Futures Game close to home for Crow-Armstrong

July 17th, 2022

An earlier version of this story was excerpted from Jordan Bastian's Cubs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Dodger Stadium sits roughly 20 miles away from where Pete Crow-Armstrong starred for Harvard-Westlake High School in his prep days. The young outfielder stepped onto the diamond at Chavez Ravine for a state championship game during his junior season, having the chance to soak it all in and dream about the big leagues.

That vision was one step closer on Saturday night, when Crow-Armstrong suited up for the National League in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Dodger Stadium. The seven-inning game will re-air on MLB Network at 8 a.m. CT on Sunday.

“I grew up going to Dodger games,” Crow-Armstrong said. “I grew up going to Dodgers-Cubs games. I went to everything. I loved Dodger Stadium growing up. Yeah, it definitely makes it a little more special that I get to play in front of my people.”

Crow-Armstrong has climbed to High-A South Bend, following a brilliant display for Single-A Myrtle Beach earlier this season, and ranks third on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Cubs prospects list. He was targeted in the 2020 MLB Draft by Chicago, which finally reeled him in with the blockbuster trade that sent Javier Báez to the Mets last summer.

A year ago, Crow-Armstrong – selected 19th overall in the ’20 Draft by New York – watched Cubs No. 1 prospect Brennen Davis take home the Futures Game MVP trophy with a two-homer outburst in the annual showcase. That has come up in recent days as PCA has readied for his trip to L.A.

“That's a joke that some of us have been making since we found out that I'd be going,” Crow-Armstrong said with a laugh. “Three home runs or nothing. Three home runs or I don't get to come back to South Bend.”

Crow-Armstrong's teammates in South Bend will have to settle for an opposite-field double, which the Cubs prospect delivered in the ninth inning off Tigers prospect Wilmer Flores (No. 14 on Detroit's Top 30 list). Overall, Crow-Armstrong went 1-for-2 in the National League's 6-4 loss to the American League. He also grounded out against Rangers prospect Jack Leiter (No. 16 overall on Pipeline's Top 100 list).

Through 63 games this season, the 20-year-old Crow-Armstrong has hit .315/.383/.536 with 11 home runs, 10 doubles, eight triples, 19 steals, 27 walks, 38 RBIs and 63 runs scored between the two affiliates. He hit .174 (.565 OPS) in his first 11 games at High-A, but quickly found his stride again, hitting at a .318 clip (.950 OPS) in the next 14 games.

“I think it ended up being realizing that it was less of an adjustment that I needed to make to the pitching itself,” Crow-Armstrong said. “The pitching is not all that much different than [Single-A] was. Balls are just around the zone a lot more and guys have better command.

“I think that made me more excited than anything, and I think it got me a little swing-happy. But I think the last couple weeks I've really honed back in on my pitch and just searching for that.”