Cubs Minors: Matt Mervis continuing to show improvements
By Logan Whaley
Chicago Cubs prospect Matt Mervis is just 24 years old. The fresh-faced first baseman for the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, who recently received a promotion from High-A South Bend , seems as though he should be older. As a former 39th-round selection of the Washington Nationals in the 2016 MLB draft, Mervis instead forewent the selection in place of a collegiate career at Duke University.
In his four-year career for the Blue Devils, Mervis slashed a relatively average .281/.384/.461, with his best season coming in his senior season, in which the left-hander hit .304 over 56 at-bats. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs noticed something in Mervis and signed him as a minor league free agent last summer.
Mervis spent his first entire season with the organization between Single and Triple-A, in which he slashed .209/.310/.367 across 73 games. It seemed par for the course as Mervis got his feet wet for the first time with professional baseball and largely flew under the radar. However, the Cubs have seemed to figure it out with Mervis, as the corner infielder is on another level and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Cubs Minors: Matt Mervis is making his case for a bright future
Prospect development has become more crucial than ever for the Cubs, and they seem to have it right so far with Mervis and his personal development. Mervis began the 2022 campaign at High-A and produced such substantial numbers that there was no choice but to promote him to Tennessee.
In his 27 games with South Bend, Mervis slashed .350/.389/.650 with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 108 plate appearances. He produced three multi-hit games within his first ten games of the season, and in 11 games in May before his call-up, he hit .415 and slugged a ridiculous .805 with a 1.247 OPS.
Mervis has been with the Smokies for just five games, yet he has gone 7-for-22 with a double and a pair of home runs, suitable for a 165 wRC+. He’s currently at a .667 slugging percentage with an OPS of 1.030 and isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
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The Cubs have seemed largely lost at the first base position since they shipped former captain and fan-favorite Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees last summer. However, Mervis is a part of a crop of corner infield prospects who have gained steam, and that should excite Cubs fans as the organization continues to rebuild the system in a new way. Hopefully, Mervis continues to show that he belongs to the future core in Chicago.