Cubs 2019 second-round draft choice Chase Strumpf had a very successful sophomore campaign at UCLA. His OPS was 1.108 while representing the PAC 12 Conference. Many collegians have their best season as a junior, just before leaving for pro ball. An OPS of close to 1.200 or higher wouldn't have been out of line for Strumpf. He slumped to .888. As a first full-year pro, Strumpf will Chase health in 2020.
The introduction for many Cubs supporters to Strumpf was his home run he clouted in the NCAA tournament as his name was being announced.
Just seconds after his name was called in the MLB draft, Chase Strumpf hits a 3-run homerun!! He had no idea his name was called while he was at the plate!— College Baseball Hub (@cbaseballhub) June 4, 2019
Strumpf was drafted in the 2nd round, 64th overall by the Cubs! pic.twitter.com/lrK7ofzp9X
College games, unlike minor league games which prioritize development, are about winning. While Strumpf sounds to have been less than 100 percent in his junior college campaign, he was better than his backup would have been. His homers slid from twelve to nine, his ISO (which measures extra-base hitting) from .270 to .193. Upon reaching pro ball, he missed time due to whatever maladies (presumably back trouble) in Eugene and South Bend. As the soon-to-be-champs were sealing a post-season berth with a game with a possibility of missing out, I noticed (recently traded) Clayton Daniel (a 31st-rounder from Jacksonville State in Alabama) was getting starts over Strumpf.
If Strumpf is healthy is 2020, the Carolina League should be his main course. Ian Happ was with Myrtle Beach in his first full pro season. Strumpf is a bat-first second baseman. The offensive numbers figure to accurately represent if he's equal to the league, or better than it. As he matriculates through the system, his glove development will need some refinement as well. While the foursome of Miguel Amaya, Nico Hoerner, Brennen Davis, and Brailyn Marquez can be shuffled in any conceivable order atop the rankings, Strumpf is a viable contender for the fifth spot.
I have a particular wish for Strumpf, in addition to him being healthy. I hope he's allowed to progress unimpeded by need. In far too many cases, Cubs prospects have been hurried from Double-A or Triple-A to Chicago, because "need." It would seem a better idea to move a player up when he's ready, regardless the next step. Short-circuiting player development seems a procedure that should be avoided. Like back injuries, if possible.
Strumpf did have some reasonable success as a professional in 2019.
I take Strumpf’s 2019 as a bad memory, and a way for the Cubs to pick up long-term quality on the cheap. As usual, the first and partial season is like the first inning of a baseball game. A game can be virtually lost in the first, but it’s really difficult to win one in the first. Whether Strumpf is the starter in Myrtle Beach or South Bend, he’ll have a chance to be healthy for the 2020 season and beyond. I’m backing his efforts.