Cubs News

What will Pete Crow-Armstrong’s role be in the majors? Cubs expect lineup situation to evolve

4 weeks agoTony Andracki

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs are recalling top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong 10 days after sending him down to Triple-A Iowa.

Crow-Armstrong was optioned on May 20 along with Miles Mastrobuoni as the Cubs activated Dansby Swanson off the IL and promoted Luis Vázquez for his first shot at the big leagues.

Vázquez is headed back down to Iowa now to make room for the Cubs’ talented outfielder.

The Cubs are searching for a spark. After Wednesday night’s defeat, they are 10-16 in May and have lost 11 of their last 15 games.

During his stint in Iowa, Crow-Armstrong was named the International League Player of the Week. In 7 Triple-A games since the demotion, he hit .387/.441/.807 (1.248 OPS) with 3 homers and 7 RBI, including a moment straight out of the movies.

During his time in the majors, he hit .236/.295/.364 (.659 OPS) in 23 games but is the Cubs’ 8th best player in terms of WAR (by Baseball Reference’s metric) this season thanks in large part to his defense in center field.

[WATCH: Exclusive Pete Crow-Armstrong interview from Iowa]

The Cubs initially sent Crow-Armstrong down because they wanted him to get everyday playing time to continue his development as a 22-year-old.

They still have four outfielders currently receiving daily at-bats in the majors in Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ and Mike Tauchman. Manager Craig Counsell has utilized the DH spot as a rotation between those four players with Tauchman rotating between the three outfield spots to give the other veterans a half-day off.

Adding Crow-Armstrong back into the mix creates more options for the lineup.

“The role is to help us win,” Counsell said. “When he plays, he’s obviously going to play center field. The result is we’ll see Cody maybe at some different positions at times. But we’ll just kind of mix and match and see how that goes.”

Bellinger can also play right field (where he won a Gold Glove in 2019) and first base and can also slot in at DH, as well. Suzuki could also play some left field, on occasion.

But none of that is to say that Crow-Armstrong will play every day now that he is back up in the majors.

“I think Pete has to earn playing time,” Counsell said. “We have a couple of situations like that. We’re gonna have some choices every day in the lineup. Fun for the fans. Fun for [the media]. There’s gonna be days when he doesn’t play.

“We obviously brought Pete to be a part of this and I think it gives us some more choices throughout the game. And I expect that to evolve and hopefully we get a good solution out of it.”

Vázquez rarely saw the field in his 10 days with the big-league club. He struck out in his only at-bat but did score the game-winning run Tuesday night in Milwaukee when he entered as a pinch-runner in the 10th inning.

Even if he doesn’t get into a rhythm offensively, Crow-Armstrong’s presence in the majors improves the Cubs’ outfield defense and adds another element of speed on the bases.

“Pete’s a good defender,” Counsell said. “Your players have strengths certainly and ways they make the team better. We’re just thinking about how the roster was being used. We weren’t using Vázquez’s spot on the roster and thought there was a better use for it.”

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