Photo of Matt Mervis by Rikk Carlson (@rikkcarl10)
We love to talk about top prospects here and everywhere but as a giant prospect nerd, I love me some deep cuts, too. Every year there are several guys that come out the gate hot, guys that you likely haven’t uttered their name more than a handful of times, guys that are trying to put their name on the map. Here are five dudes that we should probably be talking about more now that they are posting some serious stats.
PJ Higgins | Catcher, Iowa
82 PA, .397/.488/.544, 18.3% K, 14.6% BB
A familiar face in Robel García has been getting all the headlines down in Iowa recently, but Higgins has actually been putting up numbers that justify a promotion as well. We saw Higgins struggle in his brief stint in Chicago a year ago but with a potential opening at the catcher position in the bigs when the trade deadline comes and goes, it will likely be the minor league vet that gets the call.
The ODU product has arguably been the I-Cubs’ most consistent hitter all year long and not only has he been good game-in and game-out, he’s been GREAT. I maintain that Higgins could put together a really good backup catcher career at the Major League level.
Levi Jordan | 2B/3B, Tennessee
81 PA, .324/.395/.648, 14.8% K, 11.1% BB
After a brief start in Iowa to begin the year where he struggles to hit and really didn’t get enough consistent playing time, Jordan went sent back down to Double-A where he has proven he is way too good for the level. The infielder features way more power than you’d expect from his small frame and he has continued to be one of the best in the entire system at limiting the strikeout numbers.
It won’t be long before Levi is back up in Triple-A, where he can hopefully log some playing time on a more consistent basis and prove himself as being a valuable shuttle guy between Iowa and Chicago in the future.
Matt Mervis | 1B, Tennessee
145 PA, .343/.385/.630, 24.8% K, 5.1% BB
Mervis lowkey has an argument for the Cubs system Player of the Year up to this point. His slash line is beautiful and he has been insanely clutch all year long. On Twitter, he has been tabbed as “Never Nervous Matt Mervis” thanks to his late game heroics featuring go-ahead home runs.
He’s now up in Tennessee where he will be splitting time between first base and DH with the Bryce Ball, another guy that has a POTY argument. The jump from High-A to Double-A is always huge, so we’ll wait and see how he takes to the big promotion.
BJ Murray | 1B/3B, Myrtle Beach
135 PA, .304/.429/.493, 21.4% K, 14.3% BB
I was excited about Murray entering the year, but I didn’t think we would see this performance from him!
Murray started the season with a couple of 0-for-4 performance with four total strikeouts. But since then, he has recorded a hit in 15 of the 17 games that he has an at-bat. He is putting up better-than-league-average numbers in the power, strikeout, and base on balls departments and his college pedigree shouts at me that he’s too advanced for Low-A ball right now.
Yeison Santana | 2B, South Bend
120 PA, .323/.436/.385, 20.5% K, 14.1% BB
I admit that when the Cubs acquired Santana as a part of the Darvitini deal a couple years ago, I was lower on him than anyone not named Davies. Then he was assigned to Myrtle Beach in 2021 and put up pretty horrific numbers and I felt justified in my skepticism.
But then he came out in 2022 and has proven me wrong in nearly every single at-bat. Like Murray, the young infielder has been amongst the few in the entire system that have posted OPS+, K%+, and BB%+ numbers all above league-average the entire year long. He got a surprising promotion to South Bend not too long again to fill a spot left by Ed Howard.
Santana has significantly altered his swing since he was acquired, allowing his great bat-to-ball skills to play with a swing that isn’t nearly as busy as it once was. You won’t find him leg kicking or swinging out of his shoes anymore and instead you will see consistent contact and a line drive oriented swing.