Cubs invite top prospect Crow-Armstrong to spring camp
CHICAGO -- Pete Crow-Armstrong has been lauded for his work as a center fielder in the Cubs' farm system. The fleet-footed prospect picked up a Minor League Gold Glove Award for his work last year, when he dropped jaws with his incredible range and instincts.
Crow-Armstrong should have a home in center field at Wrigley Field at some point in the relatively near future, but that job currently belongs to veteran Cody Bellinger. As a non-roster invitee this spring, Crow-Armstrong will get to study the way Bellinger approaches the position as a Gold Glove winner in the big leagues.
"What I'm really excited about is getting to actually just watch him move," Crow-Armstrong said at Cubs Convention in January. "I want to see what he does. I like mirroring and kind of applying, or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, I'm really excited to see how he works defensively."
On Monday, Crow-Armstrong was among the 32 players announced by the Cubs as non-roster invitees for Major League Spring Training. Besides Crow-Armstrong (Pipeline's No. 1-ranked Cubs prospect), invitees from the Cubs' Top 30 Prospects list included first baseman Matt Mervis (No. 21) and infielder Chase Strumpf (No. 25).
Here is a breakdown of the non-roster invitees for the Cubs:
Right-handed pitchers: Nick Burdi, Danis Correa, Tyler Duffey, Jordan Holloway, Ben Leeper, Mark Leiter Jr., Nick Neidert, Vinny Nittoli, Manuel Rodríguez and Cam Sanders.
Left-handed pitchers: Ryan Borucki, Roenis Elías, Bailey Horn, Anthony Kay, Brendon Little, Brailyn Marquez and Eric Stout.
Infielders: Sergio Alcántara, David Bote, Mervis, Esteban Quiroz, Strumpf, Andy Weber and Jared Young.
Outfielders: Crow-Armstrong, Ben DeLuzio, Darius Hill, Yonathan Perlaza and Mike Tauchman.
Catchers: Dom Nuñez, Luis Torrens and Bryce Windham.
The Cubs landed the 20-year-old Crow-Armstrong from the Mets as part of the 2021 Trade Deadline deal that shipped Javier Báez to Queens. At the time, Crow-Armstrong was recovering from a right shoulder injury that limited him to six games during that '21 campaign.
Crow-Armstrong worked back to full strength and enjoyed a breakout season in '22.
The 2020 first-round Draft pick took part in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in '22, helped High-A South Bend win the Midwest League championship, took over as Pipeline's top Cubs prospect, picked up a Minor League Gold Glove Award and was ranked No. 28 on Pipeline's Top 100 list going into '23.
Over 101 games between Single-A Myrtle Beach and South Bend last year, Crow-Armstrong slashed .312/.376/.520 with 16 home runs, 20 doubles, 10 triples, 61 RBIs, 32 stolen bases and 89 runs scored. He posted a 1.000 OPS in 38 games at the Single-A level before earning a promotion to South Bend, where he hit .287 with an .831 OPS in 63 games.
Crow-Armstrong said fighting through some late-season struggles but having the South Bend club pull together to win the league title was an important moment on his road to the Majors.
"I think it definitely translated in a sense, in terms of the culture that we want to build here," Crow-Armstrong said. "There's a lot of us who expect to be playing together -- everything willing. Yeah, I think it definitely is a little bit of foreshadowing. Call it what you want."
Over the offseason, the Cubs made some major additions to their Major League roster, signing the likes of shortstop Dansby Swanson, pitcher Jameson Taillon and Bellinger, among others. Crow-Armstrong said the moves did not "directly affect" him, but added that he liked the potential big-picture implications.
"It's nice to see guys like Belli and Dansby get signed," he said. "A guy like Dansby, as a young guy, it's cool seeing that, because he knows how to win and he's a known leader. And then Belli, guys like that, it's adding really good pieces. I think that people are going to be surprised as to just how close the Cubs actually are to being a contending team."