For the second year in a row, the Cubs have signed lefty reliever Eric Stout to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp in the spring. The Glen Ellyn, IL native attended Butler University and was drafted by the Royals in the 13th round in 2014, then spent several years knocking around in the minors across several organizations.
He earned a very brief call-up in 2018 with KC, pitching 2.1 innings across three appearances, but then he had to wait four years for another shot. You may have forgotten that he got it with the Cubs last year when he was called up in June to throw 3.2 innings over two appearances. Stout was then traded to the Pirates, for whom he tossed 18.2 innings in 18 games.
This doesn’t seem like a move that will cause so much as a ripple, let alone a wave, but the Cubs are really light on southpaws and need to add depth in that category. Stout is a grinder and he put up some really incredible strikeout numbers for Triple-A Iowa last season (48 Ks in 29.2 IP), so maybe the Cubs feel he’s got something more to give.
Any success he has will probably come from the slider, which he throws about half the time at this point. Stout is also throwing a little harder than he did several years ago, though we’re still only talking about a 92 mph fastball. He’s got a really firm change that sits around 87-88 mph, so that’s pretty interesting. While this seems totally inconsequential by all standards, there’s always that wild chance that a guy comes out of nowhere to make a name for himself.
I wouldn’t necessarily bet on Stout being that guy in 2022, but who knows.