Don’t you dare compare Dillon Maples to Carlos Mármol ever again.
The Cubs drafted Maples in 2011, and after seven minor league seasons he made his MLB debut in 2017. We all heard about the nasty slider and upper 90s fastball. We saw the highlights, but we also knew there was a reason Maples didn’t make it to the majors until his age 25 season.
Dude just doesn’t know where the ball is going to go when he throws it.
But then Maples has an unreal stretch where he’s striking out everyone and limiting the wildness. Remember that time he struck out three batters against the Dodgers in 2018?
That slider was filthy.
Or how about last Saturday, when Maples retired the side in order and once again showed off his nasty stuff.
But those outings have been few and far between for Maples in the majors and boy oh boy was Wednesday night against the Reds a showcase to why it’s time to end this experiment.
Right after the Cubs scored five runs to cut the lead 9-5 in the seventh, David Ross went to Maples, who proceeded to walk four guys, allowed a hit and didn’t get a single out.
Maples threw 26 pitches…ONLY 8 FOR STRIKES!
These aren’t even competitive at-bats either. It’s not like Maples is barely missing his spots or getting squeezed up there. He’s missing the strike zone by a mile and the thing is this isn’t anything knew.
We’re now on year four of every time Maples is brought up you hear announcers say, “he’s got the nastiest stuff.” Well, is it really nasty if you can’t actually get outs.
In 23.1 innings with the Cubs Maples has 25 walks, six HBP, three wild pitches (plenty more to the backstop) and four homers allowed.
Maples is 28-years-old and has nine years of pro baseball under his belt. Whatever the Cubs have tried to help him hasn’t worked and there aren’t any signs to suggest Maples will figure it out and be consistent enough to trust him on a daily basis out of the bullpen.
Maybe Dillon Maples will eventually figure it out, but it can’t be with the Cubs. It’s time for them to accept it and give someone else a shot.