Chicago Cubs: Checking in on the Cubs top 5 hitting prospects

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The Chicago Cubs signed Amaya in the international free agent market in 2015. He is currently listed by MLB as the 91st best prospect and the 7th best catching prospect.

The Chicago Cubs were active in the 2015-2016 international amateur market and signed catching prospect Miguel Amaya out of Panama. They invested a large amount of money in Amaya, signing him to a $1.25 million bonus (per Amaya has good size for a catcher, standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 185 pounds.

He participated in the Dominican Summer League in 2016 slashing 0.245/0.344/0.317 in 58 games while hitting one home-run and 22 runs-batted-in. Amaya also stole nine bases and walked 21 times in 2016. The Cubs assigned him to Class-A short-season Eugene in 2017. With the Emeralds, Amaya played in 58 games and slashed 0.228/0.266/0.338 and smacked three home-runs with 26 runs-batted-in. He walked less in 2017 with just 11 base on balls, but the Cubs still felt comfortable promoting him.

In 2018, Amaya moved up to Class-A South Bend and had a very solid season. He had 479 plate appearances in 116 games with South Bend and slashed 0.256/0.349/0.403 with 12 home runs and 52 runs-batted-in. His 8.8 percent home-run per flyball rate was the highest of his young career (via FanGraphs).

Miguel Amaya was promoted to High-A Myrtle Beach in 2019. In nine games this season, Amaya has gotten off to a slow start, slashing 0.194/0.306/0.387 with one home-run and five runs-batted-in.

Scouts are raving about his defensive development given his age and have indicated he is a great pitch framer. However, they like him better as a catcher more than a hitter (via

"Amaya’s defensive ability and makeup are the traits that initially attracted the Cubs, and he hasn’t disappointed in those areas. He’s a better receiver and moves better than most catchers his age, already showing the aptitude to frame and block pitches well. His arm has gotten stronger since he turned pro and now grades as solid with a chance to become plus, and it plays up because he gets rid of the ball quickly and makes accurate throws. Amaya’s offensive potential also has grown and he has the upside of a solid hitter with power to match. He has nice feel for the barrel, is getting better at managing the strike zone and makes repeated contact from the right side of the plate. He’s developing a better understanding of how to tap into his raw power, though he’ll need to get stronger after wearing down toward the end of his first year in full-season ball."

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Amaya is currently projected to reach the majors in 2021, so he still has a couple more seasons to develop as a hitter. However, with Willson Contreras currently cemented as the starter for the Cubs at the age of 26, Amaya could be a potential backup catcher or trade bait if Victor Caratini continues to show he is a productive backup catcher.