Cubs Minor League

Cubs promote intriguing prospect to Triple-A

1 month agoTony Andracki

The Cubs’ big-league offense has struggled this season but some of the organization’s top minor league hitters have been off to a great start.

That includes catcher/DH Moisés Ballesteros, who was just promoted to Triple-A Iowa this week.

The 20-year-old Ballesteros will be one of the youngest players in the league at the Triple-A level but he has shown such an advanced approach at Double-A that the Cubs wanted to challenge him more.

In 56 games with Double-A Tennessee, Ballesteros hit .299/.372/.495 (.867 OPS) with 9 homers, 43 RBI and 27 runs scored.

In what is considered a strong league for pitchers, the young left-handed bat posted an elite strikeout rate (14.8%) and will now test his skill at the top minor league level.

“It’s a really special bat,” Jed Hoyer said Monday afternoon. “When you look at what he’s doing, he’s 20 in Double-A. The offense in that league is so unbelievably down. I think what a lot of our hitters are doing in that league is really impressive.

“But I think the most impressive [is] when you look at the fact that he’s 20. Obviously he’s worked hard at his defense and that’s something that’s going to continue, but I do think the bat has been really impressive. 20-year-olds don’t usually perform like that at Double-A.

“He’s got a 14% strikeout rate, so not only is he doing damage, but he’s doing it with no strikeouts, which is really impressive.”

The average age of Triple-A players is about 26, so Ballesteros will be quite a bit younger than the rest of the league.

App Promo Dansby Swinging

Ballesteros has mostly played catcher throughout his minor-league career with 186 appearances at the position. He has also spent time at DH this year (22 starts) and first base (6 starts this season, 39 in his career).

The Cubs don’t yet know where Ballesteros will end up defensively, though the plan is for him to play mostly DH at Triple-A. They also understand conditioning will always be a factor with his 5-foot-7, 215-pound frame.

But they also believe he can be a true impact bat and he earned top prospect status over the offseason, ranking at No. 84 on Baseball Prospectus’ list.

“[The conditioning is] something that he’s always going to work hard at, given his body type,” Hoyer said. “I think he has worked hard. But that’ll be something that we’ll always have to work through with him. But he can he can really hit.”

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