5 surprises that helped propel the Cubs to the brink of the postseason

Let's look back at the 2023 season and recount the surprising events that got us on the cusp of a playoff run

Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs
Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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5 Cubs surprises - #2: Miguel Amaya's breakout

Going into 2023, the Cubs had Yan Gomes as their clear starting catcher with fellow veteran Tucker Barnhart and journeyman Luis Torrens behind him. Miguel Amaya was likely not on many people's radar early in the year, especially after the rocky road that was his path to the majors.

The once highly touted prospect did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was sidelined for much of 2021 with injuries and spent the entirety of 2022 recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old began the 2023 season with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies, where he showed that all those injuries did not did not impact his on-field abilities.

With Luis Torrens incapable of keeping his spot on the roster, Amaya was called up to replace him in May and the guy hasn't looked back. Although his offensive production is not flashy, which is normal for catchers, Amaya's value comes from his ability to quickly adapt to a pitching staff and his talents even put him ahead of Barnhart, who was designated for assignment in August.

Now Amaya is the undisputed backup for Gomes, and the probable starter of the future.