Cubs Catching Prospect Miguel Amaya is Set to Play Tonight in Arizona for the First Time Since Tommy John Surgery

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Cubs Catching Prospect Miguel Amaya is Set to Play Tonight in Arizona for the First Time Since Tommy John Surgery

Chicago Cubs

When he went down last year with a forearm injury, you immediately had the fear that top Cubs catching prospect Miguel Amaya could wind up missing a lot of time. That sucked for its own reasons, but also because Amaya had just missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic. And then when that injury didn’t get better and wound up leading to Tommy John surgery in late November, the questions and concerns about Amaya’s future became significant.

Amaya had reached Double-A in 2021 and hit reasonable well there after doing the same at High-A in 2019, but the pandemic and the injury mean he’s played just 23 games since 2019.

If the surgery meant he was also going to miss a great deal of 2022, you would really worry about the lack of development for a player who was otherwise expected to be an important part of the organization’s future. No matter what happened in 2022, you could no longer count on Amaya to be a part of the big league team in 2023, despite the fact that Willson Contreras was probably going to have departed by then, and the fact that Amaya was already on the 40-man roster. That said, you’d love to have him at least be in a position to be a part-time option for the Cubs in 2023, and that was going to require him getting back on the field for a decent chunk of this season.

Anyway, that is all my long preamble way of saying (1) Amaya could still be very important to this organization, and (2) him playing at least some in 2022 figures to be critical for his development.

So this news makes me very happy:

Amaya, now 23, probably won’t be able to play catcher until next season. But you worry a little less about his skills eroding behind the plate, since he can at least work on every aspect of the job besides throwing in-game. What he needs more than anything right now is live, in-game at bats.

The Arizona Complex League is just a start for Amaya as he gears up for whatever his real assignment will be. It seems pretty likely that he would head back to Double-A when he’s ready, given his age and his lack of playing time there last year. The Cubs will have to get creative to sort out the playing time, because you’re going to want as many at bats as possible for Amaya, but they’ve also got bat-only first basemen Matt Mervis and Bryce Ball at Tennessee right now. Get there when you get there, though, as it’s also possible Amaya will work his way up level by level for a little while as he gets back into game action.

For today, I’m just really happy to know Miguel Amaya is healthy enough to get at bats. He is a superlative contact guy, with excellent plate discipline. What he’s not yet been able to do is translate his raw power (which is slightly above average) into game power, partly due to the need to keep working on selectivity. I’m just so excited he’s getting back into action. I always loved the upside in Amaya’s bat, especially as a catcher.

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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.