Reggie Preciado by Rich Biesterfeld
When the Cubs acquired infielder Reggie Preciado in December 2020, the reaction to the acquisition was not very kind. It was a brutal cascade of boos from most of Chicago’s major publications and newspapers. However, there were those online like Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs who just loved infielder Reggie Preciado to no end. Longenghagen’s admiration of Preciado stemmed from seeing him in instructs in the fall of 2020, a full year after Preciado was signed as an international free agent.
Fast forward a year to the fall of 2020 and Preciado came to instructs with a batting stance and swing that look an awful lot like Corey Seager’s. It allows him to be relatively short to the baseball despite his lever length, and whether it had to do with the swing change or not, he looked much more comfortable in the box in the fall 2020 than he did in ’19.
Preciado did not make his Cubs’ debut until this past summer in the Arizona Complex League and it was quite the debut.
Age – 18
3B and SS
Bats – Switch
Throws – Right
Signed by the Padres as an international free agent in 2019
When Preciado debuted this summer, he lived up to the expectations of Longenhagen and began to quiet some doubters in the prospect world. He played mostly shortstop and third base this summer and he might be athletic enough to play a corner outfield spot in the future. He is a long way from being a fully chiseled baseball player.
In 141 at bats, Preciado hit .333, clubbed three home runs, drove in 25, and stole seven bases. His OPS was outstanding at .894 because he a lot of doubles and triples. That’s a pretty good initial season!
The Cubs probably couldn’t be happier with that stat line but he did miss quite a bit of time in September for an undisclosed injury. 141 ABs is not a lot. Then again, he’s still 18 for 6 more months. Patience, my friends. Patience.
2022 To Do List
1. Stay Healthy
Preciado still needs a lot of game experience to hone his approach at the plate and to continue to see pitch after pitch after pitch. The more experience he gets, the better off he’ll be moving through the system. 34 games is not a lot of time put in. But it’s enough to give us a pretty good glimpse of what he can do when healthy.
2. Get Ready for the Grind
This kind of goes along with number one. With no short season stop and 70 some games coming at Eugene, Preciado is going to have to adjust to playing 140 game season in the Carolinas in a park that’s not conducive to hitting. While it’s not exactly a place where fly balls go to die, that expression is not far off. Thankfully, Preciado will be under the tutelage of Buddy Bailey who is going to show him how to mentally and physically be prepared for the mental and physical grind of the 5+ month season.
3. Add Some More Muscle
That’s really a required box to check for any 18-year-old kid heading to Low A. Although, it looks like he has a head start.
When 2022 comes I’m going to be pretty pumped to see just exactly what Preciado can do over an extended amount of time. He did hit a lot of doubles last year and I’m wondering how much he can turn the doubles into home runs over the next two years. It’s not all going to come in 2022, but he is going to begin his development towards and that power should start this winter. Even if he spends a year per level, he will be just 20 and starting Double-A in 2024. Think about that! And that’s being patient.