The Cubs optioned Steele to Double-A Tennessee on Saturday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Steele has only made two starts above the High-A level, but the Cubs saw enough potential in the 23-year-old lefty to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this winter. He'll likely stick in the Tennessee rotation for the majority of the season, though a midseason callup to Triple-A Iowa is a possibility if he performs well early on.
Steele was added to the 40-man roster by the Cubs on Tuesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
Steele was granted Rule 5 draft protection after seeing limited time on the mound in 2018. He managed to come back from Tommy John surgery and could begin the 2019 campaign at Double-A Tennessee.
Steele, who had Tommy John surgery in August, will begin the year on the disabled list with High-A Myrtle Beach and could miss the entire 2018 season, Jim Callis of MLB.com reports.
Steele played reasonably well at the High-A level last season before the surgery, finishing with a 2.92 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 98.2 innings. The 22-year-old could have advanced up the organizational ranks this season, but the injury will likely keep him grounded in 2018.
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|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2016||AFX-South Bend Cubs||5||7||5.00||19||19||0||0||0||77.1||93||57||43||3||8||39||76|
|2017||AFA-Myrtle Beach Pelican||6||7||2.92||20||20||0||0||0||98.2||100||42||32||6||10||36||82|