Jim Callis answers on what the Cubs are getting Matt Mervis?
What are the Cubs getting in Matt Mervis? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Cubs fans are picturing Matt Mervis in a cape, hoping he'll offer a glimpse of success from the plate and at first base, considering Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini's lowly production this season.
But Jim Callis, one of the best MLB prospect analysts, doesn't think Mervis is a superhero.
"I don't think he's going to be the difference maker that's going to carry the team to another World Series championship," Callis said on 670 the Score with Parkins & Spiegel.
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Mervis is known for his power and versatility as a left-handed bat, adding a valuable wrinkle to the Cubs' batting order. In 24 games in Triple-A Iowa this season, Mervis is slashed .286/.402/.560 with six home runs.
"And he's just gotten better. He's made better swing decisions. I think he's tightened a swing. It's not as long as it used to be," Callis said.
How about his glove? Is he a premier first baseman?
"I don't think he's going to win a gold glove," Callis said. "We graded him as a 45, which is slightly below average. He can get the job done over there. He doesn't run and he's not going to cover a ton of ground. He does have a strong arm."
As Callis mentioned, Mervis used to be a pitcher before changing over to first base. Hence, he has the uncanny arm strength for a first baseman.
He isn't a generational-talented prospect. He's the No. 6 best prospect in the Cubs' farm system, according to MLB.com. He's not ranked in their top-100 list, despite being 25 years old.
He went undrafted in 2020 because of a shortened draft due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But he was a highly-taut prospect who the Cubs planned to sign quickly after the draft. His 2021 season from the plate wasn't eye-popping, however. He hit .204 from the plate in High-A.
But as Callis mentioned, he's improved his mechanics and patiently grown as a hitter. He's flashed his power and strong versatility at the plate in the minor leagues, showing his knack for hitting the opposite field when needed, too.
Callis characterized Mervis as "Anthony Rizzo with a little less defense."
Considering some believe he has Rizzo-esque potential and ceiling, no wonder outsiders were pleading for his call-up to the majors.
"I'm not saying he's definitely going to be a World Series champion, multi-all-star," Callis said. "But I do think like he could be that type of guy who could put up numbers at on the high end comparable to what Rizzo did. I know he's not going to win four Gold Gloves. But I think that's kind of the hope is that maybe you get up to Anthony Rizzo level."
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