Cubs fans need to relax when it comes to their Pete Crow-Armstrong panic

Chicago's top-ranked prospect failed to notch his first big league hit last summer and didn't look great at the plate this spring. But it's still far too soon to panic.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There hasn't been this much excitement around a Chicago Cubs prospect since pre-2016 when a billboard was erected outside Wrigley Field hyping up Kris Bryant before he even made his MLB debut. But Pete Crow-Armstrong isn't Bryant and, at just 22, is working through some growing pains at the plate as he knocks on the door.

Crow-Armstrong will open the year at Triple-A Iowa, where he has just 158 plate appearances to his credit, looking to prove he can excel offensively at the highest level of the minors. A lot of Cubs fans have written him off already based on 19 trips to the plate last summer where he went hitless and a paltry .138/.194/.241 slash line this spring in Cactus League action.

That's an irrational response to what amounts to a total of 50 plate appearances. We already know he's ready to impact the MLB team with his speed and defense. The fact that he needs more reps at Iowa to iron out his issues at the plate is fairly normal and isn't something that should cause panic or prompt folks to write him off - certainly not yet, at least.

Pete-Crow Armstrong knows what he needs to improve on at the plate if he wants to return to Wrigley Field and play a key role for the Cubs

Given his relative age and the imperfect roadmap he wound up following after being drafted out of high school by the Mets due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a shoulder injury, patience is key with Crow-Armstrong. He and the Cubs are both well aware of what he needs to focus on at Iowa this year and if he does what he needs to do, he'll force the Cubs' hand - exactly what manager Craig Counsell is hoping he'll do.

“Our thought right now is the best place for PCA to start in the minor leagues,” Counsell told Marquee Sports Network, “and then kind of just knock down the door for us and make us figure something else out on the major league side.”

Chicago has a crowded outfield picture - with all three positions locked in to start the year. Gold Glover Ian Happ returns in left field, last year's NL Comeback Player of the Year Cody Bellinger is back in center and Seiya Suzuki, a widely regarded breakout candidate, will handle duties in right. Should PCA force his way into the picture, well, that's a nice problem to have.