Justin Steele had an impressive 2023.
He developed and blossomed into the Chicago Cubs’ ace, even positioning himself as a Cy Young award candidate.
After watching him put up a 3.06 ERA in 173.1 innings last year, we would say he knows a thing or two about pitching.
With that being the case, you should believe it when he says that another pitcher is incredibly talented.
Or, as he put it himself: “filthy.”
He used that adjective to describe his new rotation mate Shota Imanaga after watching one of his bullpens.
“I watched Shōta Imanaga throw a bullpen today.. I’m on eBay now looking for cards. Guy is filthy,” Steele tweeted.
I watched Shōta Imanaga throw a bullpen today.. I’m on eBay now looking for cards. Guy is filthy. 🤢
— Justin Steele (@J_Steele21) February 8, 2024
It’s a creative way to say that the Japanese pitcher has what it takes to succeed at the MLB level.
Sure, it’s just a bullpen, and the world wants to see him in live game action.
But that line coming from Steele, it’s no small praise.
Imanaga signed a multi-year deal to join the Cubs’ rotation as they seek to return to the postseason.
The left-hander was completely dominant with the Yokohama BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in 2023: a 2.80 ERA in 148 innings, with 174 strikeouts.
He posted a 3.18 ERA in eight seasons in Japan, and was part of the roster that won the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
He knows how to pitch, and uses his high-spin fastball and quality breaking stuff to get whiffs.
Steele and Imanaga will try to do what they can to help the Cubs regain supremacy in the increasingly tough NL Central.NEXT: Insider Details Hector Neris' Contract With Cubs