Sometimes, I look at Arizona Phil’s depth chart as a reminder of a few names I ought to do an article on. Chase Strumpf’s name wasn’t the first I saw, but he leaves about three really good angles to touch on. Since I wasn’t very quick at deciding, I’ll look at all three of them. Perhaps Strumpf isn’t the epicenter for any of the three, but all three ought to be mentioned more often than they are. And, it’s my article. Here is my look Strumpf.
Chase Strumpf, infield
Born March 8, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia
Cubs second-round pick in 2019 out of UCLA
Point 1: Numbers lie. Strumpf was rather good in his sophomore college season. His OPS tumbled over 200 points as a junior. If all that matters is numbers, you’d think he had suddenly turned from a good college player to a bad one. Upon reaching the Cubs as a pro in his fractional year, he missed time due to injury.
Maybe he was injured as a junior at UCLA.
Similarly, the ball doesn’t carry very well at the UCLA facility. In a facility where the ball doesn’t carry, sometimes numbers are less important than what doesn’t specifically show up in the numbers. At sea level on the UCLA campus, players who might have strength up the gaps at age 26, might not have fully developed such power, yet, at 21. Scouting is about assessing the future, as well as the present and obvious.
Point 2: Injuries suck. In 2020, Strumpf had suffered another injury, and might have missed some time, COVID or not. In 2021, he started slowly in Double-A. Around the beginning of August, Strumpf started to figure out Double-A pitching, but his season went kaput on August 24 with a COVID shutdown of Smokies activities. Strumpf might be in Double-A Tennessee or Triple-A Iowa when minor league festivities resume.
Will he remain healthy enough to do so? Are his numbers through July more indicative of who he is, or does his August hot streak more represent 2024 and beyond Strumpf? Why? I have no idea. I report what happened, and plan to in 2022, as well.
Point 3: Will Strumpf develop well enough to be worthy of a full-time MLB roster spot? There’s the important thing. Unless you’re willing to surrender something of huge importance to you if you’re wrong, either way, your opinion is of muted interest to me. We might as well admit we don’t know regarding specific players, and hope the the Cubs are “at or above” on player development practices on the pitching and hitting sides.
Player development for 2022 and beyond is about current practices. Not Cubs practices eight years ago, 18 years ago, or 80 years ago. Discern between information that matters and that doesn’t matter, and try to be supportive. Unless you have a specific reason not to. Here’s to a healthy 2022 for Strumpf, finally.