Pete Crow-Armstrong continues to demonstrate why he is among the top prospects in baseball.  "I want them to keep challenging me," says the Chicago Cubs outfielder.

SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly a year ago, Pete Crow-Armstrong’s injury-shortened debut season took another turn.

Crow-Armstrong, the New York Mets’ 2020 first-round pick, was injured six games into the season and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Those games would be his only action in the Mets organization.

so he went traded to Chicago Cubs for shortstop Javier Báez and right-hander Trevor Williams. With that anniversary just days away, Crow-Armstrong admits it feels like even more time has passed. When he looks at the talent he’s played with this season, the prospect can’t help but be elated.

“That’s something I love about where the Cubs are right now. I think a lot of people are worried about what’s going on in the big leagues and the fans are stressed and stuff, but from top to bottom, the Cubs are in a very good position,” Crow-Armstrong told the Tribune by phone. this week. “We have a lot of guys in the lower levels getting the job done and we’re doing everything we can to get there.

“At the end of the day, all of our goals are to be able to impact the club in the Major Leagues, and that’s what we’re doing here, preparing to do that.”

With the way Crow-Armstrong has trended upward in his development, the 2021 trade could eventually be a steal for the Cubs. Four of the Cubs’ top 10 prospects are currently at Low-A Myrtle Beach or High-A South Bend, while two others, left-handers Jordan Wicks and DJ Hertz – were recently promoted to Double-A Tennessee.

Crow-Armstrong has quickly become one of the top 100 prospects in baseball, ranked 33rd by Baseball American and 77th by And among Cubs prospects, Baseball America’s midseason update has Crow-Armstrong as its No. 1 player, putting him ahead of outfielder Brennen Davis.

“We’re not putting limits on any of our guys, we’re not going to rush things either,” vice president of player development Jared Banner said of Crow-Armstrong’s major league timeline. “Ultimately, his performance will tell us what he’s ready for. So far, he’s done a great job and we’ve been a bit aggressive with him.”

Crow-Armstrong’s first full professional season had him representing the Cubs in the Futures Game.

Playing in the July 16 game had added meaning for Crow-Armstrong, who grew up about 20 miles from Dodger Stadium and had many friends and family at the game. He called it a very special surreal experience.

“I just want to remind people that the Cubs’ prospects are here and there could be a lot of guys that were drafted for this game. I feel very lucky that it was me,” Crow-Armstrong told the Tribune. “I’m really looking forward to seeing who does it next year.”

Crow-Armstrong doubled and scored a run for the National League team. At one point, he was caught on a microphone driving center field in the sixth inning.

“The microphone part was a little nerve-wracking,” Crow-Armstrong said. “It was new, but fun. I felt that I did well. I felt like an FBI agent with the earpiece.”

He was sidelined for two weeks in mid-June with a bone bruise stemming from a blow to his wrist and hand in a toe slide toward second base. Otherwise, he’s been healthy and it shows in his offensive production.

“I don’t think the game changes as much as you go up,” Crow-Armstrong said. “It’s just more strikes and guys have a better command of all their pitches. So it’s about staying true to my approach and keeping up the good at-bats. I think once I started doing a little more of that, the numbers started to speak for themselves.”

Crow-Armstrong faced an adjustment period after his May 30 promotion from Low-A Myrtle Beach to High-A South Bend. He went from hitting .220/.230/.458 and a .687 OPS in 14 games in June to producing a .274/.312/.562 line and an .873 OPS in 16 games in July with South Bend. .

“When you level up, you don’t deprive yourself of good pitches to hit, it’s just about being selective enough to get them,” Crow-Armstrong said. “Being an aggressive hitter is being able to find a balance between aggressiveness and selectivity. And then comes the quality of at-bats and better swing decisions.

“That was definitely something I could bundle into that first month of a slight struggle, but this season is a learning curve for me. It’s a whole process and I’m confident in it.”

Crow-Armstrong also credited the Cubs for providing a wealth of data and analysis to help them as needed.

“There’s not a lot of information that you’re looking for because they’ve provided the tools and information needed to tackle any challenge,” Crow-Armstrong said. “It’s another thing I’m learning: You can’t do it alone.”

Crow-Armstrong’s performance in 68 games at two levels hasn’t necessarily surprised the Cubs. Banner noted that, if anything, the organization is even more excited.

“We knew he had some power, but maybe not that much,” Banner said. “He has become much stronger. His swing has gotten even better over time. But he does a lot of things very well, and we knew that. He just had a chance to go out on the field and prove it this year.”

The increased power numbers take Crow-Armstrong’s offensive profile and overall value to another level. In 68 games between Low-A and High-A this year, 33 of his 89 hits (37%) were extra-base hits, including 13 home runs and eight triples.

Crow-Armstrong believes he has always been able to drive the ball for extra-base hits.

“I’ve been saying that since I was in high school,” he said. “It’s just a matter of proving that I can do it, and I think with a larger sample of games, it’s becoming more apparent that I have that in the tank.”

chicago tribune sports

chicago tribune sports

Week days

A daily sports newsletter delivered to your inbox for your morning commute.

The energy production is not the result of Crow-Armstrong trying to sell himself for energy. Rather, he attributes it to a cleaner swing and better decisions.

“I’m just looking to drive the ball and catch my barrels,” Crow-Armstrong said. “It may or may not come as a surprise to some people, but with the barrels I keep catching, I’m going to keep hitting some over the fence.”

Crow-Armstrong’s success comes predominantly against pitchers older than him. Only 22 of his 321 plate appearances this year have been against pitchers under the age of 20. That’s not on his radar when he steps into the batter’s box. But it highlights how the Cubs have challenged Crow-Armstrong and other young hitters in their system, like 20-year-old South Bend outfielder Owen Caissie, who hasn’t faced a pitcher younger than him this year.

“I want the best,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I want to continue to be challenged and I want to continue to show that I can meet these challenges head-on and come out successful and come out a little bit better.”

Crow-Armstrong’s production and offensive development shouldn’t overshadow his stellar defensive work in center field. He has a good arm and the quickness and instincts to potentially win a Gold Glove. He’s already made outstanding catches, and if Crow-Armstrong gets his way, it’s just the beginning.

“There’s a lot more to come,” Crow-Armstrong said. ”I would honestly say I haven’t even had that much opportunity to make a lot of those plays just because our pitching staff really hasn’t allowed hitters to get balls over our heads. If the play is going to happen, it’s going to happen.

“Our outfielders, our infielders, we’re always ready for that and we’re all more than capable of making SportsCenter play. You’ve seen it from a lot of guys, not just me.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.