Miguel Amaya has been the Cubs’ biggest disappointment this season

The Chicago catcher was a huge piece of the organization's 2024 plans but has been nothing but a liability, both at the plate and behind it.
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies v Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

This was supposed to be the year Miguel Amaya cemented himself as the catcher of the future for the Chicago Cubs. Instead, it's looking more and more like the year the organization was forced to start from scratch behind the dish.

There's nothing Amaya (or Yan Gomes, for that matter) has done well in the first two months of 2024. Amaya grades out as a brutal offensive player, batting .196/.258/.286 (56 OPS+). He's caught just 3 of 34 base-stealers (well below the league average) and grades out as below-average both in pitch framing and pop time.

Craig Counsell, his coaching staff and even Amaya's teammates rave about what he brings to the team but the simple fact is he isn't doing the job well enough to be a solution behind the plate.

“He’s got good instincts, he understands his job and understands the priorities of what his job is as a catcher and as a service to the pitcher and the staff,” Counsell said. “You don’t have to coach him on that. There’s some intuition there that you can’t really teach. The guy knows it or he doesn’t, and I think Miguel is a player who has that.”

Miguel Amaya looks out of his depth in his first full big league season

There could still very well be a future on this team for Amaya and, at least for the time being, the Cubs will keep trotting out the Amaya-Gomes tandem behind the plate. But it's clear there's room to grow, especially for Amaya, who more or less skipped Triple-A in his jump to the big leagues last summer and now looks like he could have benefitted from some further seasoning.

In an ideal world, Gomes would have emptied the tank in 2024, closing out the three-year deal he inked with the Cubs prior to the 2022 season. But it appears the tank is already bone-dry. The 36-year-old has a 17 OPS+ heading into June and ranks as one of the worst pitch-framers in all of baseball.

With Amaya looking overmatched, Gomes running on fumes and nobody waiting in the wings, the Cubs are in trouble at the catcher position. They bet heavily on Amaya stepping up in 2024 and his inability to do so has left a gaping hole in the lineup - and one that lacks a clear-cut internal solution.