via Rikk Carlson (@rikkcarl10)

Cubs Prospect Miguel Amaya Proving that the Hype is Real

Miguel Amaya came into the 2018 season as a hipster pick for some of the Cubs prospect junkies as a guy primed for a breakout season. Absent from several top prospect lists in the preseason, Amaya is now proving that those Cubs prospects hipsters were absolutely right for being so high on him.

The 19-year-old catcher received the promotion to Low-A South Bend to begin the 2018 season, a level in which he is more than 2 years younger than the average player at that level. His age and inexperience is failing to slow him down as just one month into the season, Amaya is proving his worth.

After two professional seasons in Arizona and Eugene in 2016 and 2017, Amaya was pegged as a glove first catcher that had the potential to be an elite defensive backstop. He was throwing out would-be base stealers at an elite level, gunning down 43.8% of those runners, mostly due to his extremely strong throwing arm. His game management and receiving skills were also well beyond his years and poised to be a major point in his progression through the system.

While his defensive prowess was something to behold, his bat was lagging behind during his 2017 campaign. A .228/.266/.338 slash line gave him a wRC+ of 71 and the young backstop was only walking 4.5% of the time at the plate.

But then 2018 happened…

Amaya has completely flipped the script regarding his light-hitting abilities and has been one of the most productive hitters on the South Bend roster. Doubling his walk rate to 8.9% and significantly increasing his ISO from .110 in 2017 to .227 in 2018 has lead to pretty numbers. His slash line so far in 2018 reads .255/.325/.482 with a 118 wRC+ as he continues to strike out at a below-average rate of 17.9%. His 5 bombs this year are already more than his entire professional career before this season.

If he can continue to produce offensively at the level that he has shown in 2018, the former defense-first Amaya will prove to be a legitimate top prospect. Expect to see Amaya shooting up Cubs prospect lists by midseason and league-wide publications by this time next year. You don’t need to be a prospect hipster to fall in love with the talents of Miguel Amaya anymore.

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