Moises Ballesteros – Pic via His Instagram
One of my favorite players to follow on Instagram is the account of Cub prospect Moises Ballesteros. The young catcher posts pictures of himself being a baseball player and just smiling all the time. Occasionally, he will post a video of himself and I just love how smooth his swing is and how it looks to generate such easy power. The young 18-year-old from Venezuela is going to be one of my favorite players to follow in 2022 as he heads north to Mesa this spring.
Age – 18
Height – 5-foot-10
Weight – 195
Bats – Left
Throws – Right
From Los Teques, Venezuela
In 2021, Ballesteros hit .286 with a .786 on base plus slugging percentage. He had a wRC+ of 128 and was a pretty consistent hitter from month-to-month. I love how his bat moves through the zone and his hands are quick and can adapt easily to any pitch that is thrown.
Physically, Ballesteros is not exactly a physical specimen. He’s a nice-sized kid who is still growing and should continue to do so. Along the way, Ballesteros just recently started hitting the weights. It might take a couple years for him to get where the Cubs would like him to be physically. But for right now, part of me says if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But his old body type is not going to withstand a 140 game season unless he adds some more muscle. In just two months, he’s already added a lot of definition to his chest and shoulders.
Ballesteros biggest challenges in coming north are going to be acclimating to two things – the culture and new pitchers.
There will be a few guys that Ballesteros knows coming north with him from the Dominican but he’s going to have a lot of the Cubs’ young high school pitchers they took in the draft last year to get to know. Dominic Hambley, Erian Rodriguez, and Wilson Cunningham are just three guys whose repertoires he is going to have to learn pretty quickly.
In addition, I’ll be interested to see how much time Ballesteros is going to see as a designated hitter this year. It’s clear that his bat is his calling card and I’m pretty sure he knows that as well. But if the Cubs really like his actions behind the plate as much as they do in the batter’s box, keeping him fresh as he figures out things physically over the next year could be one way to placate both the Cubs and Ballesteros.
Sometimes I wonder if Ballesteros might be better off just as a designated hitter. With the changes to baseball this winter and the designated hitter now being a full-time thing, the option exists to train Ballesteros as a full-time DH. I don’t think he would want that as most catchers don’t like to be pulled out from behind the plate as they’re in on every play in the game.
How the Cubs handle his development and his physicality is going to be one of the top stories in Mesa this summer. With the Cubs now paying for housing, all Ballesteros really has to focus on is just getting ready to play every day in June, July, and August and starting to get ready for a 140 game season in 2023.