The Milwaukee Brewers have stretched out to a three game lead in the NL Central. They were up to a four game lead prior to Sunday's games where the Cubs made up some ground, but they still face an uphill battle to catch the Brewers.
In a desperate attempt to make up that ground on Milwaukee in the division standings over the final three weeks of the regular season, the Chicago Cubs have called up their top prospect, Pete Crow-Armstrong.
Should the Brewers be worried about the Cubs calling up Pete Crow-Armstrong in the final weeks of the race for the NL Central crown?
Pete Crow-Armstrong was the 19th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, selected one spot ahead of the Brewers' pick of Garrett Mitchell. The now 21 year old outfielder was originally selected by the New York Mets, but was sent to the Chicago Cubs as the return for a half-season of Javier Baez at the Trade Deadline a few years ago.
Now Crow-Armstrong is the Cubs' top prospect. Across Double-A and Triple-A this season, Crow-Armstrong is hitting .283/.365/.511 with 26 doubles, 20 homers, and 37 stolen bases.
With the Trade Deadline passed and no external additions allowed to help fortify rosters, the Cubs are looking to the top of their minor league system to improve their chances of making the playoffs. Crow-Armstrong represents their best chance to improve their roster and he should be an improvement over Mike Tauchman in center.
However, rookies tend to have a lot of ups and downs in the early stages of their careers. A lot of times, young hitters have early success, then pitchers seem to figure them out, and the hitters struggle for a bit while they try to adjust. That happened to a lot of the Brewers rookies, Brice Turang, Joey Wiemer, and Sal Frelick, among others. It's also happened to Elly De La Cruz and a lot of the Reds rookies who were good early on but have fallen off a bit.
Since this promotion is happening with less than three weeks left in the regular season, the Cubs could be counting on Crow-Armstrong to have that hot streak carry them to the division lead before the league figures him out.
Will the Brewers respond by promoting one of their prospects? Well, probably not. They won't move someone up just because the Cubs called up their top prospect. Milwaukee has a Top 100 prospect in Tyler Black playing well in Triple-A and they could call upon him, and there's always the option of Jackson Chourio getting a call, but he's still down in Double-A. While it's possible the Brewers call up one of their top prospects before the season is up, they likely won't make that call unless they're overtaken in the division.
The Cubs are desperate to catch the Brewers in the standings and they're going all out, calling up their top prospect. Hopefully that won't be enough for Chicago to catch Milwaukee, but we're running out of time in the regular season to find out.