With a report being released from MLB Pipeline on prospects who narrowly missed top 100 status this winter, Chicago Cubs catcher Moises Ballesteros was the very first name listed. Ballesteros is notably the first catcher not on the top 100 list and figures to have a strong chance of making the cut at some point in the coming season.
Ballesteros went from Low-A with Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee, surpassing Pablo Aliendo on the Cubs' top 30 list. In 2023, Ballesteros slashed a respectable .285/.374/.449 with 14 home runs and 64 RBIs in 117 games. He only spent five games at Double-A, so I'd like to focus on his improvements from Low-A to High-A before he was called to the Smokies.
Ballesteros spent 56 games in both Low-A and High-A, respectively. upon the promotion, his slash rose from a respectable .274/.394/.457, to .300/.364/.463 and his BABIP increased from .284 to .350. While other statistics slightly decreased in production, Ballesteros still showed that at age 19, he is quickly on the rise within the Cubs organization.
Even with Aliendo, Jorge Alfaro, and Joe Hudson at Triple-A Iowa, the crowding won't matter at the lower levels. Ballesteros must work on his game and continue making strides in 2024. One area he can work on is getting his walk rate back up to the 16% he earned in Low-A while hopefully continuing to cut back on strikeouts, where he went from a 12.4% K rate to 19.5% in High-A.
Entering his age-20 season, he will begin in Double-A and hopefully see his meteoric rise continue up to Triple-A Iowa. He is younger than his competition, so the fact that he is already in Double-A is impressive. If he continues to adjust to Double-A pitching the way he did from Low to High-A, it won't be long before he graces the top 100 prospect board, especially as other candidates graduate off the list in 2024. His name is one to remember when it comes to all things prospect-related this coming season, as he is sure to catapult himself into the spotlight before long.