Cubs Pitching Prospect Max Bain ‘Could Really Jump’ Next Season

We’ve been touting righty pitching prospect Max Bain for a while here at Cubs Insider, first because he’s got a badass name and later because he started pitching accordingly. It wasn’t easy, though, and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s got a lot to improve upon if he wants to fulfill his dream. That’s sort of the way it works when you go from undrafted free agent working in the upper 80’s to kissing triple digits and signing with the Cubs.

Bain’s first professional season at High-A South Bend was a roller coaster that saw him go from a 5.89 ERA in May to a 3.98 in June and then a frightening 11.34 across five July starts. A trip to the development list on July 25 gave him a mental and physical break, after which he put up a 2.96 ERA in August to earn the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors.

Over 93 innings spanning 22 total appearances, all but one a start, Bain had a 5.52 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 56 walks. You hear a lot about how development isn’t linear and, while that’s true, it’s become a little too trite to be very worthwhile. Bain is a great example of how it’s a grind that you have to feel your way through at times, a process that can lead you through some dark places.

But while some merely adopt the dark, he was born in it, molded by it. So of course he posted a video of all the dingers he gave up, knowing it’s the mistakes that teach you the most.

In addition to learning the ropes of pro ball, the 6-foot-5 righty added two above-average major league secondaries: a slider and a changeup. He had to fine-tune the offspeed pitch for a year before he was comfortable enough to throw it in a game, but the slider, which had decent success, probably won’t be dialed in until next season.

Mind you, this all came after he dropped almost 70 pounds and headed out to Driveline as part of a long journey to forget and re-learn everything he knew about pitching. It’s that kind of work ethic that put him on the Cubs’ radar in the first place and is now raising eyebrows from the scouting community.

“Keep an eye on Max Bain,” Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser answered in a recent chat when asked about a Cubs prospect outside the top 30 primed to break out. “Stuff is really good. Control needs work. But he only recently became a power pitcher…and is still learning to harness that newfound power.

“If he does with more experience, he could really jump.”

Hey, Jed Hoyer did say the Cubs need to add power arms and that the development pipeline overseen by new GM Carter Hawkins will take 3-5 years to come into its own. As disappointing as the present is for Cubs fans wanting to see something, anything from the big club this winter, the future certainly looks bright.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Bain himself, he has a podcast called The Bain Campaign that is available wherever you get your pods. Co-hosted by Bryan Smith of Bleacher Nation and Chris MacLean of Turn A Pair Podcast, TBC goes deep daily lives of professional baseball players, the mental challenges and adversity faced both on and off the field.

Oh, Bain will also be joining The Rant Live on Monday, December 13 to talk about what he’s working on this offseason and what we can expect to see from him in the future.

Back to top button