits, 11 strikeouts, and only 3 walks. Those are dominating numbers against any MLB team, but even more impressive when it is against top teams in the National League Central.

Not only did Swarmer pitch extremely well in his first two starts, but he now has an impressive stat to go with it. Swarmer became the first rookie pitcher for the Cubs dating back to 1939 to throw at least six innings, and only allowing one or fewer earned runs in each of his first two starts.

It is an extremely small sample size, but Swarmer is definitely turning heads and impressing many in the Cubs organization. The Cubs front office, and fans are hoping they found a diamond in the rough in Swarmer. Let’s see if he can keep it up his impressive start to his big league career moving forward.

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