The Cubs have claimed right-handed pitcher Edwin Uceta off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment by the Mets this past Wednesday and now joins his fourth organization of the year. Uceta had been claimed off waivers by New York from Pittsburgh on April 6 after he was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from Detroit on April 2.
He has also been with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, seeing MLB with both during the 2021 and ’22 seasons. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dodgers in the summer of 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, Uceta was ranked as the organization’s No. 24 prospect by Baseball America following the 2020 season.
The six-foot righty has walked 21 batters with 41 strikeouts over 40.1 total MLB innings in three different seasons, but he’s gotten a lot of swinging strikes. Almost exclusively a fastball/changeup pitcher, Uceta really leans into his offspeed pitch. It’s a very firm change that averaged nearly 88 mph, not a big drop from the fastball at 93-94 mph. He may just need to figure out how to find the zone a little more frequently.
This is a depth move for the Cubs and probably shouldn’t be viewed with much hype, but the changeup is a pitch the organization has had trouble developing with other pitchers. What if Uceta could help with that? If nothing else, it gives the folks in the pitch lab something new to dive into.
One other notable factor here is that Uceta throws with a low arm slot, similar to that of José Cuas. Picking up two semi-sidearmers in such quick succession is at least mildly interesting.