Cubs promote OF prospect Greg Deichmann, place Jason Heyward on IL
Deichmann, 26, only recently joined the organization when he was traded over from the A’s in the deal that send lefty Andrew Chafin to Oakland. He’s had a slow start in seven Triple-A games with the Cubs, but his overall body of work this season has been quite strong. In 285 plate appearances, Deichmann is batting .291/.425/.439 with four homers, 16 doubles, three triples and eight steals (in 10 tries). He’s walked at a gaudy 18.9 percent clip that’s more than double the current MLB average and punched out at a 22.8 percent rate that would sit below today’s MLB average.
That keen eye at the plate is one of Deichmann’s calling cards and one of the reasons he’s been a fairly well-regarded prospect in the A’s system despite not yet tapping in to his considerable raw power. Deichmann has drawn a free pass in 13.2 percent of his career minor league plate appearances since being selected out of Louisiana State University by the A’s in the second round of the 2017 draft.
While Deichmann has never topped 11 home runs in a minor league season, he did swat nine long balls in just 95 plate appearances in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. He ranks as the Cubs’ 20th prospect at MLB.com and FanGraphs, where Eric Longenhagen puts a hefty 70 grade (on the 20-80 scale) on his raw power. Deichmann has been used exclusively in right field this year, though he saw very brief spells at first base and in center earlier in his career. He’s not a burner on the bases or in the outfield, but scouting reports peg him for an average or slightly better arm.
Moving forward, Deichmann has the makings of a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder with some pop and strong OBP skills, though given his sub-.600 OPS against lefties over the past three minor league seasons, he may benefit from a platoon partner. The Cubs can certainly afford to give him consistent at-bats for the rest of the season, particularly with Heyward on the injured list. At the moment, Deichmann joins Ian Happ and Rafael Ortega in a largely overhauled Cubs outfield scene.
There’s no indication as to how long Heyward is expected to miss, but there ought to be room for a two-month Deichmann audition even if it’s a minimal absence for the soon-to-be 32-year-old Heyward. In 284 plate appearances this season, he’s batted just .198/.271/.322. The Cubs still owe Heyward a $22M salary in both 2022 and 2023.