Matt Mervis won’t need to be protected when the Cubs’ 40-man roster is finalized in November.
But after a powerful breakout minor-league season, Mervis will be ready if the power-needy Cubs tender an invitation to spring training.
“Whether it’s big- or minor-league spring training, I’ll do what I always do to prepare for next season and hopefully keep building on what I build this year,” Mervis said.
“It’s up to them to make decisions.”
The left-handed hitting Mervis, 24, played himself into consideration for the first base job by producing 36 home runs, 40 doubles, 119 RBI and an .984 OPS at three minor-league levels. He provides the Cubs with a low-cost option at first base.
“I want to be a major-league baseball player,” said Mervis, who wasn’t selected in the five-round 2000 draft and signed as a free agent out of Duke. “It’s been my goal since I was 4 years old. I’m going to keep doing what I can do to get there, and let the front office make their decisions.”
Mervis was surprised by his home-run total but thought his .204 batting average with nine homers at Class-A Myrtle Beach in 2021 was misleading.
“I know I’m a good hitter,” Mervis said. “I know what I’m capable of. I’d say last year at Myrtle Beach was the anomaly. This is hitter I except to be.”
Mervis was one of 14 prospects in a four-day seminar at Wrigley Field. He will depart shortly for the Arizona Fall League.
Davis on comeback trail
Outfielder Brennen Davis was projected to join the Cubs at some point in 2022. But that was before he suffered lower back discomfort that required surgery in late June but revealed no disc or structural problems that enabled him to return to play in the minors in late August.
“I couldn’t sit down straight or watch TV,” said Davis, 22, who hit 19 homers at three levels in 2021 and smacked two homers in the 2021 Futures Game.
“It sucked. And then trying to compete on the field, too, it wasn’t a recipe for success. I’m happy to be past that and continuing to build and get back to where I know I can be.”
Davis had only 178 at-bats this summer and will try to catch up in the AFL. He chuckled after a reporter asked him if he thought he could make the 2023 Opening Day roster.
“I’ll be ready if that’s the vision the club sees from me,” Davis said.
This and that
The Cubs’ 2023 home paid attendance was 2,616,780, their lowest in a non-pandemic impacted season since 1997.
— Marcus Stroman was 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his last 16 starts since July 9.