Cubs evaluating potential successors to Willson Contreras at catcher

The probability of three-time National League All-Star Willson Contreras getting traded by the Aug. 2 deadline remains chilling for Cubs fans, but there is some catching help in the future.

Moises Ballesteros, 18, who signed for a $1.5 million bonus last summer on the first day of the international signing period, has hit five homers with an .938 OPS in 24 games in the Arizona Complex League.

The left-handed hitting Ballesteros, a native of Venezuela, has 14 RBIs to go with a .379 on-base percentage.

“His feel for understanding the strike zone at such a young age is impressive,” Jared Banner, the Cubs’ vice president of player personnel, wrote in an email. “He’s a power hitter who doesn’t strike out much, a great combination. He has a bright future ahead.”

Miguel Amaya, who was touted as a potential successor to Contreras before missing nearly the entire 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery,could return to Double-A Tennessee before the end of the season.

Amaya, 23, has been relegated to designated hitter duties in his first 10 games for the Cubs in the Arizona league but has yet to be cleared to catch, Banner wrote.

Hudson on the horizon

The Cubs have used six left-handed relievers this season, and Bryan Hudson might have pitched himself into consideration for a promotion later this year.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Hudson, 25, whom former team President Theo Epstein scouted before he was selected in the third round of the 2015 draft out of Alton High School and signed for a $1.1 million bonus, has struck out 48 in 352/3 innings at Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

“Whenever you perform as well as he is, you put yourself on the Major League radar,” Banner wrote. “He has unique size and a unique arm angle,so he makes hitters uncomfortable. That, in combination with throwing a lot of strikes and missing a lot of bats, has been an excellent recipe for success this year.”

Starting remains in Devers’ future

Luis Devers, the organization’s pitcher of the month for May, will continue to be projected as a starter despite two scoreless relief appearances since his promotion to Class-A South Bend.

Banner said the Cubs want to monitor Devers’ innings. Devers, 22, already has pitched a season-high 72 innings between South Bend and Class-A Myrtle Beach, where he was 9-3 with 75 strikeouts in 661/3 innings to go with a 2.58 ERA.

Let’s play two Saturday

Friday’s game between the Cubs and Mets was postponed three hours before its scheduled starting time because of inclement weather and was rescheduled for Saturday as part of a split doubleheader.

Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.91) will oppose Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.63) in the regularly scheduled game at 1:20 p.m. Left-hander Drew Smyly (2-5, 4.43) will face Max Scherzer (6-1, 2.15) in the makeup game at 7:05 p.m.

Gates for the make-up game will open approximately 60 minutes before first pitch.Separate tickets are required for each game. Fans must leave the park immediately after the end of the first game.

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