Player: Caleb Kilian
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
Height: 6’4 Weight: 180 Age: 24 Bats/Throws: R/R Current Level: AAA Iowa
MLB.com Rank: 5th in Cubs System
Acquired: July 30, 2021 in trade from San Francisco Giants for Kris Bryant
Hometown: Anaheim, CA
College: Texas Tech
Kilian was drafted in the 8th round, 236th overall in 2019 by the San Francisco Giants. The Giants dealt Kilian to the Cubs along with Alexander Canario in the Kris Bryant trade last summer. He took a big step in his work during the pandemic year and was able to add some velocity to his fastball. In his first minor league action in 2021, he led the minors with a 8.62 K/BB ratio between High-A and Double-A before being traded to the Cubs.
He’s off to a great start in 2022 in Iowa and has a lot of Cub fans wondering how soon we’ll see him at Wrigley. Kilian is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in eight starts this year with the Iowa Cubs. He’s striking out 10.49/9 innings with a 62.9% ground ball percentage. He’s only allowed one homer too, so he’s done a really good job minimizing any damage this year.
Fangraphs Scouting Grades
His four-seam fastball sits 94-98 mph and he pairs it with a two-seamer at 90-96 mph. that’s been deadly inside to righties. He looks to be using a cutter now too, generally from 89-91 mph. He also has a slider that sits in the high 80’s and a curveball in the upper 70’s. His final pitch is a circle changeup that tends to be in the low 80’s. With a true five or six-pitch arsenal and impressive control, Kilian looks like a future starter and quite likely a starter this season.
What sets him apart is his command and specifically fastball command. He is able to move his four-seamer inside and out and pair it with the two-seamer to keep hitters off balance. His secondary stuff is coming along and he’s used it more and more since becoming a pro.
Below we see each of Kilian’s starts this season.
He’s been really consistent so far. He hasn’t allowed more than one earned run or more than two walks in any start and he has just one home run allowed all year.
The command is what gives scouts no doubt he can be a starter. The most common projection I’ve seen is a number 3-5 starter in the Cubs rotation. He’s actually been tougher against righties than lefties because of his two-seam fastball and his ability to pitch inside with it on righties (0.93 WHIP vs righties and 1.68 WHIP vs lefties). With the Cubs off to a non-competitive start in the division this year, I’d expect to see Kilian up soon. Keep your eyes open for an early look at the returns on half a year of Kris Bryant.