Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer will impact the Cubs’ big league roster immediately, but Pete Crow-Armstrong has as much potential as any player the Cubs acquired at the deadline.
DENVER — The Cubs have picked a new lane and with their decision to have a massive fire sale at the trade deadline, they’ve added to both their farm system and
President Jed Hoyer admitted there was no reason to go halfway after the team’s season spiraled to the point of no return and the team’s moves show that.
The Cubs traded Kris Bryant (Giants), Javy Baez and Trevor Williams (Mets), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees), Joc Pederson (Braves), Andrew Chafin (Athletics), Jake Marisnick (Padres), Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera (White Sox) and received 12 players in return.
No one knows if the players who the Cubs acquired will ever make it to the big leagues or impact their next postseason contender, but there are a few names that stand out.
Here’s a look at some of three intriguing names from the Cubs’ return at the trade deadline.
CF Pete Crow-Armstrong
Pete Crow-Armstrong was one of the most coveted prep bats in the 2020 MLB Draft. Despite the draft being shortened to five rounds due to the pandemic, the toolsy Crow-Armstrong remained a highly sought after player, leading the Mets to draft him as the 19th overall pick in the first round.
He was off to a fast start to his professional career in 2021, slashing .417/.563/.500 in six games for Single-A St. Lucie before he suffered a GLAD (glenoid labral articular disruption) lesion in his non-throwing shoulder, requiring season-ending surgery.
“He’s a plus center fielder and a very good bet to stick in center field,” an NL talent evaluator told the Sun-Times. “Instincts and jumps stand out more than the arm. Scouts are split on whether power comes, but he should have enough OBP to keep the overall offensive profile above water.”
Obviously, not having two seasons of development (COVID-19 and shoulder surgery) is less than ideal. Still just 19 years old, there’s no rush for Crow-Armstrong to be in Chicago anytime soon. But there’s no doubt the Cubs are hoping the toolsy outfielder bounces back sooner rather than later and his potential starts to show.
2B Nick Madrigal
Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer, who were the return for Kimbrel from the White Sox, are the two players that will impact the Cubs major-league roster immediately. Madrigal has been one of baseball’s best prospects for the last several seasons and after getting his first taste in the big leagues during last year’s shortened 60-game season, he began showing what he could really do in 2021.
Madrigal was slashing .305/.349/.425 with 10 doubles, four triples and two home runs in 54 games before undergoing surgery in June to repair proximal tendon tears in his right hamstring.
“To get a player like Nick Madrigal, he just really fits what we’re trying to do going forward really well,” president Jed Hoyer said. “ I love how he plays the game. I’ve loved how he played the game t since college and I was envious of the White Sox to get a player like that that fits so well with their boppers in the in the middle of the lineup.”
The 24-year-old second baseman has been touted as an elite defender, but has struggled at times during his brief time in the big leagues and his baserunning decision making has also left a lot to be desired.
RHP Codi Heuer
The Cubs see Heuer as one of their high-leverage arms of the future and have already gotten to see him in action. Heuer threw two scoreless innings in relief in Washington over the weekend.
The right-hander has elite stuff from the right side featuring an upper 90s fastball with a wipeout slider. With the Cubs losing Kimbrel, Chafin and Tepera at the deadline, the young right-hander will get every opportunity in the backend of the Cubs’ pen.
“There’s gonna be a lot of high-leverage situations just like I’ve been doing in the past,” Heuer said. “I think the bullpen is gonna find a lot of their roles. So we’re gonna see how that goes here in the upcoming games.”
Heuer had struggled in 2021 with a 5.12 ERA in 40 appearances with the White Sox. The Cubs feel they have some small adjustments to get him back on track. Don’t be surprised if he’s closing games on the North Side by the end of this season.
“I feel like he’s probably our most dominant right-handed pitcher down there vs. righties,” manager David Ross said. “If we can slot him into the right spot at the back end, I don’t see why it’s not the ninth. But I’m not going to save him for just the closer role.”