Leading up to their top-100 prospects list, MLB writers have been ranking the top prospects at each position heading into the 2023 season and it is officially time to jump on the Pete Crow-Armstrong hype train.
Some background first, in baseball, players’ skills are rated on a 20-80 grade scale. So, basically players tools’ are viewed as the following: 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
That brings us to 20-year-old prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, who has ascended to the top of the Cubs minor league system after his impressive 2022 season. He has passed fellow outfielder Brennen Davis as the organization’s No. 1 prospect this year in the eyes of national prospect writers and PCA’s defense in center field is as good as it gets. Crow-Armstrong’s defense received the highest grade in this year’s top outfield prospects ranking for MLB Pipeline, getting the rare 80 grade.
Field: Crow-Armstrong (80)
Scouts give top-of-the-scale grades to Crow-Armstrong for his center-field skills. He covers a tremendous amount of ground with his combination of plus speed and precise reads and routes, and his solid arm strength also rates better than most players at his position.
Over at Cubs Insider, Evan Altman looked back at prospects from 2022, and none of them had their defense rated at an 80, while less than 10 got to a 70 grade.
Pete Crow-Armstrong 2023 Pre-Season Top-100 Prospect Ranking
Baseball America – 25th
Baseball Prospectus – 28th
MLB Pipeline – 28th
Here are the top-10 outfield prospects according to MLB Pipeline.
1. Corbin Carroll, D-backs (2023)
2. Jordan Walker, Cardinals (2023)
3. Jackson Chourio, Brewers (2024)
4. Druw Jones, D-backs (2026)
5. James Wood, Nationals (2025)
6. Zac Veen, Rockies (2024)
7. Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs (2024)
8. Sal Frelick, Brewers (2023)
9. Robert Hassell III, Nationals (2024)
10. Colton Cowser, Orioles (2023)
Crow-Armstrong was picked in the first round of the 2020 draft by the New York Mets, selected 19th overall out of high school. He didn’t play in 2020 as the minor league season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then in 2021, PCA only played in six games before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. The Cubs traded shortstop Javier Báez and right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams on July 30, 2021, for Crow-Armstrong and in his first full year in the Cubs’ organization his reputation on defense only got better throughout the season.
This is an incredible thread, detailing some of PCA’s best plays in center field during the 2022 season.
Simply amazing combo of athleticism and skill.
PCA won a minor league gold glove and was also named to the 2022 All-Stars Futures Game.
And guess what, he was pretty good at the plate too. In 101 games last year PCA slashed .312/.376/.520, with 16 home runs and 32 stolen bases playing at A-Ball. He’ll begin the 2023 season at Double-A with the Tennessee Smokies. If his rise continues, then there’s no doubt that the Cubs will pencil him into their starting lineup as the team’s center fielder for Opening Day in 2024.
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