Matt Szczur Called Up



Dan Straily is making one start and heading back to Iowa to give a rest to the Cubs rotation. The question was who would take his spot once he went back down. The Cubs were likely to call up in outfielder, and some were hopeful that they all but promised arrival of Jorge Soler would be it. Instead it appears like another former top 100 Hendry prospect is getting the call.

Matt Szczur was a top prospect several seasons ago. He made Baseball America's Top 100 list in 2011, but has fallen out of the Cubs top 20 in the seasons since. The reason was that the offensive game never really developed for Szczur. The speedy, athletic outfielder never developed any power. As a result Matt Szczur has not managed an OPS over .751 since 2011 and it has only declined since. It has reached the point that in the offensive friendly environs of the Pacific Coast League he is slashing a pathetic .261/.315/.312.

There is some value in Matt Szczur, and it is mostly tied to his glove. He was rated the best defensive outfielder in the Pacific Coast League (a somewhat dubious honor since Kris Bryant earned best defensive 3B but still). He is capable of playing all three outfield spots, and he provides speed on the basepaths. His upside is not that of a starter, but he might be a valuable off the bench bat.

Szczur received an interesting contract when he was drafted. He was a two sport athlete that required some coaxing to forgo a football career. The contract required his adding to the 40 man roster which meant burning options the past several seasons. Just like Jorge Soler, Szczur's last year of options will be next season. The Cubs are facing a number of tough decisions on guys on the bubble for adding to the 40 man roster or being removed. Matt Szczur's roster spot is hardly guaranteed in the next couple of months.

The call makes sense in adding a right handed hitting outfielder to replace Junior Lake. The call makes sense in giving an audition to a player that needs a major league audition. It isn't sexy, but it is probably the right move at this time of year.

Official:

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