Owen Caissie – Picture by Todd Johnson

Just a few more mailbag posts are left and today’s one of those ones where it is going to take me the entire article to answer one question.

Here it is.

Question for the mailbag. Beyond Mash Mervis and PCA, who are the lefty or switch hitting talents that may be able to have an impact at the MLB level in the next 3-5 years and when might they arrive at Wrigley?

William(Bill) Roefer@Bilbo161

This is a really fun question for me because it’s very specific and it does have a finite answer. I’m going to break it down by affiliate to make it easier for me to organize some thoughts.


There should be two guys here with a lot of power. One is Bryce Ball, who had a really good first half last year but then fell off a bit in the second half. He showed marked improvement from when he was acquired in 2021 to 2022 and there’s still plenty of room to improve. He’s got a big swing that generates easy power. It’s just a matter of consistent contact and laying off pitches with two strikes. If anything, the Cubs may try to cut that swing down to make him quicker to the ball. Without the amount of power he has, he can spare some. For Ball to get to Chicago, a lot of things need to go right. If they do, 2024 would be the earliest.

But the guy who I really think will be the next power hitting left-handed hitter is Owen Caissie. I just love everything about this kid. He’s very knowledgeable, he studies the game, he studies videos on other hitters, and he works his butt off before and after the games. He’s constantly talking about approaches with other hitters, specifically Pete Crow-Armstrong. The two talk with each other constantly about how they’re being pitched, where they’re being pitched, and what guys are throwing what kind of pitches in what counts. As a photographer in the dugout, I tended to just put the camera down and listen.

After seeing him in the Arizona Fall League, Caissie, who is still, 20

South Bend

While I would like a BJ Murray to start the year in Tennessee, odds are that things are a little backed up if Mervis doesn’t make the big league club. He sees the ball well through the zone. In watching him hit last summer, it was fun to see him attack certain pitches and lay off others. He did get off to a rough start when he first got to High-A but he adjusted very quickly, quicker than most I’ve seen. By the middle of July, he was driving the ball with authority as a switch hitter, the Cubs are not going to make him pick a side because that’s part of his versatility along with being able to play first and third. This year he’ll probably play first base a little bit more. 

We’ve only just begun to see what Ethan Hearn can do with a bat in his hand. He’s always shown that he has the potential for power. Then again, he also struggled to hit above .200 and that he can strike out a lot.  Last year, though, the last six weeks of the season were magnificent as Hearn hit above .250 and the power stroke looked to be consistently. In addition, he finally looked relaxed at the plate and did not look to be pressing at the plate, a common problem for young players playing above their age group. I am excited to see him in Davenport on Opening Day.

Myrtle Beach

There’s no doubt that Moises Ballesteros generates, the most easy power after Mervis and ball. The ball just seems to jump off his back when he makes solid contact. I loved last year that he was driving a ball at Myrtle Beach but he was also struggling at the plate. I expect him to be back there again as he begins to phase advance competition. As the year goes on, I expect him to feel better, and in South Bend in the second half of the year.

The Wildcard

Jefferson Encarnacion is a bit of a ghost. The former Phillies farmhand is only 21 and missed three full seasons of baseball. Now healthy, will the Rule 5 pick surprise us all with his pop in his big frame. We will soon find out!