Cubs trade reliever Scott Effross for Hayden Wesneski, the Yankees’ No. 7 prospect
After debuting in late August last season, Effross has posted a 2.66 ERA this season.
SAN FRANCISCO — At this time last year, sidearming right-hander Scott Effross was in Triple-A, working for an opportunity to showcase his revamped delivery in the big leagues.
On Monday, the Cubs traded the standout rookie to the Yankees for right-handed pitching prospect Hayden Wesneski.
Effross became the second major-leaguer the Cubs dealt leading up to trade deadline Tuesday, following veteran reliever Chris Martin, whom they dealt to the Dodgers on Saturday for utility player Zach McKinstry. And plenty more moves are expected. But Effross, a homegrown pitcher who has yet to reach arbitration, doesn’t fit into the sign-and-flip playbook the Cubs have used for veteran relievers in recent years.
‘‘First time going through a lot of things this year, including this,’’ Effross recently told the Sun-Times when asked about the trade buzz around his veteran bullpen mates. ‘‘And, obviously, it’s a lot of noise.’’
Now Effross, whom the Cubs selected in the 15th round of the 2015 draft, is checking off another first: It’s his first time in a different organization.
In return, the Cubs added a pitcher whom MLB Pipeline ranked seventh in the Yankees’ system. And through assistant pitching coach Daniel Moskos, who was Wesneski’s Double-A pitching coach last year, the Cubs have some familiarity with him. In Triple-A this season, Wesneski has a 3.51 ERA and 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Yankees wouldn’t have parted with a prospect as highly rated as Wesneski if it weren’t for Effross’ rapid development in recent years.
‘‘The arm-slot change is one thing,’’ Moskos told the Sun-Times about Effross this season, ‘‘but what he does every day, day in and day out, he’s one of the most consistent humans you’ll ever be around. And I think that kind of tells more of the story than just the delivery change.’’
In 2019, in a last-ditch effort to keep his baseball aspirations alive, Effross agreed to drop down his arm slot from overhead to sidearm. He made his major-league debut in August of last season.
‘‘Being able to compete in those close games last year down the stretch and everything kind of allowed me to be more comfortable for this year and learn each day and take everything in stride,’’ Effross said in a conversation with the Sun-Times this past weekend.
Effross has posted a 2.66 ERA this season, and his 46 relief appearances were tied for second-most in the majors entering Monday.
‘‘He’s earning the right to [pitch] in leverage situations,’’ Cubs manager David Ross said recently. ‘‘He’s had a phenomenal year. He’s taken real well to a full major-league season.’’
The adjustment to a full major-league workload is no small task. Effross said he only had thrown in back-to-back games in the minors a ‘‘handful’’ of times. Now that has become commonplace for him. He also has pitched in every inning from the first through the 10th and notched his first career save last week.
The key to adjusting to the jump in usage, he said, has been honing his own routine and pulling from his observations of — and conversations with — veterans such as Martin, David Robertson and Mychal Givens.
‘‘It’s just smarter,’’ Effross said. ‘‘I think I do pretty much the same amount of things, but I have more of a reason behind why I’m doing them.’’
It’s still a learning process, he said. And now it’s one that will continue in New York.