The Cubs are calling up top prospect following injury to Yan Gomes
A highly-touted prospect has been called up by the Cubs.
Catching prospect Miguel Amaya was recalled from Double-A Tennessee ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Nationals as catcher Yan Gomes continues to go under evaluation after being hit in the head on Monday night. In a corresponding move, the team designated lefty reliever Ryan Borucki for assignment to make room on the 26-man roster.
For Amaya, it’ll be his first time in the big leagues after being added to the 40-man roster in the offseason ahead of the 2020 season. He is the Cubs’ 16th-ranked prospect, per Marquee Sports Network’s Lance Brozdowski. Amaya was ranked as high as the Cubs’ second-best prospect in 2021, per Brozdowski and was a consensus top-100 prospect in 2020 and 2021.
But tough luck and injuries have hit Amaya hard the last few seasons. After that breakthrough 2019 season, his 2020 season was wiped away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, he played in just 23 games in 2021 and underwent Tommy John surgery after that season that caused him to miss most of the 2022 season. When he did return, he was primarily a designated hitter but played in just 40 games before suffering a Lisfranc fracture that caused him to miss the rest of the 2022 season.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Amaya said. “It’s been a rollercoaster, ups and downs, a lot of work mentally, of course physically, [too]. But this is something that gets us strong, positive every day and faithful. Happy to be here, joining the team and be with this beautiful team and be part of this group and help this team win.”
This season he’s been healthy and shown flashes of the strong offensive player he can be, albeit in a small sample size. In 13 games and 56 plate appearances with Tennessee, Amaya has slashed .273/.411/.659 with 4 home runs, 8 RBI and a whopping 182 weighted runs created plus, 82 points above average.
It’s important to note the Cubs have not yet placed Gomes on the injury list, meaning he could be back at any time, but the Cubs couldn’t take the risk of having just one healthy catcher, Tucker Barnhart, even if it’s for a short period.
It’s a bit of unfortunate timing for the Cubs, who had just designated Luis Torrens for assignment last week. Torrens was a shock addition to the Cubs’ Opening Day roster and the team carried him as a third catcher.
Instead, they’ll turn to the rookie Amaya to serve as their backup for the time being. For Amaya, it’s the call of a lifetime. He was in Huntsville, Ala. Just 24 hours ago with the Smokies and was out grocery shopping when his phone rang.
It was his manager, Michael Ryan, who wanted to see him in his hotel room to over his workload for the week. When he got to Ryan’s hotel room, Amaya found out he wouldn’t be catching for the Smokies on Tuesday.
“Because I was getting the call up to the bigs,” Amaya recalled. “Immediately I jumped to him, I hugged him and immediately called my parents.”
But his parents, Max Amaya and Anny Oro didn’t pick up the phone. He spent an hour trying to reach them. When they finally did answer, he gave them the good news. His parents are flying out to Washington D.C. from Panama and the plan is for them to be at Nationals Park on Wednesday.
“When they answered, they got shocked,” Amaya said. “Then they start crying, I start crying, too. It’s something we’ve been waiting for so long. It’s been ups and downs like I said, but now we’re here and it’s time to grind.”