Cubs Prospect Focus: Pete Crow-Armstrong
PCA signing autographs for fans (Kassie Hager file photo)

Cubs Prospect Focus: Pete Crow-Armstrong


by - Senior Writer -

When you trade Javier Baez for any type of a prospect, you better be the real deal in return. When it comes to the Cubs top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, he appears to be the real deal. The 2020 first-round pick of the New York Mets has not only emerged as the Cubs top prospect, but he is a top 40 prospect in all of Major League Baseball.

That is saying something when he barely has a year of professional experience under his belt. Part of a Harvard-Westlake (Studio City, Calif.) program that has produced seven big leaguers -- including Jack Flaherty, Max Fried, and Lucas Giolito -- Crow-Armstrong ranked as the best high school prospect in the 2020 class. He came from a prep program known for producing high-level baseball players and could be another one on that list.

Crow-Armstrong was once seen as a top-10 overall pick and eventually fell to No. 19 when the Mets took him. Even at that, New York still gave him roughly 3.5 million dollars as they believed in his potential. Excited to see what he could do, Mets fans had to wait a year before seeing Crow-Armstrong, as COVID wouldn't allow a season in 2020.

Then came the 2021 season, where Crow-Armstrong was off to a blazing start, hitting .417 across six games. He added seven walks to just six strikeouts, but that was it, as his season ended with a torn labrum. Although he would miss the remainder of the season, the Cubs wanted to get a player of his quality if they would part with Baez and made the deal with New York. Trevor Williams was also included in that deal, but Baez was the main product.

Knowing they wouldn't see Crow-Armstrong until 2022, it was one of the more anticipated debuts in the minors last season, and he certainly didn't disappoint. Sure, he did miss some time with another nagging injury, but he still played in 109 games between Myrtle Beach and South Bend. During that time, he proved his worth and showed why he is as highly touted as he is.

Armstrong combined to hit .312 this past season with 16 homers, 20 doubles, 10 triples, and 61 RBIs. Armstrong also added 32 stolen bases as he proved he has the potential to be a five-tool player at the next level. Not only has Armstrong shown a quick approach at the plate, but his short stroke allows him to get to most pitches, and he uses all fields consistently with line drive power.

He could fit near the top of an order with his hitting ability and on-base skills, plus his speed and baserunning skills. That is something the Cubs lineup has been missing since Dexter Fowler left. If Armstrong can be the table-setter the Cubs expect him to be, they are looking at a true star in the making.

Given what he showed last season, most scouts feel he will hit for more average than power, which is not bad. However, he did display more power than expected last season, which has some scouts believing he could hit upwards of 20 plus homers sooner rather than later. If you want to compare him to a player in the league nowadays, you could look at a Christian Yelich type of player when he was with the Marlins.

Yelich was a consistent .290 hitter with Miami, averaging 23 homers and 21 steals. If that is what Armstrong brings to the table, then he is a guy the Cubs could use not only in the short term, but also in the long term. Armstrong's offense will be more of a developmental process, but his defense is already gold-glove caliber and will only get better.

He was the top outfield defender in the 2020 Draft and is a no-doubt center fielder with Gold Glove potential. He covers tremendous ground with his quickness and instincts and possesses solid arm strength. That is a lost art in today's game, and it will be fun watching him run balls down at Wrigley Field.

With this being his first official spring training with the Cubs, the organization is getting an up close and personal look at what he can do. He may not make the MLB club this season but the experience and knowledge he will get in spring will go a long way to developing into a great player. Armstrong is already emerging as the franchise's new face, and before long, he will be.

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