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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Pete Crow-Armstrong

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He’ll play 2022 at age 20, coming back from an injury that cost him most of the 2021 season.

Pete Crow-Armstrong in the Under Armour All-American Game at Wrigley Field in 2019
Photo by Stephen Green/MLB Photos via Getty Images

I tend to not like prioritizing prep hitters. Prep hitters, regardless the hype, haven’t likely batted much against juniors or seniors in Power Four college conferences. If they had, they’d be college hitters. As such, I actively ignored Pete Crow-Armstrong, running up to the 2020 Draft. I was, however, interested in Ed Howard, as his glove was considered legitimate. Whether Howard figures out pro hitting or not, Armstrong hit well in a brief cameo in what used to be the High-A Florida State League before dropping a level of classification. Here is my look at Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Pete Crow-Armstrong, center fielder

Born March 25, 2002. Sherman Oaks, California
2020 1st Round Pick, 19th overall (Mets), Harvard-Westlake High School, Los Angeles, California
Acquired in the Javier Baez/Trevor Williams trade.

His parents are both actors. Whether that is logically a useful thing or not, he probably has a few sympathetic ears when it comes to stage fright. He can probably locate a mental skills coach with no affiliation to baseball rather easily. Also, his alumni baseball squad from his high school alma mater might be better than yours. I didn’t know he was a Cubs fan until I read this article.

His injury in 2021 was one that, the more reading I did, the more confused I became. If an athlete suffers a similar injury in the future, it would likely be a case of “Isn’t that PCA’s injury?” And, then, we will have one test case. The Twitters have shown me him hitting in a cage and playing catch with Nick Madrigal, and he looks competent.

The bulk of the rest of this article discusses minor league spring training. Most of us are familiar with how big league camp proceeds. The players get in shape, unless they were already in “the best shape of their lives.” They build up to batting practice, live pitching, game action, four innings of action, then a dinner somewhere in the Phoenix area and ready for Opening Day. With minor league players, it’s much more about sorting. Instead of 70 or so guys fighting for 26 or so spots, it figures to be 180 or so players fighting for an assignment to a full-season squad.

Players aren’t necessarily give a free ride to an assignment. For instance, Crow-Armstrong might end up in Low-A Myrtle Beach. Or he might end up in Advanced-A South Bend. It really depends on how he does. If Kevin Alcantara outplays Crow-Armstrong, Alcantara gets the higher assignment. It isn’t about batting average or OPS over fourteen spring games. It’s about which guy is the better player after an offseason of, hopefully, getting better. As easy as it is to point to this marker or that from the 2020 season, the guys that play like they belong in Triple-A will go to Iowa, the Double-A guys to Tennessee, and so forth. Guys not making the full-season squads go to Mesa, Boca Chica, or elsewhere.

Crow-Armstrong’s future is on how well he rehabs, how well he does in Mesa, and if he backs it up, wherever he gets assigned. In the Cubs system, he doesn’t “have to” do anything. His task is to improve, move up the ladder, and (hopefully) reach the top level before his Rule 5 Draft-eligibility in December 2024. His defense plays in center. He hit in Low-A Ball. It’s now about patience, and letting him learn the new things at each new level. Whichever level that is in 2022, he’ll have things to develop through.