Cubs promote a pair of prospects to Chicago
The Cubs are injecting a bit of youth into their big-league roster.
Prospects Christopher Morel and Brandon Hughes have been called up to the majors and are available for the team Tuesday night at Wrigley Field against the Pirates. It is the first time on a big-league roster for both players.
In corresponding moves, Jason Heyward was placed on the IL with no designation and left-handed reliever Conner Menez was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Morel has been on the 40-man roster in recent seasons but this will be his first trip to the majors. He has 10 games above the Double-A level, all coming last season with Triple-A Iowa.
Morel said he found out about the call-up Monday night as he was in his room preparing for a series against Chattanooga. He got a call from the trainer, who told him Smokies manager, Michael Ryan, wanted to speak with him.
“He told me, ‘hey you’re going to the big leagues,'” Morel said. “I was like, ‘are you kidding me?’ [He said], ‘I’m not kidding, you’re going to the big leagues.’ I was so happy in that moment. I talked to my teammates and my teammates were so happy too.”
Morel immediately called his parents and was greeted with celebratory tears from his mom.
“My mom and my father,” he said. “They’re the best part of my life. These two people for me, they’re everything.”
The 22-year-old has played well with Double-A Tennessee this season, hitting .306/.380/.565 (.945 OPS) in 28 games. He has 7 homers, 20 RBI and 3 stolen bases with the Smokies this year.
Morel has mostly played center field (18 starts) this year with 6 games at shortstop and 4 at third base. Last year, he played all three outfield spots as well as short, third and second base.
“C-Mo is somebody that’s gonna give us a lot of versatility,” David Ross said. “He can play pretty much any infield position and every outfield position. He’s on the 40-man, swinging the bat really well right now. Got a dynamic skillset — some power, some speed. Really versatile. Got a lot of options right now while we got a little bit of stuff going on with the guys.”
Morel bats and throws right-handed and made his debut in the Cubs farm system in 2017 (Dominican Summer League).
Hughes is a 26-year-old left-handed reliever. He was selected by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 2017 Draft out of Michigan State.
He was originally drafted as an outfielder but moved to the mound full time in 2019. He has been absolutely dominant this season, not allowing a run in 16.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.
Hughes has 22 strikeouts against only 3 walks and carries a 0.48 WHIP.
Last year, he appeared in 26 games as a multi-inning reliever, posting a 1.71 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 60 whiffs in 42 innings.
“Hughes has been throwing really well,” Ross said. “Those guys have earned their call-ups. It’s such a cool moment when you get to see guys a little bit off the radar get chances to come up. He’s been throwing the ball really well, dominating lefties, throwing strikes. Nothing but rave reviews. Everything I’ve heard about the young man has been positive in his performance and who he is.”