Cubs' Crow-Armstrong on fast track to big leagues?


Pete Crow-Armstrong launched home runs in back-to-back days with High-A South Bend over the weekend.

Could we see him launching balls out of Wrigley Field in the not-so-distant future, perhaps as soon as late in the 2023 season?

“We don't put limits on any of our guys,” Cubs VP of player development Jared Banner said. "We're not going to rush things either.

“Ultimately, his performance is going to tell us what he's ready for,” Banner added. “So far, he's done a great job, and we've been somewhat aggressive with him. We'll see how it goes.”

Crow-Armstrong has been on a fast track developmentally in 2022, after two lost seasons to start his professional career.

The Mets drafted him 19th overall out of high school in 2020, when the minor-league season was canceled due to COVID-19.

He played six games in 2021 before undergoing season-ending right shoulder surgery.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a breakout campaign this season that has seen him earn a promotion to High-A and play in the MLB All-Star Futures Game alongside some of the game’s other top prospects.

Baseball America now ranks him the Cubs' No. 1 prospect.

“Really impressive season,” Banner said. “Seeing him out on a major league field (at the Futures Game), obviously it's something to dream on for us.”

Crow-Armstrong got off to a slow start with South Bend after being promoted there in late May. A hand injury then sidelined him for two weeks.

In 19 games since then, he’s batting .291/.326/.581 with 13 extra-base hits, including four homers.

“We knew he had some power, but maybe not quite this much,” Banner said. “He's gotten a lot stronger, his swing has gotten even better over time. 

“But he does a lot of things really well, and we knew that. He's just gotten a chance to go out on the field and show that this year. We're excited.”

The 2024 season likely is more realistic for when Crow-Armstrong will make his MLB debut. He has less than a full season’s worst of professional plate appearances under his belt and hasn’t reached Double-A — yet.

The pitching will get tougher as Crow-Armstrong climbs the farm system ranks, and he'll have to adjust back as teams learn more what his weaknesses are.

But as Banner said, the Cubs will let Crow-Armstrong's performance do the talking.

So far, so good.

"Just being able to make the right decisions at the plate," Banner said. "When he's making good decisions, he's special."

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