Cubs News

How Pete Crow-Armstrong fits in on Cubs roster

8 months agoAndy Martinez

The Cubs are calling up one of their top prospects.

The team announced prior to Monday’s opener in Colorado that No. 1 prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong had his contract selected and was added to the active roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, Anthony Kay was designated for assignment and outfielder Alexander Canario was optioned to Triple-A to clear a spot on the 28-man roster. 

“Getting into the clubhouse was a little much but everybody is the most welcoming,” Crow-Armstrong said. “It was a nice scene when I walked in. I’m liking how everything works out here. It’s beautiful. It was a good day – easy travel day. My mom got in. We’re all good.”

Crow-Armstrong was acquired in 2021 for Javier Báez and Trevor Williams from the Mets. The 21-year-old is a consensus top-50 prospect in baseball. He’s the 12th-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America and 23rd by FanGraphs.

The outfielder has long been lauded for his defensive acumen, but this year really took a step forward with his bat. Across Double-A and Triple-A, Crow-Armstrong has a slash line of .283/.365/.511/126 wRC+. He has hit 20 home runs, stolen 37 bases and has 82 RBI across 500 plate appearances. Sunday, with Triple-A Iowa, Crow-Armstrong was 4-for-5 with a grand slam and a double.

Cubs third base coach Willie Harris has played an instrumental role in Crow-Armstrong’s development from afar. 

“Slowing things down is a big thing that Willie and I have touched on for months here,” Crow-Armstrong said. “He’ll send me texts here and there just checking in, saying ‘Hey, slow down.’ They’re the most needed kind of reminders. I’m appreciative of the ease into this.”

On Sept. 1, when rosters expanded, the Cubs hinted that the additions of Shane Greene and Alexander Canario to the roster wouldn’t be the last. Crow-Armstrong’s addition will be the fifth different player to be added to the active roster since rosters expanded.

“I don’t look at Sept. 1 anymore as like a cut-off,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said on Sept. 1. “I think we’re gonna see a lot of different guys up here over the course of the month depending on what we might need in a given series, depending on how a guy might be playing.”

In Colorado, the Cubs clearly felt they needed their top prospect.

The Cubs will likely use his skillset as a defensive replacement or pinch runner. His first taste in the big leagues should provide him an opportunity to exploit that.

Coors Field has a spacious outfield, allowing David Ross to deploy him in the outfield if needed and cover the pasture easily. The altitude in Denver promotes, so the Cubs could have a situation where they use him as a pinch runner or pinch hitter, too.

“I think there’s a really good fit for us — big outfield here,” Cubs manager David Ross said before Monday’s game. “Definitely can play some defense, steal a base. He’ll get some starts mixed in. trying to slide him — we’re not gonna force anything. We’ve got a group of guys that have gotten us here, but he can definitely help us out.”

He’s soaking in the moment that comes with a big-league debut, but he’s also aware of the situation he’s in. Crow-Armstrong isn’t up to be a feel-good story or to just gain experience. The Cubs might call on Crow-Armstrong and in a playoff race, that could be crucial. 

“It’s special. It’s definitely something that I’ve had my mind on just about all year,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I’ve tried really hard to stay present. I think if you’re a determined person, if you’re a competitor, it’s hard not to think about situations like this. I’m here to play my part. I think they got a really good thing here so however I can fit in, I’m glad to do it.

“However I can produce and provide, that’s all I’m really thinking about.”

For Canario, his option back to the minor leagues is all about having regular playing time. 

I gave him a crappy pinch hit, to be honest and gave him one at-bat and it’s not how you envision your debut going, but I know he’ll be back,” Ross said. “He’ll be back at some point, ready to help us, have a long really career, helping us out. Didn’t go as planned to start, but we’re in the middle of a playoff race and just wasn’t a lot of room for him.”

A fun anecdote: if Crow-Armstrong makes his debut against the Rockies, it’ll be the same place that Báez made his debut. Báez was 1-for-6 on Aug. 5, 2014, against Colorado, his lone hit the game-winning home run in the 12th inning.

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