Obviously, this ranking is a bone-cracking fall from grace for the erstwhile top prospect, and it’s only in very small part a testament to the system’s improvement that he’s here. In much greater measure, Amaya is here because he’s been unable to stay healthy enough to prove to anyone that he can translate his offensive tools to the highest level of competition–let alone that he can handle the defensive demands and workload of a big-league catcher.
If it works, though, the numbers above are what it will look like, and it will be glorious. Amaya has a rare blend of hit tool, power, and plate discipline for a catching prospect, and even if he’s not a catcher in the long run, his bat has the potential to be good enough to force him into an MLB lineup. Even that depends on him staying healthy enough to develop smoothly from here, though, and he’ll have to show that he can still make sufficient contact as he matriculates to Triple A and the majors. Defensively, he’s a better athlete than an average catcher, and his arm could play even as the new rules apply extra pressure in that area. The loss of so many reps to injury over the last few years has taken a toll on his ability to develop as a receiver, game-caller, and handler of pitching staffs, too, though.
There were a number of debuts for the Cubs this season, as top prospects and long-time draft-and-stash players alike made their way to the major leagues in a competitive season. Today, we recognize and congratulate the best rookie performances for the Cubs in 2023.
One of the 2023 Cubs’ most unassuming heroes was the man who spent the majority of the season behind the catcher’s mask. Looking ahead to 2024, though, we have some big questions to consider about where that position is going and how the Cubs ought to handle it.