Cubs prospect Christopher Morel earns first big-league opportunity

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'Dynamic' prospect Morel earns opportunity with Cubs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

For how much Jed Hoyer has talked about it, we’re starting to see potential pieces of “the next great Cubs team” get a chance at the big-league level.

The Cubs called up Christopher Morel on Tuesday, a versatile defender who’s had a strong start to the season with Double-A Tennessee.

The Cubs called him up in wake of Jason Heyward going on the injured list with no designation Tuesday, indicating a COVID-19-related move, and at a time where over a half dozen position players are on the IL.

"Dynamic skill sets, some power, some speed and really versatile," manager David Ross said. "Got a lot of options right now while we’ve got some stuff going on with the guys."

Morel, 22, signed with the Cubs signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He opened 2022 with Tennessee after reaching Triple-A Iowa late last season.

“’Are you kidding me?’” said Morel of his reaction when Tennessee manager Michael Ryan informed him the Cubs were promoting him.

“I was so happy in that moment.”

Morel got off to a fast start at the plate this season, holding a .306/.380/.565 slash line with seven home runs and 20 RBIs through 28 games with Tennessee.

He’s spent the majority of his time defensively in center field, and then shortstop.

“Not a lot of guys can do that the way Chris can,” said Cubs farm director Jared Banner of Morel’s ability to play both positions up the middle.

“That provides a lot of value to the organization, and we’re glad he’s getting this opportunity.”

Morel has played all over the diamond in his minor-league career, from all three outfield spots to every infield position excluding first base and catcher.

What makes him so comfortable moving around?

“For me, every position is the same,” Morel said. “Just catch the ball and make a good throw.”

It’s a simple game.

Whether Morel and any other prospects are part of that next great Cubs team will take care of itself. They’re here now to help the Cubs win games.

“We’re trying to win ballgames, for me,” Ross said. “These guys will establish whether they’re big leaguers or not on their own. They’ll make it known in the minor leagues like they have now.

“When an opportunity comes, it’s all about playing well or pitching well. That’s how everybody starts their career. Just opportunity.”

Said Morel: "I feel confident in myself, I’m working hard. I have fun in the game. That’s why I’m here."

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