Cubs Single-A Hitter of the First Half: Moises Ballesteros C (19 Years Old)
.274/.394/.457 32 RBI, 28 R, 8 HR, 12 2B, 30/40 K/BB 5-for-5 SB
If I were making a top 30 Cubs prospects list the number of catchers on it would likely be surprising to a lot of people, especially with the promotion of Miguel Amaya.
Moises Ballesteros may be my favorite of the bunch. First of all, he’s 19 years old. Even though mlb.com points out that he is significantly heavier than his listed 5’7, 195 pound frame, there’s still room for him to mature physically.
Secondly, even though he’s struggled defensively as a catcher in years passed, he’s played the position significantly better this season. He’s got a 22% caught stealing percentage - which is up significantly from the 13% it was in 2022 - and the five passed balls he has are down from last season’s 10.
Third, he’s stealing bases? I’m not sure how he’s managed to go 5-for-5 in stolen bases this month, but I’d venture a guess that it’s the same reason that Asante Samuel was such a good cornerback in the NFL: he knows what to look for. Samuel was a converted quarterback and so he could read the offense and understand what the quarterback would be looking for and would bait them into throwing it to where he wanted them to throw it. Seemingly, Ballesteros is doing the same thing. He knows what he’d call for a pitch in a given situation and he lulls the pitcher and catcher into a false sense of security before he pounces and pilfers a base.
Finally, this kid has an incredible feel for the strike zone. He’s walked ten more time times (40) than he’s struck out (30). That’s something you get to say about some of the premier college players in the PAC-12, not something you get to say about a 19 year-old catcher that is up against professional pitchers.
Would I like to see him hit for more power? Sure. But in an organization that let a Silver Slugging catcher like Willson Contreras walk because they were going to roster two former Gold Glove catchers like Yan Gomes and Tucker Barnhart while allowing a former top-100 catching prospect like Miguel Amaya to learn at the major league level, I still find myself thinking Moises Ballesteros may have the most upside of the bunch.