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Monday, March 27, 2023

Pete Crowe-Armstrong continues to show why he is among baseball’s best prospects. ‘I want to keep challenging,’ says Chicago Cubs outfielder.

About a year ago, Pete Crowe-Armstrong’s injury-shortened debut season took another turn.

Crowe-Armstrong, the New York Mets’ first-round pick in 2020, was injured six games into the schedule and had season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Those games would stand as his only action in the Mets organization.

He was then traded to the Chicago Cubs for shortstop Javier Baez and right-hander Trevor Williams. With that anniversary just days away, Cro-Armstrong admits that it seems as though more time has passed. When he looks at the talent with which he has played this season, Chance can’t help.

“That’s one thing I love about the place where the Cubs are right now,” Crowe-Armstrong told the Tribune over the phone this week. “I think a lot of people are worried about what’s happening in the big leagues and the fans are stressing out and stuff, but from top to bottom, the Cubs are in a really good place. We have a lower level There are a lot of people in the US who are working and we are doing our best to get there.

“At the end of the day, all of our goals are to be able to impress the club in the big leagues, and what we’re doing here is getting ready to do that.”

With the way Cro-Armstrong continues to make an upward move in his development, the 2021 trade could finally be a steal for the Cubs. Four of the Cubs’ top-10 prospects are currently at Low-A Myrtle Beach or High-A South Bend, while two others — left-handers Jordan Wicks and DJ Herz — were recently promoted to Double-A Tennessee. was.

Crowe-Armstrong has quickly become a top-100 prospect in baseball, being ranked number 33 by Baseball American and number 77 by MLB.com. And among the Cubs’ prospects, Crowe-Armstrong is their top-ranked player in Baseball America’s midseason update, taking him ahead of outfielder Brennan Davis.

Jared Banner, vice president of player development, said of Crowe-Armstrong’s big league timeline, “We don’t put limits on any of our boys, we’re not going to rush things either.” “Ultimately his performance will tell us what he’s up for. So far, he’s done a great job, and we’ve been somewhat aggressive with him.”

Crowe-Armstrong’s first full professional season saw him represent the Cubs at a futures game.

Playing in the July 16 showcase made extra sense for Crowe-Armstrong, who grew up about 20 miles from Dodger Stadium and had a lot of friends and family at the game. He described it as a very special, surreal experience.

“Just to remind people that the Cubs’ chances are here and there could be a whole number of people selected for this game, I feel so lucky that it was me,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “I look forward to seeing anyone do the same next year.”

Crowe-Armstrong doubled and scored a run for the National League team. At one point, he was micked while he was working center field in the sixth inning.

“The micked up part was a little nerve-wracking,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “It was new, but it was fun. I felt like I did everything right. I felt like an FBI agent with the earpiece on.”

He was sidelined for two weeks in mid-June with a bone injury stemming from jamming his wrist and hand into second base on the first slide of the foot. He has been otherwise healthy, and it is showing in his aggressive output.

“I don’t think the game changes as much as you go up,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “It’s just more strikes and the guys have better command on all their pitches. So it’s still about staying true to my approach and getting the good batsmen to come. I think once I started doing a little more of that, the numbers began to speak for themselves. ,

Cro-Armstrong faced an adjustment period after promotion from Myrtle Beach to South Bend on 30 May. He went from hitting .220/.230/.458 and .687 ops in June to 14 games with South Bend in July to produce .274/.312/.562 line and .873 ops through 16 games. Went for

“When you go up a level, you’re not deprived of good pitches to hit, it’s about being selective enough to get them,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “Being an aggressive hitter, it’s being able to find a balance of aggression and selectivity. And with that comes quality at-bat and better swing decisions.

“It was definitely something that I could have grouped into the first month of a bit of a struggle, but this season has been a learning curve for me. It’s a whole process and I believe in it.”

Crowe-Armstrong also credits the Cubs for providing them with a lot of data and analytics to help them when they need it.

“There’s not a lot of information you’re looking for because they provided the tools and information you need to meet any challenge,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “That’s another thing I’m learning – you can’t do it yourself.”

Crowe-Armstrong’s performance through 68 games across two levels hasn’t surprised the Cubs. Banner said that, if anything, the organization is even more excited.

“We knew he had some power, but maybe not that much,” Banner said. “He’s got a lot stronger. His swing got even better over time. But he does a lot of things really well, and we knew him. He just got the chance to go out on the field and show it this year. Got a chance.”

The increased power numbers move the left-handed attacking profile of Cro-Armstrong’s offensive profile and value around to another level. In 68 games between Low A and High A this year, 33 of his 89 hits (37%) have gone for extra bases, including 13 home runs and eight triples.

Crowe-Armstrong believes he has always been able to steer the ball for extra-base hits.

“I’ve been saying that since I was in high school,” he said. “It’s just a matter of showing that I can do it, and with the larger sample size of games it’s becoming more apparent that I have in the tank.”

Electricity generation is not the result of Cro-Armstrong’s attempt to sell it for power. Instead, he attributes it to clean swing and better decisions.

“I’m just looking to run the ball and catch my barrel,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “It may or may not come as a surprise to some, but with the barrels I keep holding, I’ll keep hitting some over the fence.”

Crowe-Armstrong’s success has mainly come from his own versus the older pitcher. Of his 321 plates this year, only 22 have been against a pitcher under the age of 20. He is not on his radar when he steps into the batsman’s box. But it does highlight how the Cubs have challenged Crowe-Armstrong and other young hitters in their system, such as fellow 20-year-old South Bend outfielder Owen Cassie, who hasn’t faced a pitcher younger than him this year.

“I want the best,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “I want to keep challenging and I want to show that I can take on these challenges and come out successful and be a little bit better at it.”

Cro-Armstrong’s offensive production and development shouldn’t overshadow his stellar defensive work in center field. He has a good hand and the quickness and instinct to potentially win a Gold Glove. He’s made highlight-reel catches, and if Crowe-Armstrong has his way, it’s only the beginning.

“There’s a lot more to come,” Crowe-Armstrong said. “I will honestly say that I haven’t even had that much opportunity to make all those plays, because our pitching staff doesn’t really allow hitters to put balls over our heads. If the play is going to happen, it’s going to be made. Used to be.

“Our outfielders, our fielders, we’re always up for it and we’ve all been able to play at Sports Center. You’ve seen it from a lot of people, not just yourself.”


World Nation News Desk
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