The Chicago Cubs are adding some thump to their lineup.
First baseman Matt Mervis has been called up, sources confirmed to the Tribune. He will join the team Friday for the series opener against the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field.
A strong 2022 minor-league season positioned Mervis, 25, for this opportunity. He smashed his way through the Cubs’ minor-league system last year, advancing through three levels from High-A South Bend to Triple-A Iowa by the end of the season.
Mervis signed with the Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 2020 when the draft lasted only five rounds because of the pandemic. A two-way player out of Duke, Mervis has shown a keen eye and patient approach, cutting down on his strikeouts each time he moved up to the next affiliate leading to a 16.1 BB% and 17.0 K% with Iowa this year.
The Cubs hope those trends continue at the big-league level.
“I found in my experiences that players kind of hit you over the head with it over time, and then you start having conversations they get into the picture, and then you find yourself having a conversation every day, and at some point the answer becomes relatively obvious,” general manager Carter Hawkins said this week in Washington.
Mervis should get ample opportunities as their first baseman or designated hitter, especially against right-handers. His playing time will likely come at the expense of the veteran Eric Hosmer, who entered Thursday hitting .250 with a .294 on-base percentage and 78 OPS+ in 26 games.
In 24 games at Triple A, Mervis produced a .286/.402/.560 slash line with six home runs, seven doubles and 27 RBIs.
Mervis, rated the organization’s No. 4 prospect by Baseball America and No. 6 by MLB.com, shouldn’t be viewed as the savior for an offense that has scuffled the last two weeks. But the potential he brings creates upside the Cubs aren’t getting right now from their left-handed first base/DH options in Hosmer and Edwin Ríos.
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