Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Boom or Bust 2023 for Cubs Prospect Miguel Amaya?


As much as fans get excited about young prospects it is always important to remember that so much can change for the better or for worse in just a couple years. Heading into the 2021 season, catcher Miguel Amaya was ranked as one of the top-100 prospects in baseball, while being regarded as the top player in the Cubs farm system. It looked like Amaya was poised to climb up the minors and get his first cup of coffee in the majors by 2022, but after a month of action at Double-A in 2021, Amaya went down with an injury and his journey back has been bumpy ever since.

Amaya only played in 23 games during the 2021 season, when he first went on the injured list on June 5, and eventually the catcher was placed on the 60-day injured list in late July. Amaya did not return and during the offseason the Cubs announced that he needed Tommy John surgery. The good news was that Amaya was able to play in 2022, with the caveat that he wouldn’t be able to catch, as he was still recovering from the elbow surgery.

And hey, Amaya looked pretty good at the plate last season, getting back on the field in the Arizona League during the summer before he was assigned to Double-A. In 28 games with the Tennessee Smokies, Amaya slashed .278/.379/.485, with four home runs and a 12% walk rate in 116 plate appearances. But even his success last year came with a couple hiccups, as Amaya missed time because of a dislocated finger and then he wasn’t able to play in the Arizona Fall League because he suffered a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot in September.

Amaya will turn 24-years-old on March 9, and the good news according to Patrick Mooney is that Amaya will be back behind the plate after not catching since early June 2021.

Via The Athletic.

Miguel Amaya was scheduled to resume catching bullpen sessions this week in Arizona, a significant development for a prospect whose post-Tommy John surgery recovery process was delayed by a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot. Amaya is the third catcher on the 40-man roster behind Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart, but the Cubs can’t rely on him as the next man up until they see him back in action. The Cubs added catching depth with minor-league deals for Luis Torrens and Dom Nuñez.

The Cubs made sure that they didn’t have to rely on Amaya in case of emergency this offseason at catcher, as they signed Tucker Barnhart to share time with Yan Gomes, while adding Luis Torrens and Dom Nuñez as depth. These moves can now give the Cubs more time to continue focusing in on Amaya’s development in the minors, without feeling the pressure of needing him to be a contributor this year.

However, from Amaya’s perspective this is a huge year for him because if he can remain healthy, play good defense behind the plate and have consistent results on offense, then he’ll be knocking at the door to be on the Cubs roster next season.

The Cubs have a club option for Gomes in 2024, while Barnhart can opt-out of his two-year deal following 2023. So, Jed Hoyer could likely be trying to replace one if not two catchers on their MLB roster and the free agent market at the position next offseason doesn’t look good.

So yeah, let’s go Miguel Amaya! Please be good!


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