The Chicago Cubs promoted right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. to the major league roster yesterday. He has been on the prospect radar for a few years now but we cover every rookie here at Minor League Ball, so here's the current scoop.
Edwards was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 48th round in 2011 from high school in Prosperity, South Carolina, population 1,180. Known as C.J. Edwards at the time, he developed rapidly into an intriguing starting pitcher prospect then was acquired by the Cubs in the 2013 Matt Garza deal. After an injury-plagued season in 2014, the Cubs moved him to the pen last year, resulting in a 2.77 ERA in 55 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 75/41 K/BB. He got a brief cup of coffee in the Show, fanning four over 4.2 innings but walking three.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Carl Edwards, Jr., RHP, Chicago Cubs
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-2 WT: 155 DOB: September 3, 1991
2013: Grade C+; 2014: Grade B+; 2015: Grade B+
After missing much of 2014 with shoulder trouble, Edwards made some changes in 2015. He stopped going by C.J. Edwards and started using his given name of Carl Edwards, Jr. More importantly he switched to relief work. The results were impressive enough for him to earn a big league trial and he’ll be in the bullpen mix for 2016. Stuff-wise Edwards offers plenty, featuring a 92-96 MPH fastball with hard cutting action. He has a plus curveball and his change-up isn’t bad either. The quality stuff is reflected in excellent K/IP and H/IP marks, plus he’s given up only three home runs in his entire professional career. On the other hand, his pitches have so much movement that his control is troublesome, plus the switch to the bullpen reduces his potential fantasy impact unless he can take a closer role. He’ll need to reduce the walks to end up with such a job, but I think he’ll be able to do that eventually. The grade is down a bit due to the change in role and the control slippage, but overall I remain a fan. Grade B-.
Edwards was off to another strong start in Triple-A, posting a 2.38 ERA in 11 innings for the Iowa Cubs with an 18/7 K/BB. He has little left to prove in the minors so the choice to promote him is logical.
The pre-season view of Edwards hasn't changed: he still has very impressive stuff and he still needs to sharpen his command. Right now he can fit well as a middle reliever and if his control improves as he gains experience, he could be a closer someday. I still like him.