I love when a player gets to announce his own signing – there’s a joy there that you don’t always get to see when the news is reported in other ways.
To that end, the Cubs have signed another young pitcher who worked his way back to earn another shot in affiliated baseball:
— Alex Katz (@kittyelgato12) April 30, 2021
Katz is also set to be a member of the Israel pitching staff in the Olympics this summer with Cubs staff member Josh Zeid.
That squad has a training camp in May and the summer games in July, so it’s possible Katz is more of a 2022 play for the Cubs farm system. We’ll see.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) April 30, 2021
Not unlike Ben Holmes – who has been so impressive since his signing that he was starting the Cubs’ last alternate site Triple-A game and looking might good in the process – Katz is a former pitching prospect who was out of affiliated ball for the last couple years. A White Sox draftee in 2015, Katz worked his way up to High-A, and in 2017 was traded to the Orioles for international bonus pool slots. Unfortunately he stalled out there at High-A as a reliever in the Orioles organization, and then worked in independent ball for 2019. He was signed to a minor league deal by the Royals last year, but it’s always hard to know what the 2020 year looked like for minor league free agent signings.
So, as Bryan notes, Katz put in the work at the facility level, got himself noticed, and now he’s in the Cubs organization. At 26, Katz is still young enough that you can plan to put in some development time, and he’s got that really interesting combination of a high-velocity, low-spin fastball. It’s rare, but that’s what makes it potentially a unique issue for hitters.