Cubs fans are anxious to see top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong in action, but could there be a chance he could arrive for a September playoff push?
Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins told 670 The Score's Spiegel and Parkins Show that the young prospect does indeed have a chance of making his MLB debut this season.
“Certainly at this pace, he’s in the conversation,” Hawkins said.
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Crow-Armstrong, 21, was acquired by the Cubs in the 2021 trade that sent Javier Báez to the New York Mets, and has rapidly become one of the top prospects in all of baseball. MLB.com has him ranked as their No. 12 prospect in baseball, and at the beginning of August, he was promoted to Triple-A Iowa by the Cubs.
In 10 games since his promotion, Crow-Armstong is hitting .275 with a .983 OPS. The youngster already has 11 hits and three home runs with Iowa.
Hawkins isn't surprised by Crow-Armstrong's lightning-fast movement through the minor leagues since he was acquired. He's well aware of the outfielder's capabilities and knows he's on a fast track to making a big-league debut thanks to his five-tool potential and Gold Glove-caliber defensive skill.
Whether his role, at first, is as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner, he's on his way.
"Not surprised by any means," Hawkins said. "I’m definitely encouraged by the adjustments that he’s been able to make. You see his plate discipline continue to get better and better. He’s really driving pitches that he can hit and being aggressive in the zone and unaggressive out of the zone.
"The defense has remained, and the baserunning has a chance to be special. Just learning when to make aggressive decisions and not always being on the go is something that he’ll have to kind of tamper down over the course of the rest of his career. But the long and short of it is we’re really encouraged by the year he’s had thus far, and definitely the sky is the limit," he added.
The question would be one of deployment and playing time, as the team is being careful with their outfield deployment. Mike Tauchman has been a strong lead-off option in the order, and has seen time in both center and right field, depending on whether Cody Bellinger is in center field or at first base on a given night.
Seiya Suzuki is still trying to work his way out of a prolonged slump, and the Cubs still need to find Christopher Morel playing time as well.
All of those factors could impact Crow-Armstrong's usage, but the Cubs say they're keeping an eye out for potential ways to utilize his talents at the plate and on defense.
For now, they don't have to make that decision. But come September, MLB rosters open up from 26 to 28 roster spots, giving teams increased roster flexibility.
"Pete obviously is a great defender, a good baserunner, is swinging the bat really, really well," Hawkins said. "But there’s a lot of guys down there at Triple-A that can help this club out too. So we’ll make that decision come September."