CHICAGO — Michael Busch became as soon as calm a member of the Dodgers on Thursday morning. By Friday night time, the extremely touted prospect became as soon as carrying a Cubs jersey, strolling out to blaring song and high-fiving kids within the entrance row from a stage at Cubs Convention.
For the followers who packed into the opening ceremonies — a crowd so mighty that it overflowed out of the main corridor and into the outer corridor — it could presumably presumably merely honest had been an introduction to the Cubs’ 2024 first baseman. That is already the manner Chicago is viewing its contemporary acquisition.
“He is ready for the big leagues, and so he’ll salvage a shot,” manager Craig Counsell stated. “There is now not any request about it. He is carried out every part you would merely be in a plot to perform in Minor League Baseball. He is ready for a Major League shot.”
The Cubs landed Busch (ranked No. 44 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 checklist) and righty reliever Yency Almonte from the Dodgers in Thursday’s deal. Chicago despatched pitching prospect Jackson Ferris and outfield prospect Zyhir Hope to Los Angeles to total the change.
Cubs get: 3B Michael Busch (Dodgers’ No. 2), RHP Yency Almonte
Dodgers get: LHP Jackson Ferris (Cubs’ No. 8), OF Zyhir Hope
In Busch, Chicago lands an interesting left-handed vitality bat who checked in as the Dodgers’ No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and obtained his first style of the Majors closing year. The 29-year-dilapidated Almonte is a dilapidated of six MLB seasons and presents the Cubs a half to add to a bullpen short of reinforcements.
Pipeline described Busch as “undoubtedly one of many appropriate all-around offensive potentialities” within the 2019 Draft class, which saw the Dodgers defend him 31st overall within the first round. There were questions about where the prospect would net a home on the diamond, and he has bounced across the infield in his Minor League profession.
The Dodgers additionally didn’t be pleased a clear direction to MLB playing time for the prospect.
“If in case you have a future Hall of Famer at DH and originally and at second, it doesn’t leave pretty about a playing time for folks,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer stated. “And with any luck that is one thing we are capable of be pleased the serve of.”
As things stand at the MLB stage for the Cubs, there might perchance be room for upgrades at each and every infield corners and at-bats potentially available within the designated hitter slot. Busch, 26, has Minor League alternatives, nonetheless he’ll head into Spring Training with an actual likelihood to perform the Opening Day roster.
In 98 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City closing season, Busch hit .323 with 27 homers, 26 doubles and 90 RBIs. His .618 slugging share ranked fourth amongst all certified Minor League batters, while his 1.049 OPS ranked seventh.
Busch additionally confirmed solid plate discipline, posting an 18.8% strikeout charge to partner with a 13.9% stroll charge. He has a profession .919 OPS within the Minors.
The request the Dodgers were looking out to answer to became as soon as figuring out where Busch most attention-grabbing suits positionally. He has spent most of his Minor League profession at second wrong, nonetheless he shifted largely to 3rd in 2023. Given the make-up of Chicago’s roster, Hoyer sees first wrong as the direction to at-bats.
“I judge first wrong is clearly a pure space for him,” Hoyer stated. “He is played there loads, nonetheless undoubtedly his versatility is additionally gorgeous. Obviously within the Minor Leagues, he’s performed extremely neatly. He is going to hit honest-handed pitching — I perform now not be pleased any request about that.”
Almonte must always relief a Cubs bullpen that collectively hit a wall down the stretch in 2023 and required extra depth for the impending advertising and marketing and marketing campaign. The 29-year-dilapidated honest-hander shunned arbitration with the Dodgers in November, agreeing to a $1.9 million contract for ‘24.
In 196 profession games within the Majors with the Rockies and Dodgers, Almonte has a 4.51 ERA. After spinning a 1.02 ERA in 33 games in 2022, the righty had a 5.06 ERA in 49 games closing year, racking up 49 strikeouts and 24 walks in 48 innings. Almonte sits around 95-96 mph with his fastball (sinker and four-seamer), nonetheless his arsenal became as soon as led by a sweeper (50.1% usage) in 2023.
So that you can perform this type of extremely touted hitter in Busch, the Cubs needed to allotment methods with Ferris, who became as soon as ranked as Chicago’s No. 8 prospect. Ferris, who turns 20 on Monday, became as soon as a second-round defend out of IMG Academy within the 2022 MLB Draft and had a solid knowledgeable debut with Single-A Myrtle Shoreline closing year (3.38 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 56 innings).
Hope, who will turn 19 years dilapidated on Jan. 19, became as soon as an 11th-round defend by the Cubs in closing summer’s Draft. He played 11 games within the Arizona Complex League closing year, bouncing between all three outfield spots while posting a .962 OPS.
“It became as soon as laborious to stop two factual younger avid gamers,” Hoyer stated. “But I felt esteem we were getting six years of carrier of a man esteem Michael Busch. It felt esteem it wasn’t a Deadline transaction, where you are getting a condo or a year-and-a-half of of administration. And that made that transaction more straightforward for us.”