Selected in the eighth round of the 2005 draft from North Carolina State, Muyco batted below .200 in three-plus minor league seasons. Assigned to Class AA Tennessee for the start of 2008, he was 4-for-21 in eight games this season.
The first catcher drafted by Chicago in ’05, Muyco is now set to join the Cubs’ Extended Spring Training roster in Arizona, where he’ll begin the transition from catcher to pitcher. He received the news earlier this week and was expectedly disappointed to give up hitting.
“I thought with maybe one more year, I might have put it together,” said the 23-year-old Muyco. “But there were a lot of younger guys below me that are pretty solid and can swing the bat. It would have left me out of options, especially if I didn’t put it together.”
For the first time in recent history, the Cubs have some depth at the catching position all throughout their minor league system. Josh Donaldson and Welington Castillo rank as the cream of the crop, to say nothing of Steve Clevenger (who will take Muyco’s spot on the Tennessee roster), Chris Robinson (also at Double-A), Mark Reed and others.
For his part, Muyco threw out over 50 percent of opposing runners in 71 games as a catcher last season, and 48 percent in 83 games the previous year.
Muyco did some pitching in high school, but none since. He doesn’t know how fast his throws to second were clocked, or what his breaking pitch will end up being.
All of that will be sorted out beginning with Extended Spring Training.
“I’m going to make the best of it and hopefully I’ll succeed,” said Muyco. “I’m not getting any younger so this is definitely a good new opportunity and hopefully one I can be successful at and maybe move along quicker.”