The Chicago Cubs called up top first baseman prospect Matt “Mash” Mervis Thursday following a dreadful 1-6 road trip against the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals. The Cubs are 2-0 since Mervis’ long-awaited arrival.
Mervis endured a true breakout campaign with three of the Cubs’ minor league affiliates during the 2022 season. Mervis began his campaign by dominating 27 games in High-A ball with the South Bend Cubs. He was promoted to Double-A and the Tennessee Smokies, where he played 53 games, then ended his 2022 season with 57 dominant games in Triple-A and the Iowa Cubs.
He continued to improve while facing much more difficult competition during the season. He hit 29 home runs during his 110-game stretch in AA and AAA.
Mervis provides promise for a franchise enduring its first rebuild since the 2014 season. His style of play is similar to the leader of the 2016 Cubs World Series Championship, Anthony Rizzo: a lefty first baseman power bat ready to do anything to win ball games.
Mervis began the 2023 season in Des Moines, Iowa, jumping right back to his dominant play. In 24 games at AAA, Mervis crushed six home runs, totaling 27 RBI and more walks than strikeouts.
The Cubs were active during the 2023 offseason, signing veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer to a league minimum deal and first baseman/Designated Hitter Trey Mancini to a two-year $14 million deal. Hosmer stands out as a very important clubhouse player, providing a wealth of leadership and experience, despite his play taking a drastic slide since the 2017 campaign.
When the Cubs officially called Mervis to the big leagues to provide power at first base, the team was able to keep Hosmer in the clubhouse in a smaller role. Mervis can learn plenty from Mancini and Hosmer while their time overlaps.
Mervis made his anticipated debut Friday at Wrigley Field, starting at first base and slotting in as the 7-hitter in the lineup.
Mash was provided numerous standing ovations by the Wrigley faithful every time he stepped up to the plate. Mervis laced a line drive single to center field for his first Major League hit following three unsuccessful plate appearances to begin the game. Center fielder Cody Bellinger raced from second to home as Mervis got his first career RBI and provided insurance for the Cubs in a 4-1 win against the Marlins Friday.
Mervis followed the hit with a line-drive single Saturday afternoon – knocking in his second RBI of his very young career.
While it’s way too early to make assumptions about what Mervis’ first big-league season will look like, his play proves that the young guns can play, too.
There’s a plethora of MLB-ready talent in the minor leagues waiting to hear their name be called at the Friendly Confines.