This series of Cubs prospect profiles is based on Fangraphs’ top 52 prospects list, minus the players who have already been profiled. Generally, these will be of Triple-A and Double-A players that might see the 40-man roster at some point. I’m not necessarily doing them in order and will skip around a bit.
That about sums it up. Let’s go home.
But wait! There’s more!
Moises Alejandro Ballesteros is a Venezuelan native, a whopping 19 years old, and Fangraphs gives him a 2026 arrival. He might be a year faster than that, depending on his performance in 2024, and the performance of the two current major-league catchers, eventual starter Miguel Amaya and greybeard Yan Gomes, who is probably on the coaching and managing career path, if my player-foo still operates.
Ballesteros will turn 20 this Wednesday. He slashed .285/.374/.449 over three teams in the minor leagues in 2023, with 14 homers, good for an .823 OPS. He carries a career .988 fielding rate, and his framing and defense have drawn rave reviews. He signed in 2021 as an International Free Agent.
He’s a ‘little’ guy, listed at 5’7” (5’10” according to some) and 210 pounds. I suspect he’s going to have to work to keep the weight off with that kind of frame, but if he does, he’s going to be a powerful batter. He doesn’t strike out or walk an awful lot — 73 SO and 63 BB in 494 AB in 2023, but he isn’t going to flatline there, either. Plus he’s a southpaw at the plate. His body type screams Schwarber but I don’t know about THAT kind of power.
There’s a lot to like, but it’s going to take time. He’ll be around in Spring Training and I could see the 2023 Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year moving up to Iowa, where he’d pair with whatever veteran (P.J. HIggins?) the Cubs stick in the break-glass spot, and learn about diet and conditioning on the top pro level, and hone his considerable skills with some experienced tutelage. This even though he didn’t arrive in Tennessee until September — but that level of play wasn’t beyond him at all.
Here he is announcing his presence in South Bend:
Cubs HQ had a nice writeup on him pre-season. They said he had moved ahead of Amaya, which isn’t true at this time. But maybe, in time. Amaya’s a good player who won’t embarrass you, and he does have potential to have a Willson Contreras-style bat and supply that good defense, but Ballesteros would seem to have the higher ceiling.
This is BCB, you know. We will await developments. Thanks for reading.