After reports on Thursday that Matt Mervis was being called up, the Cubs officially announced Friday morning that they have selected the infielder from Triple-A Iowa. They had an open spot on the 40-man roster, but Edwin Ríos was optioned to Iowa to make room on the active roster. Mervis will wear uniform number 22 and is batting seventh at first base in Friday afternoon’s game against the Marlins.
Sorry, folks who wanted Eric Hosmer to be DFA’d, but that was just never going to happen between the open spot and Ríos having an option.
The left-handed-hitting Mervis batted .286 with seven doubles, six home runs, 27 RBI, 27 runs scored, a .402 on-base percentage, a .560 slugging percentage, and a .962 OPS in 24 games for Iowa this season. His 27 runs are the third-most in the International League, while his 27 RBI rank fifth.
Mervis was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year in 2022 after he batted a combined .309 with 36 homers, 40 doubles, two triples, 119 RBI, and 50 walks to build a .379 on-base percentage and a .984 OPS. That all happened across three levels of the organization, from High-A South Bend to Double-A Tennessee and then Iowa. His 36 home runs were the most by a Cubs minor leaguer since Kris Bryant hit 43 in 2014.
Following the 2022 season, Mervis was named a MiLB.com Cubs Organizational All-Star and was named to the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Team as he batted .262 with six home runs and 12 RBI in 17 games for Mesa. In March 2023, Mervis played in four games for Team Israel during the World Baseball Classic.
The 6-foot-4 Mervis was signed by the Cubs as an undrafted free agent in June of 2020, though that’s only because the draft was limited to five rounds so owners could save money in the pandemic-shortened season. Originally selected by Washington in the 39th round of the 2016 draft, he elected to attend Duke University and worked as a two-way player. Maybe David Ross can use Mervis on the mound if things get rough.
Ríos, 29, is batting .100 with one homer, one double, and two RBI in 12 games with Chicago this season. The left-handed hitting infielder signed with the Cubs as a free agent in February.