Report: Matt Mervis Will Play in Arizona Fall League Following Breakout Season
Matt Mervis has been the best hitter in the Cubs organization this season, rising from High-A South Bend to Triple-A Iowa and getting better along the way. The slugging first baseman/DH known as Mash went 2-for-5 Sunday with his 27th home run and a long single that came about a foot short of a dinger to raise his OPS to .926 with the I-Cubs. That solo shot off the scoreboard in right-center was also his 100th RBI of the season, the first time a Cubs prospect has reached that mark since Kris Bryant in 2014.
Matt Mervis sends one off the scoreboard for your @GreatClips Clip of the Game. pic.twitter.com/UfpyLjsQIE
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) August 28, 2022
Mervis went undrafted in 2020 due to the truncated nature of the draft, but the Cubs were able to sign him based on the plan laid out by hitting director Justin Stone. A two-way player for Duke, Mervis was seen by many teams as more of a pitching prospect. The Cubs looked past his limited at-bats and saw the potential for very serious power, and that foresight is paying off.
Even more impressive than the big home run and RBI numbers is the fact that Mervis has improved his walk and strikeout rates at each level so far. He has a mere 14.4% K-rate in 125 plate appearances at Triple-A, appreciably better than 20.0% at Double-A and 24.1% at High-A. And while he may not get a much-deserved shot at Chicago this season, he will have an opportunity to prove himself at a different level.
According to Sahadev Sharma, Mash will be named to the Cubs’ Arizona Fall League roster. That’s a little bit of a surprise because he hasn’t missed time with injury, isn’t very young, and has a fair bit of experience as a college player. If I had to guess, I’d say the Cubs would like him to face a bevy of up-and-coming pitchers with the hope that he rakes and forces the team to add him to the big league roster next season.
Matt Mervis had another two hits, including a homer, and a walk today. He has a .926 OPS at Triple A after mashing through A+ and AA this year. He's not expected to get a brief call-up for the Toronto series this week, but a source tells me he will play in the AFL this year.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 28, 2022
Mervis quickly became one of my personal favorites this season after I got the chance to see him play at Tennessee back in June and saw that “it” factor. He carries himself with an air of confidence and quiet intensity that you don’t see from every player out there, there’s just something about him that makes you feel like he expects to be great.
“I couldn’t imagine this all happening in one year, but honestly this is what I expected over my minor-league career,” Mervis told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s definitely been a different path, but I think I’ve settled in pretty well at every level because this is where I’ve always seen myself and beyond.
“I‘m pretty tough on myself — nothing’s ever good enough — but I’m definitely happy with how the season’s going.”
Sorry, AFL opponents, Mash is coming for you.