Chicago Cubs first base prospect Matt Mervis has become a popular name for Cubs' fans after a 2022 season where he hit 36 home runs across three levels of the team's minor league system. Mervis was a priority undrafted free agent for the Cubs in 2020 and there is a belief that he could make his Major League debut in 2023. MLB Pipeline ranked the top first base prospects currently in Major League Baseball and Mervis cracked the list.
"The Top 10 (ETA) 1. Triston Casas, Red Sox (2023) 2. Tyler Soderstrom, Athletics (2023) 3. Kyle Manzardo, Rays (2023) 4. Matt Mervis, Cubs (2023) 5. Jordan Diaz, Athletics (2023) 6. Michael Toglia, Rockies (2023) 7. Grant Lavigne, Rockies (2024) 8. Ivan Melendez, D-backs (2025) 9. Xavier Isaac, Rays (2026) 10. Niko Kavadas, Red Sox (2024)"- MLB Pipeline
Barring injury or unforeseen struggles for Mervis at Triple-A Iowa to begin the season, it remains likely that he will be with the Major League team at some point during the first half of the season. There has been increased discussion from Cubs' fans regarding the idea of Mervis potentially being blocked at the Major League level by the recent signings of Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini. What is important to remember is that Hosmer is only getting paid the league minimum by the Cubs so there would be flexibility for the team to move on from the veteran in the event that he struggles. For Mancini, a right-handed hitter, he could serve as a platoon partner for Mervis at first base. Mancini also has the ability to play either of the corner outfield spots.
What has become lost when discussing Mervis and his transition to the Major League level is whether or not he is ready from a defensive perspective. There have been questions over whether or not Mervis' frame will allow for him to play first base for the longevity of his career but of all the first base prospects, MLB Pipeline believes the Cubs' prospect to have the best arm at the position.
"Arm: Casas, Mervis (60) Casas was initially drafted as a third baseman because of his strong arm, and he threw in the low-90s during his days playing high school ball in Florida. Mervis threw 59 innings over his four years at Duke while sporting a heater around the same velo and a low-80s slider. The pair may not use their cannons as much as they used to, but any overly aggressive baserunner might want to heed this warning if they see either first baseman with the ball in their hands."- MLB Pipeline
Mervis is in a position to succeed with the Cubs in 2023. The additions of Hosmer and Mancini ease the pressure that will be on Mervis once he arrives at the Major League level while also allowing the Cubs to pick the right spots to ease their power-hitting prospect into their lineup.