Chicago Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya off to scorching hot start in Double-A

Feb 23, 2023; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya (75) poses for images during photo
Feb 23, 2023; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya (75) poses for images during photo / Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 season is an important season for Chicago Cubs prospect Miguel Amaya as he entered the season fully healthy after an ankle injury toward the end of the 2022 season thwarted his initial return to catching duties after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2021.

Amaya has started eight games at catcher with the Tennessee Smokies this season and the rust is there as he has three errors in a total of 69.2 innings at the position but the encouraging sign for the Cubs' prospect has been the offense.

Through 37 plate appearances this season, Amaya is slashing .286/.432/.750 while posting a 202 wRC+ and .500 wOBA. Amaya also has three home runs on the season and is showing the same offensive success that he had with the Smokies in 2022. In 116 plate appearances last season, Amaya slashed .278/.379/.485 with the Smokies while posting a 128 wRC+ and .383 wOBA.

When Amaya was first climbing the ranks of the Cubs' farm system and the team's prospect rankings, he was a defensive-first catcher. Amaya was projected as a future Gold Glove catcher at the Major League level and was a large part of the reason why the organization was never truly connected to Willson Contreras. Injuries have derailed Amaya's development as a catcher but the team remains high on his ability to manage a pitching staff.

It remains unclear what the Cubs' long-term answer is at the catching position as neither Yan Gomes nor Tucker Barnhart will be the team's catcher the next time they are a legitimate postseason contender.

Amaya could certainly take a step toward becoming the solution to that question. There are hurdles that Amaya will need to clear before that happens. The first hurdle is that Amaya will need to prove that he is able to stay healthy. 2018 was the last time that Amaya played in more than 100 games in a season. The second hurdle is that Amaya's offensive approach will need to develop. That development is beginning to show for Amaya and that is an encouraging sign for the Cubs.

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