Pete Crow-Armstrong a highlight factory in first Cubs start

Chicago Cubs top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong has made a strong first impression — with a trio of must-see highlights in his first MLB start.
Pete Crow-Armstrong, Chicago Cubs
Pete Crow-Armstrong, Chicago Cubs / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Chicago Cubs' No. 1 prospect and the No. 23 prospect in the MLB per FanGraphs, made his first big league start on Tuesday. The Cubs are locked in a tight battle with the Colorado Rockies, but regardless of the outcome of the game, Chicago fans have plenty to be excited about.

Getting the nod in center field, Crow-Armstrong made a string of highlight plays to ingratiate himself to the fanbase. Manager David Ross said the rookie's at-bats would be limited before the game, citing the Cubs' competitive aspirations.

"We're not developing players right now," he said. Crow-Armstrong was slotted in the eighth spot and handed the starting spot in center, though. He played the entire game and received four plate appearances.

The highlight reel is remarkably long for such a short sample. While the Cubs still have a bevy of veteran outfielders who will get priority in important games, PCA looks the part of a pro — and a player the competitive Cubs could potentially benefit from in the short term, as well as the long term.

Chicago Cubs' Pete Crow-Armstrong dominates in first MLB start

Crow-Armstrong's defense is a calling card and a potential ticket to MLB reps. He certainly made a strong case in the first inning, when he made a remarkable one-out grab on the warning track. His speed and coordination are attributes the Cubs will hope to hone even more as the years progress.

It hasn't been a great night at the plate for Crow-Armstrong, who is 0-of-4, but he managed to knock home his first career RBI with a fielder's choice in the top of the second inning.

That was a good intro for the fans in the crowd, who went ballistic. To see your top prospect make a catch against the wall and bat a runner home in the first two innings of his first start is rare. Crow-Armstrong is too late to win Rookie of the Year, but he's not too late to carve out a dazzling reputation ahead of the Cubs' postseason berth.

And, if those plays weren't enough to convince you, Crow-Armstrong made another unfathomable catch in the bottom of the sixth.

I've watched that video a few times and I still don't fully have a grasp on how it landed in PCA's glove. That is an unspeakably smooth catch, a genuine superstar move. If Crow-Armstrong can continue to excite fans with his defensive talent, imagine what happens when the offensive numbers start to mirror his minor league stats.

Crow-Armstrong is batting .283/.365/.511 with 20 home runs and 82 RBIs in 438 minor league at-bats split between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. The offensive numbers will come in time for Chicago, but PCA already looks impactful enough in the outfield. His speed also figures to be useful on the base paths (37 steals in MiLB).

Ross may be hesitant to lean on inexperience, but sometimes your top prospects are too good to ignore. That might be the case with Pete Crow-Armstrong.

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