The underrated prospect that is starting to make some noise in the Cubs system
Pop quiz, hotshot: Who leads professional baseball in RBI this season at the All-Star Break?
Here’s a hint: He is a member of the Cubs organization…
The answer is Matt Mervis, the slugging first base prospect who has driven in 80 runs — more than any other minor league or major league player in baseball this season.
You won’t find Mervis’ name on any preseason Cubs top prospect rankings but he is absolutely tearing his way through the system this season. He began the year with Advanced Class-A South Bend, was promoted to Double-A Tennessee and is reportedly heading to Triple-A Iowa later this week.
Mervis was an undrafted free agent in 2020, when the MLB Draft was only 5 rounds due to the pandemic. He put himself on the map nationally while at Duke and enjoyed a solid summer in the Cape Code League in 2019 (.325 AVG, .989 OPS).
During his first season in the Cubs organization in 2021, Mervis hit .209 with a .677 OPS, 9 homers and 44 RBI in 73 games with Class-A Myrtle Beach (and a short stint with Iowa).
But he has absolutely exploded onto the scene in 2022. Beyond the 80 RBI in 80 games, he has 21 homers, 25 doubles, a triple and is slashing .317/.376/.614 (.990 OPS). And he’s doing it all from the left side of the plate.
“We’re really excited to see what he’s done so far and hope that he can keep it up,” Cubs VP of scouting Dan Kantrovitz said last week.
The 24-year-old’s success is not a surprise to the Cubs, who made their pitch to Mervis and other undrafted free agents after the 5-round 2020 Draft.
“It was sort of the first time in this business where we had to put on almost a recruiting hat and show these players the infrastructure we have from a development standpoint and how we can help them reach their goals,” Kantrovitz said. “[Mervis] was a player that we spent a lot of time talking to and we were excited that we could sign him.
“I don’t think anybody could expect him to sort of go out and have the season he’s had so far, which is pretty impressive. But I think we were excited about him as a prospect and I’m really happy for Matt.”
Mervis’ breakout campaign has put him on the map and could earn him an opportunity to show what he can do at Wrigley Field in the not-so-distant future.