To call Friday’s Chicago Cubs starting lineup anything but depressing would be laughable. But that’s what you get when you trade your entire core at the deadline and dedicate the rest of the season to seeing what you have in some of your young talent.
One bright spot, though, is the arrival of outfield prospect Greg Deichmann, who came over from Oakland in the trade that sent left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin to the Athletics. The big lefty and former second-round pick was penciled into the five spot, playing right field in Friday’s series opener against the White Sox at Wrigley Field for his big league debut.
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Deichmann has re-tooled his swing, focusing on cutting down the strikeouts that plagued him early on in his professional career. It’s come at the cost of some power, but given the inconsistencies we saw from Chicago’s offense in recent years, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This season at the Triple-A level, the former LSU standout batted 291/.425/.439 with 54 walks to just 65 strikeouts in 285 plate appearances. His strikeout rate on the year sits at just 20.8 percent, a dramatic improvement from the 34.1 percent clip he put up at the High-A level three years ago.
Now, you assume that the power will start to tick back up as Deichmann gets more comfortable with his new approach at the dish. Fangraphs pegs him at a 70 power grade on the 20-80 scale. So, again, I’m not worried about that aspect of his game, even though he’s slugging just .439 on the year.
Chicago Cubs: What role will Greg Deichmann play long-term?
Deichmann, like every other minor leaguer, lost the 2019 season because of the pandemic – which erased the entire MiLB calendar. So he makes his big league debut on Friday at the age of 26, hardly over the hill, but you hope he can get his feet under him rather quickly.
At this point, there’s zero reason to take reps away from Deichmann for a guy like Jason Heyward, who is mired in the worst offensive season of his career – even worse than his 2016 showing, which was forgiven after he delivered the rain delay speech in Game 7 of the World Series.
Plain and simple, this guy should be getting the lion’s share of playing time in right. Baseball America pegged him as the Cubs’ 11th-ranked prospect in their new midseason Top 30 and with little left to care about as far as the 2021 standings go, now is the time to give Deichmann (and other young talents) a real chance to prove themselves.