More on the Cubs Mastrobuoni Trade: Power Spike, Scouting Reports, Pitcher Lost, Projections, More

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More on the Cubs Mastrobuoni Trade: Power Spike, Scouting Reports, Pitcher Lost, Projections, More

Chicago Cubs

We’ll have to dig in much more on this in the weeks ahead – I love new players! – but I had a whole bunch of things to I wanted to touch on today after the Cubs acquired utility man Miles Mastrobuoni from the Rays yesterday …

  • One of the first things I wanted to look at was Mastrobuoni’s huge power breakout in 2022 (16 homers after hitting just 5 the year before). A video of one of his 2021 homers as compared to one of his 2022 homers shows me a guy who increased his weight transfer a tonnnnnn:
  • I am #NotAScout, but that looks pretty plain to me. What’s compelling is that he upped the weight transfer for more power, but his strikeout rate improved dramatically at Triple-A (just 16.6% after being 25.9% the year before). I will be very interested to see more discussion about what exactly changed for him, and why the Rays weren’t necessarily buying the power boom themselves.
  • From Baseball America in late August: “Mastrobuoni impressed in 2021 with his defensive versatility and his ability to string together quality at-bats. This year, he’s started to add some power to further round out his game. Mastrobuoni homered twice yesterday, which was his first two homer game of his pro career. He now has 12 home runs this year for Triple-A Durham, which is seven more than his previous career high. A year ago, Mastrobuoni looked like a savvy Rule 5 pick in the Rule 5 draft that never occurred. At this point, he seems a clear roster addition candidate after hitting .292/.366/.447 while playing six positions.”
  • BA also had Mastrobuoni all the way up to number 20 in a very deep Rays system in their midseason rankings update: “The Rays seem to specialize in acquiring and developing versatile infielders who find a way to get to the majors with somewhat modest tools. Mastrobuoni seems to be the next in line. He’s started at six different positions this year for Triple-A Durham (seven if you count DH), as first base and catcher are pretty much the only positions he can’t handle. He’s limited in his range, but he has reliable hands and a solid understanding of what to do wherever he plays. At the plate, he’s a contact hitter who doesn’t chase out of the zone and doesn’t miss if he gets a fastball in it. It’s more of a line-drive swing than one geared for power, but he projects as an average hitter with 5-10 home run power. Mastrobuoni will likely never be an MLB starter, but it’s also likely he’ll find a way to an MLB role.”
  • The Cubs had to give up a legit pitching prospect in Alfredo Zarraga to get Mastrobuoni, even though he was a roster squeeze, but I’m thinking I can see what the Cubs like here. Plays all over the field, lefty bat, good speed, and *might* have taken a developmental step forward this past year, without getting a real chance to show it in the big leagues. And he’s got minor league options remaining.
  • Speaking of the trade return, which was not insubstantial, I didn’t realize this about Zarraga:
  • Not sure what happened, or if there is any future impact there – a hand fracture can mean so many things – but I wonder if it was a mild factor in the Cubs being willing to part with a guy who was otherwise a huge breakout contender this coming season.
  • Steamer projects Mastrobuoni him for a .262/.330/.384/103 wRC+ slash in the big leagues this year, which would be perfectly solid from a bench guy who can play all over and runs the bases well. The Cubs need to add impact players, without question. But they could also use guys like that.
  • Last thing for fun? If you’re a prospect nerd and the name sounded familiar, yes, a little googling does suggest that Miles is the younger brother of former Cubs catching prospect Marcus Mastrobuoni.

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.