Cubs’ PJ Higgins getting gain of prospect behind the plate this spring

MESA, Ariz. — Often prospect arrives when you the very least anticipate it. Catcher PJ Higgins has gotten rave assessments all over Cubs camp this spring immediately after Austin Romine’s sprained knee established a lot more odds for him to show what he can do.

Now Higgins, 27, is inching closer to having a place on the Opening Working day roster.

“I believe there is a ton to like about PJ,” manager David Ross reported. “He tends to make good make contact with. I appreciate his ability to operate a sport at the rear of the plate. We’ve thrown a couple of scouting studies at him already, and he did a seriously very good career the other night time catching and dealing with that. . . . The work ethic and the treatment of the dude is off the charts, as very well. So there’s a large amount to enjoy from him.”

If there is a place exactly where the Cubs can experience an injuries and however temperature the storm, it’s catcher. Willson Contreras is the each individual-working day man powering the plate, but high-quality depth is supplying the Cubs peace of brain and making it possible for them to acquire gamers this kind of as Higgins and prospect Miguel Amaya.

Higgins, drafted in the 12th round in 2015, has carried out effectively in a short minor-league vocation. For the duration of his last full time in 2019, he slashed .281/.349/.416 with 10 homers between Course AA Tennessee and Course AAA Iowa.

He has not just caught the coaches’ notice — the Cubs’ pitchers are loving what they see, much too. Even though Higgins is a non-roster invitee, starters have been relying on him to get them by outings.

“PJ Higgins, wow — I suggest, we can sit for a full day and talk about PJ Higgins,” ideal-hander Adbert Alzolay claimed with a smile. “Both him and Justin Steele, we’ve been together for fairly much our full minimal-league occupations, playing in the exact same staff, residing jointly. So I’m very joyful for him. I’m rather pumped up for him, and he’s obtaining a actually, seriously very good spring training.”

When Higgins’ capacity guiding the plate finally will determine irrespective of whether he helps make the Opening Working day roster, his versatility also will make him an appealing possibility for Ross off the bench. Higgins has played next and 3rd foundation this spring and is regarded as an previously mentioned-regular 3rd baseman.

Dependent on how Ross decides to structure his bench, Higgins could supply an at-bat late in game titles, in particular with no common designated hitter and National League policies returning in 2021.

“I really like the fact that you have obtained someone that could potentially play third or go around,” Ross stated. “I mean, he’s received wonderful hands. He’s probably — if you have listened to the individuals [in] participant development —

a single of the better third baseman we have in the firm, just as considerably as dependability on defense.”