Statistics and baseball go together like lamb and tuna fish, or perhaps spaghetti and meatballs if you’d be more comfortable with that analogy.
As we rocket towards the 2024 MLB season MLB.com posted an article breaking down one key number to keep an eye on for each MLB team and the number they advised Chicago Cubs’ fans to monitor was one that was already bound to be under the microscope.
Last year Crow-Armstrong put together a terrific minor league season across multiple levels and that earned him a cup of coffee at the major league level. At the time he was considered a top ten prospect in baseball, our number one prospect at the mid-season mark and to start this year, and the player that all of our collective hopes hinged on to make the postseason.
The way his season ended was quite similar to the way the Cubs’ season ended. He took 14 at-bats and couldn’t get a hit in any of them as the Cubs collapsed to miss the playoffs. He struggled with the fastball, especially the high fastball, and the major league pitchers took advantage of that.
Unfortunately for Crow-Armstrong he also had a manager that seemingly had no interest in him being on the roster. David Ross was nothing if not old school and his unwillingness to play guys that hadn’t been on the roster since day one may have led to some pressing from the younger players like Crow-Armstrong, Alexander Canario, and potentially even Matt Mervis earlier in the season.
Regardless of the reason for the struggles, MLB.com just laid out what all Cubs’ fans already know:
Pete Crow-Armstrong’s ability to hit may very well define the 2024 season.
If he continues his hitless streak then they’ll likely find themselves at the bottom of the standings. If he can be league-average at the plate, they may be a wild-card team. However, if he can be the guy he was in the minors who hit .283/.365/.511 with 53 extra-base hits and 37 stolen bases, this may be a World Series contender.
In the words of the last great Cubs manager, Joe Maddon on his leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler: “You go, we go.”
If Pete Crow-Armstrong can be this team’s Dexter Fowler I think 2024 could be a really fun year on the North Side.