Owen Caissie said goodbye to his teens in a big way Thursday night, launching a walk-off grand slam that gave the South Bend Cubs an 8-6 victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Some were surprised when Caissie was assigned to High-A to begin the season after playing just 22 games at Low-A Myrtle Beach last year, and questions grew a little louder when he appeared lost in the early going.
The Canadian ginger went hitless in his first four games and was batting .138 with no homers through the first month of the season. He finally went yard for the first time on May 8 and since then he’s batting .325 with seven homers and 11 doubles. Oh, and he’s doing it all without facing a single pitcher who’s younger than him.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and what appears to be a very conservative 190 pounds, Caissie looks the part of a slugging corner outfielder. He could easily add another 15-20 pounds of muscle as he matures, maybe even more since speed isn’t close to a carrying trait for him. And while he will strike out somewhat frequently, you’ll take that from a guy batting .270 with that kind of pop.
In addition to all the physical tools, it’s evident Caissie has a plan at the plate and is able to make adjustments to his game.
“I was just trying to put something in play hard,” Caissie told SB Cubs broadcaster Brendan King after the game. “He threw me a cookie down the middle and I’m not gonna miss that one.”
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) July 8, 2022
It’s understandable that a lot of fans are very high on a future outfield that includes some combination of Caissie, Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Kevin Alcantara, especially with the report that the Cubs will aggressively shop Ian Happ. My advice would be to temper those expectations just a bit, or at least to keep in mind that Davis is the only one of that group expected to make his MLB debut prior to the 2024 season.
That’s why it seems like the whole “when the time is right to spend” thing might yet be a ways off in the distance. In the meantime, we can at least enjoy the exploits of Caissie and Co. as they matriculate through the system over the next season or three.