This season, Mychal Givens has been a workhouse out of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs signed Givens to a one-year deal back in March, looking to add some depth to its bullpen. And so far, Givens has not disappointed.
In his first year with the team, he’s made an immediate impact and has proved his value.
While the Cubs have struggled throughout the season, a bright spot has been Givens’ performance on the mound.
In his last four outings, coming into Sunday, he has not allowed a single run coming out of the bullpen.
He’s carrying a 3.27 ERA through 22.1 innings pitched. Let’s not forget his 4-0 record with one save and 30 strikeouts, either.
Throughout his career, Givens has developed into an elite pitcher out of the pen. His pitching style has been very effective over the last few seasons and hitters have had difficulties finding success against him.
HUGE strikeout from Mychal Givens! pic.twitter.com/MvmA46QDNW
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) April 7, 2022
If you ever get the chance to watch Givens pitch, you’ll see that he throws from a lower arm slot.
“It was just natural for me,” Givens said in an article from mlb.com talking about his release point.
Throwing from that low arm slot, it can be a tough task for batters to pick up what pitch he’s throwing.
“You can ask all these hitters,” Givens said. “Yes, velo is really tough to hit, but I think it might have been a quote from Ted Williams: If you shoot a bullet in front of me, I’ll figure a way to time it. If you have a guy throwing hard, but from the same arm slot, I think hitters can feel a little more comfortable.”
And his repertoire is very effective. Givens throws a four-seam, slider, sinker, and a changeup.
When he has command of that 90 plus mph fastball, it’s a problem for hitters. He can spot up with that fastball on the inside or outside corner of the plate and then come at you with the off-speed.
Givens also has success throwing that sinker as well, a pitch he can throw when he’s ahead in the count and uses it as an out pitch.
Givens has played on multiple teams throughout his career, and he’s been a bright spot in the bullpen for each team he’s been a part of.
He struggled his first few seasons in the Minors and in 2013 was asked to make a permanent switch to the mound. By the time 2015 came around, the move was appearing to pay off. Givens posted a 1.60 ERA with 54 strikeouts, 12 saves and a 3-1 record in 39.1 innings for the Bowie Baysox in Class AA.
Givens made his long-awaited Major League debut on June 24th of 2015 and after pitching a one-two-three inning, he was sent back down to the Baysox the next day. He would be brought back up about a month later and would finish the 2015 season with a 1.80 ERA in 22 games.
Givens made Baltimore’s Opening Day roster in 2016 and would become the first pitcher in their team history to begin his career with seven straight wins as a reliever. In 62 appearances that year, he struck out 96 batters in 74.2 innings with a 3.13 ERA and an 8-2 record.
“We have different guys that do different things,” Givens said. “And that was a great attribute of our bullpen and what I loved about it in 2016 with the Orioles. And I think we have that here. I think it’s really impressive.”
Givens spent time as a setup man but was given the keys to the Orioles closer job in 2019. In just 12 games in 2020, he had a 1.38 ERA before being traded to Colorado in late August of that year.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) October 8, 2019
Givens pitched well for the Rockies last year with a 2.73 ERA and 34 strikeouts before being sent to the great state of Ohio. Now the effective journeyman is in The Chi, understands his role on the Cubs and is going to continue to be a leader out of the bullpen.