Cubs evaluating potential successors to Willson Contreras at catcher

Prospects Miguel Amaya and Moises Ballesteros could be the future behind the plate.

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Cubs catcher prospect Miguel Amaya has been relegated to designated hitter duties in the minors as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Cubs catcher prospect Miguel Amaya has been relegated to designated hitter duties in the minors as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Gregory Bull/AP

The probability of three-time National League All-Star catcher Willson Contreras being traded by the deadline Aug. 2 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 home runs and has a .938 OPS in 24 games in the Arizona Complex League. The left-handed-hitting Ballesteros, a native of Venezuela, has 14 RBI 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 to Tommy John surgery, might 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 in the ACL 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 season.

The 6-8 Hudson, 25, whom former president Theo Epstein scouted before he was selected in the third round of the 2015 draft out of downstate Alton High School and signed for a $1.1 million bonus, has struck out 48 in 35‰ innings at 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 making two scoreless relief appearances since his promotion to High-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 Single-A Myrtle Beach, where he was 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 66⅓ innings.

Let’s play two

The game Friday against the Mets was postponed three hours before its scheduled starting time because of inclement weather and was rescheduled as part of a split doubleheader Saturday.

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (2-5, 4.91 ERA) will oppose Mets right-hander 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 Mets right-hander Max Scherzer (6-1, 2.15) in the makeup game at 7:05 p.m.

Gates for the makeup game will open about 60 minutes before first pitch. Separate tickets are required. Fans must leave the park immediately after Game 1.

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