First primary prospect Matt Murvis, 24, has had good enough success in Triple-A Iowa and you might really want to see him start his move to the major leagues as soon as possible. Counterpart to that, among other things, is that Mirvis is now only in his first full professional season (there was no minor league season in his 2020 draft, and the 2021 season was limited to just 72 games). And with only 38 Triple-A games under his belt, it’s unbelievable that he’d want to exercise caution before being pushed to take on the league’s top bowlers.
It’s not everyone’s development plan to have a few weeks of big league matches at the end of the year, especially when this player doesn’t even have 800 professional games yet. (Dang, Mervis’ rise was fast!)
All that said, I think it was fair to assume – and we have – that the main reason Mervis didn’t call the major leagues this year is that, as a player not yet eligible to participate in the Rule 5 draft, the Cubs don’t. You have To protect Murphys on the 40-man list so far. So if they call him now, it will be less likely than he is Article 5 eligible that Cubs I can not Protect, because Murphys will now occupy that 40-man spot. You wouldn’t risk crushing Mervis development for making a decision like this, but if it’s not a serious risk, simply go ahead with a plan to keep both Mervis and any additional prospect you can protect. It would be organizational folly to do anything else.
Anyway, that’s all in the background The latest from Patrick Moneywho confirms that there are currently no plans to summon Mervis, and roster-building concerns come to the fore:
The Cubs won’t publicly rule out the idea of calling Matt Mervis from Triple-A Iowa in September. But internally, the Cubs have no plans to promote Mirvis for a late-season look, according to sources familiar with the club’s thinking. Mervis is ineligible for a Rule 5 draft this off season, and the Cubs were plotting a looming 40-man roster crisis. Adding Mervis now will complicate those plans for a team that faded from the watershed months ago.
So, barring a drastic change of mind, Murvis will finish his season in Iowa and then head west to play in the Arizona Fall League. In theory, this would still be another step in promoting the competition from Triple-A.
Elsewhere about the cubs farm system…
- I feel like it’s been a while since Jake Slaughter caught our attention, but he definitely did his part last night:
- The 25-year-old companion player is back on the ground in Double-A, but not really. He still hits .310/.402/.566/152 wRC+ over 341 board appearances, and could play first, third, and second base (or at least he’s been playing those spots this year). Would love to see what he could do in Triple-A Iowa if there was still time for that.
- At his age, and at this level, Slaughter is making a tough 40-man post-season decision. He’s a base 5 qualifier, but is it realistic for a team, straight from Double-A, to hunt him down for the league’s big 26-player roster? This is not a rhetorical question. I honestly wonder. Obviously, Slaughter can hit the ball of bullshit (all while shooting only 20.2% of the time), but does he stand out at the next next level? I can’t help but wonder if Cubs has been slow to roll out Triple-A Iowa specifically, so this question remains a tough one to answer. It’s indisputable at this point that Cubs will have more base 5 qualifying odds they want to protect than they will have 40 men to protect, so it’s possible that a guy like Slaughter (or previously traded) will be exposed, even if he causes a burn Cubs to risk losing him.
- I’m inclined to think that Louis Davers will eventually escape, but Luke Little is very quietly putting together a jug of the year type between Low-A and High-A:
- Little, 22, was Cubs’ fourth-round pick in 2020, and he’s been brought in very slowly. He’s earned a 2.47 ERA this year over 22 games and 65.2 runs (you can see how eager the Cubs are to take it with him). His massive strike rate is 35.4%, versus a walking rate of 13.3%, and his massive frame, funky delivery, and power elements are definitely too much for low-level hitters. But the Cubs obviously want to take it slow and deliberately with Little so they can try to develop him as a junior pitcher in the coming years. It’s hard for a giant dude like Little to keep his mechanics consistent through a 100-degree outing, let alone when you have a funky rendition to boot. It’s not only a unique combination that helps explain how he got such dominant results, but also why there is so much caution about whether he can actually start from the higher levels.
- Kevin Alcantara and James Triantos are super hot as the year ends at Low-A Myrtle Beach, and you’d love to see it. Alcantara since August 20: .351/.424/.491/154 wRC+, 10.6% BB, 18.2% K. Triantos since August 20: .408.473.510/177 wRC+, 10.9% BB, 9.1% K.
- Alcantara bonus? He can hit the ball so high that it leads to a rare pop-up error:
- I love arbitrary endpoints! I’m not joking. I think it’s fun:
- Matt Murvis opened these notes and will close them with some love. Even after winning the Honor of the Month prospect in August, the Mervis opened September by surprise, hitting .368/.400/.895/230 wRC+ within its first week. Earned him a spot on the MLB Pipeline Predictor of the Week Team: