Cubs Prospects: Bryce Ball is gaining steam after a cold spell

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

A couple of summers ago, amid the first rumblings of a potential Kris Bryant trade, it seemed at the time that the Atlanta Braves would be a fit and, that Bryce Ball made sense as a part of any package. While a deal with the Braves for Bryant never came to fruition, the Chicago Cubs still managed to pry Ball away from the Braves in a separate trade.

It became apparent once Anthony Rizzo was dealt last summer that the Cubs would need to figure out the future at first base. Alfonso Rivas, who is still just 25 years old, has struggled this season after putting together a solid 18-game sample size in 2021. And even as Rivas is still in his prime, it doesn’t feel like he is the long-term solution at the position.

Cubs Prospects: Patience will be a huge key with Bryce Ball

As a former 24th-round selection, Ball came out of the gates on fire. In his first season in the Braves system, Ball hit .329 with a ton of power. Some of that power has since dropped off as he has risen higher in the minors, as he’s faced tougher pitching; however, the 24-year-old has still held his own, for the most part.

In the first month of this season, Ball slashed .297/.349/.485 with three home runs, posting a 118 wRC+. He continued a torrid streak of hitting through May as he showed his prowess in driving the ball to all parts of the field.

June, unfortunately, was a different tale. Ball’s slugging percentage dropped to .304, and he struck out at a 27.7 percent clip, struggling to show off that power from the previous month. It was the tale of Jekyll and Hyde. To stay true to that analogy, Ball has rebounded significantly in July.

Since June 26, Ball has been slashing a much improved .304/.355/.375 and has seen his power begin to return. Although he is striking out at a 23.4 percent rate, the plate discipline continues to improve each day, and the lefty now has a .410 slugging percent to go along nicely with his rising 110 wRC+.

Ball is also hitting .321 over his last seven games with three doubles and more RBI than strikeouts. Interestingly, his ISO has dropped to .098 this month, and while that may ring some alarms, one could argue that Ball has more talent than a prototypical Jason Giambi “strikeout-or-bust” type corner infielder.

Ball struggled mightily last season at High-A for both Atlanta and, following the trade, the Cubs and has shown through his improved numbers an affinity at Double-A this season. However, it should also be noted that when a prospect comes out of the gate on fire as Ball did in his first season, it will continue at the subsequent levels, which is not true.

Going back 52 years to memories from the 1970 Cubs. dark. Next

Cubbies Crib
Cubbies Crib /

Want your voice heard? Join the Cubbies Crib team!

Write for us!

It is the first season Ball has been at Double-A, and he is handling the increased level of pitching with aplomb. He provides the left-handed power and profile the Cubs desperately need for the long term, and there is no reason he can’t eventually be the everyday guy in Chicago. Let’s hope the Cubs continue to feel the same way.