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2023 Cubs player profiles: Pete Crow-Armstrong

Pete Crow-Armstrong has arrived in the Majors and his glove has already shown up. His bat shouldn’t be far behind.

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Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Pete Crow-Armstrong arrived just the other day. It was clear that he is already a star. Is he going to be the Cubs’ next big star? His bat will have to decide that. A hot finish puts him in the center of playoff roster jenga.

I suspect he’ll be okay. Crow-Armstrong has that intense competitive quality, that purposeful affect, similar to that of teammate Nico Hoerner. He knows what he’s doing out there, is well-drilled by a succession of very good coaches and managers.

You don’t do what he has done in the Cubs minor-league system without having skills and a whole lot of moxie. I’ve watched a lot of his teams’ games this year.

Mind you, Crow-Armstrong has a history of slumping early as he figures things out, but once he does, they’re sussed thoroughly. He’s human. But he is the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect, and the No 12 prospect overall in MLB.

The 21-year-old outfielder is going to appear small next to some of his teammates. He’s listed as 5’11”, 184. He won’t be 22 until Spring Training 2024. But he’s big enough to club 20 home runs over his several stops this year, he has a great big smile, and darn it, people like him.

He has actor poise — his folks both are thespians. His mother, Ashley Crow, was famously one of the stars of ‘“Little Big League”, and his father, Matthew John Armstrong, has appeared in TV shows including “American Dreams,” “Heroes,” and “American Horror Story.”

Crow-Armstrong swatted two grand slams for the Iowa Cubs in his last week there, and has been a sparkplug everywhere he’s been. Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, one of the best in the biz, has been talking him up, and Birch does not blow smoke. He’s famously curmudgeonly, and his ‘X’ feed is highly recommended. He’s not the only one to extol the young man’s virtue...

“He worked like he sucked and played like he was great,” Ron Shabansky, coach of the USA Baseball 15-under team that Crow-Armstrong played on in 2017, said.

Crow-Armstrong regarded his trade to the Cubs as a wake-up call, reworking his diet and conditioning, got his mental outlook straight, and the results are there to be seen. He transformed himself from a banjo-hitting leadoff man into a consistent power threat, continued his excellent fielding, and has reaped the results with a least a cup of coffee next to his plate.

He may struggle some, but anyone who knows or knows of Pete Crow-Armstrong has every faith that he will succeed. He won’t let himself not.

Crow-Armstrong doesn’t have pronounced splits, so there’s no reason he can’t be the every-day leadoff man that the Cubs have been seeking since Dexter Fowler’s heyday. He’s going to move Mike Tauchman to fourth or fifth outfielder before very long.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing him patrol center field and bat leadoff with his linebacker number for years to come. An older friend of mine who saw the man play said Crow-Armstrong reminded him of Richie Ashburn. Ashburn didn’t have that kind of power, but I can see the same kind of intensity and flash, and they’re about the same size. For those of you who don’t know, Ashburn is a Hall of Famer, who played two years for the Cubs before retiring as a Met... but he was mostly a Phillie.

Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Photofile/MLB via Getty Images
Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

I could deal if he had half the career Ashburn did.