Chicago Cubs News: Encouraging updates on Miguel Amaya and Ed Howard

Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Abbie Parr/GettyImages

Chicago Cubs catching prospect Miguel Amaya and shortstop prospect Ed Howard each had a 2022 season that could be forgotten as each player struggled with injuries. Amaya spent most of the season working his way back from undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2021 and Howard suffered a hip injury that ended his 2022 season early.

While offering updates on various items ahead of the start of Spring Training in two weeks, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic offered encouraging updates on both prospects.

"Miguel Amaya was scheduled to resume catching bullpen sessions this week in Arizona, a significant development for a prospect whose post-Tommy John surgery recovery process was delayed by a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot. Amaya is the third catcher on the 40-man roster behind Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart, but the Cubs can’t rely on him as the next man up until they see him back in action."

Patrick Mooney via The Athletic

The 2023 season will be an important year for Amaya. Amaya hasn't caught a game in professional baseball since the beginning of the 2021 season. When Amaya returned from Tommy John surgery last season, he operated exclusively in a designated hitter capacity with Double-A Tennessee. Amaya did show an improved offensive approach, however, as he slashed .278/.379/.485/.864 with 4 home runs in 116 plate appearances. The improved offensive approach was reason to be excited regarding Amaya heading into the 2023 season but his season was cut short after he fractured his ankle.

With two aging veterans in Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart at the Major League level, the Cubs are still in need of a long-term answer at the catching position. If Amaya manages his catching duties with the same skillset that forced placed him in the conversation to be the eventual replacement to Willson Contreras, then the Cubs may have their answer.

Meanwhile, Howard is expected to participate fully in Spring Training and will begin his minor league assignment at the start of the season.

"Ed Howard is on target to leave Arizona at the end of spring training and start the season with a minor-league affiliate, according to a source familiar with his rehab program. That would be a big step forward for Howard, who played in 23 games with High-A South Bend last year before suffering a freak hip injury that required season-ending surgery. "

Patrick Mooney via The Athletic

Next. 5 recent mistakes made by the Chicago Cubs. dark

Howard, the Cubs' 2020 first-round selection, has yet to find his footing in the Cubs' minor league system. Howard was slashing .244/.323/.317/.640 in 93 plate appearances with High-A South Bend before his season ended with the hip injury. Howard, 21, was drafted out of high school by the Cubs and there is no doubt that the hip injury will have altered his trajectory. 2023 will be an important season for Howard as he attempts to build back his prospect value.