Now that the minor league season has ended, I wanted to feature players who had the best 2022 season at each position by rolling out a “Cubs All-Season Team” position-by-position. I thought this would be a fun exercise to see which players were the best this year, rather than the traditional prospect rankings that also include future potential. My goal for this project is to see how talent is dispersed or concentrated positionally throughout the system.
Eligibility for the team was based on a minimum of 200 plate appearances and having played a majority of their games at a given position. Sorry, Alexander Canario, you are not eligible for left field or right field. I used 10 different stats to produce a tiered ranking system and if the final numbers were close, I weighed a prospect’s age relative to the average of the league/s they played in.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with which catcher had the best season. Moises Ballesteros beat out both Pablo Aliendo and John Hicks for the best season by a catcher because the 18-year-old raked in his first season in the United States. Although both of the older players made a solid case of their own, I chose Ballesteros because he was younger than league average in both the Arizona Complex (-1.7) and Carolina League (-2.7).
Ballesteros, an International Free Agent signing out of Los Teques, Venezuela in January of 2021, is listed at 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, though that may already be outdated. The lefty batter shows power potential and a good approach at the plate, producing a .257/.351/.461 slash line and a 122 wRC+ in 239 PAs this year between the ACL Cubs and Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
His 13% walk rate and 19% strikeout rate were both fantastic, especially for such a young hitter. He also showed an ability to hit for power to all fields and ended the season with 10 home runs. In the clip below, he goes with the pitch and blasts it over the wall in left-center. Myrtle Beach is a notorious pitchers’ park and he made that homer look easy.
Speaking of making a homer look easy, how about this one? It looks like he just flicks it over the fence. I think he could end up being a 20-25 home run guy in the future because he has such easy power.
Cubs fans should be excited for BLAST-esteros. pic.twitter.com/3110PFrQbh— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) September 16, 2022
It’s a good thing he has an above-average hit tool because I do have questions about his ability to stay at catcher long-term. I haven’t been able to see him enough to know how he does behind the plate or how he works with a pitching staff, but my early opinion is that he will always be a bat-first option at catcher. He also profiles well at first base, and I think that is where he will ultimately land.
Overall, you can’t ask for a much better season than the one Ballesteros was able to put together and I look forward to seeing what he can do with a full year at the affiliate level. He should begin the season at Myrtle Beach with a chance to reach High-A South Bend by the end of 2023, which would be absolutely fantastic as a 19-year-old catcher. Who knows, maybe we’ll see him on this team again next year.