Chicago Cubs News: Expectations for Matt Mervis in 2023

Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs outfielder Matt Mervis plays for the Mesa Solar
Oct 26, 2022; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs outfielder Matt Mervis plays for the Mesa Solar / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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We have to have a discussion about Chicago Cubs' first base prospect Matt Mervis. Mervis had a breakout season for the Cubs within their minor league system in 2022 as he slashed .309/.379/.606 across three levels to go along with 36 home runs. Mervis spent the final parts of the 2022 campaign with the Cubs' triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs, and there has been a growing expectation that the 24-year-old prospect will have an opportunity to make the Major League roster out of Spring Training in 2023.

There is no question that Mervis fits the profile of the left-handed power hitter that the Cubs have missed since trading first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the New York Yankees in 2021. There is also no question that 2023 will only be Mervis' third season in professional baseball. That would be the reason why Cubs fans shouldn't be offended by the concept of the team wanting to add a veteran first baseman this offseason to potentially platoon with Mervis. Entering the 2023 season with exclusive thought that Mervis will be the answer for the Cubs at the first base position at the start of the 2023 season would be a foolish start.

Let's use Rizzo as a case study. Rizzo made his Major League debut with the San Diego Padres and struggled considerably with a slash line of .141/.281/.242 with a .248 wOBA and 59 wRC+. It wasn't until Rizzo's second stint at the Major League level with the Cubs in 2012 that it began to click at the Major League level.

There is a strong possibility that Mervis is going to struggle during his initial stint at the Major League level and will need to return to the minor leagues in order to fine-tune his approach. For a team in the Cubs that is shifting the focus to winning, adding a veteran first baseman such as Trey Mancini to pair with Mervis would be the right approach. Not to mention, the Cubs are also going to need a designated hitter in their lineup. Meaning, if Mervis does find success right away, Mancini could easily slide into the designated hitter role for the Cubs.

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There is no question that Mervis was a fun story for the Cubs in 2022 and his breakout certainly could mean important things for the Cubs at the Major League level. But, at this point in Mervis' career, he shouldn't be viewed as the definite answer for the Cubs at the first base position at the start of the 2023 season.

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