Cubs Minor League

An under-the-radar prospect to keep an eye on in the Cubs farm system

1 year ago • Tony Andracki

Pete Crow-Armstrong and Ben Brown are generating a lot of buzz in the Cubs farm system while other top prospects Brennen Davis and Alexander Canario work to get healthy.

But the Cubs have plenty of depth up and down their minor league affiliates and one name is starting to pick up some momentum.

When Carter Hawkins was on the Marquee Sports Network broadcast last week during the Cubs homestand, Joe Girardi asked the GM who has been the biggest surprise in the minors this season.

While he was quick to acknowledge that the Cubs aren’t really surprised by the success of any of their prospects, Hawkins still had an answer ready.

“A guy I’ve really enjoyed tracking this year is a guy named Moises Ballesteros,” Hawkins said. “He’s down in Low-A in Myrtle Beach. Big, stocky catcher. Looks a little bit like Alejandro Kirk with Toronto. Great hitter. Really, really young for his league and has performed really, really well.”

Since Hawkins’ interview, the Cubs have actually promoted Ballesteros to Advanced Class-A South Bend, where he made his debut Tuesday.

Like Hawkins said, Ballesteros is really young — he won’t turn 20 until November. He’s more than 3 years younger than the average player in High-A ball. In his second game with South Bend Thursday, Ballesteros reached base in all 4 trips to the plate, collecting 2 hits — including a double — and drawing a pair of walks.

The 5-foot-7, 215-pound Ballesteros mostly plays at catcher but the organization has also put him at first base and DH.

Kirk is listed at 5-foot-8, 245 pounds and catches and DHs for the Blue Jays. He was an All-Star and won the Silver Slugger last season with a .285 average and 14 homers — production the Cubs would love in Chicago in a couple of years.

Ballesteros hits left-handed and put up an impressive .274/.394/.457 slash line (.851 OPS) with Myrtle Beach while walking (40) more than he struck out (30).

He notched 20 extra-base hits — including 8 homers — drove in 32 runs and even went a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts even given his size.

Last year, he began in rookie ball in Arizona before moving up to Myrtle Beach. All told, he hit .257/.352/.461 (.813 OPS) with 10 homers and 33 RBI in 63 minor league games in 2022.

The Cubs signed Ballesteros as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in January 2021 and he continues to ascend up the organization’s prospect rankings. He came in at 24th on Lance Brozdowski’s 2023 preseason list.

As he continues to age and develop, the Cubs are excited to see what he can do.

“Continue to work on his nutrition, get himself in a good place to where he can have consistency over 140, 160 games,” Hawkins said. “A kid to keep an eye on and one of the better natural hitters in our system.”

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