Cubs Have Been "Taken Aback" By How Good Pete Crow-Armstrong Has Looked

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Cubs Have Been “Taken Aback” By How Good Pete Crow-Armstrong Has Looked

Chicago Cubs

We knew that Pete Crow-Armstrong was previously a first round talent when the Chicago Cubs acquired him last summer in the Javy Báez trade, but that was pretty much all we could know for certain. Drafted during the pandemic season, thus limiting his amateur time, and then injured just six games into his pro debut in 2021, there really wasn’t much to know about what PCA could be for the Cubs in 2022.

The offseason scouting reports and inside scoops reflected that. You would see talk about how he was crushing his rehab and revamping his swing, but you would also see talk about how the swing wasn’t quite taking yet. Until he actually got out there and played, you could make an argument that he was the second best prospect in the system (some did!) or that he was barely in the top ten (some did!).

Well, we’ve got a little game action to look at now, and so far, the results have been ridiculous. The 20-year-old lefty is hitting a silly .370/.485/.574 (194 wRC+) at Myrtle Beach, with a home park notorious for suppressing offense. The .409 BABIP is probably flukey high, but maybe not crazily so when you consider his plus speed, how hard he’s hitting the ball, and the Low-A defenses against which he’s playing. What’s bonkers, though, is that he’s currently got an ISO above .200, while walking (13.6%) more than striking out (12.1%). It’s obviously still so early (66 PAs), but I feel like every time I check in on him, I kinda can’t believe what the results and the peripherals are suggesting.

It sounds like I’m not alone in not quite knowing how to process how good PCA has been.

From the latest at The Athletic, rounding up prospect bits, and dropping this beauty on Crow-Armstrong:

It’s just (14) games, but because it comes with real mechanical adjustments, the profile on Crow-Armstrong is already beginning to shift. He’s hitting the ball harder than ever before with exit velocities reaching 107 mph, something that just wasn’t a part of his game before. It’s to the point where the Cubs development staff is even a little taken aback by how good he’s looked, wondering if they’ve underestimated how good he can be ….

Crow-Armstong’s work ethic also stands out, as shown by his willingness to put in the work on changes this past offseason and then dive into those issues just a couple of games into the season. He’s already demonstrated elite defensive capabilities in center field and impressive speed on the basepaths. He’s stolen seven bases in eight attempts, but there’s room to grow there as he’s learning when to take chances and when to pull back rather than being reckless in the wrong game situation. Those aspects come with time, but with the combination of impressive talent and the right mentality, Crow-Armstrong is emerging as one of the most exciting talents in the Cubs system. He has a chance to be the long-term center-field solution for an organization that’s been searching for one since Dexter Fowler left six years ago.

Even the Cubs’ development staff doesn’t quite know what to make of how good PCA has looked. I love hearing that.

It won’t be any time soon I wouldn’t think, but you do wonder if at some point the Cubs will consider bumping him to High-A South Bend to see if there’s more of a challenge there for you. You would first want to wait to see if natural struggles emerge at Low-A over the next month or so. If that doesn’t happen, and if others up the ladder are ready for the promotion train, you might see a series of moves that land PCA in South Bend for the second half of the season. Given the pandemic and the surgery, that’d be a pretty impressive first full pro season for a high school draft pick.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.