The Cubs named their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year on Friday. And while the entire system made major improvements this season, two players stood out above the rest.
Javier Baez was named the Minor League Player of the Year and Kyle Hendricks took home the honor of the Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Javier Baez lit up the Florida State League and the Southern League this past season while showing improvement every step of the way. Baez put together a .282/.341/.578 slash line in 130 games between the Daytona Cubs (76 games) and Tennessee Smokies (54 games) with 34 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 111 RBI for a .920 OPS. Baez took his game to the next level with Double-A Tennessee and hit .294/.346/.638 with 15 doubles, 20 home runs and a .983 OPS. And Baez accomplished what he did this past season as a 20-year old.
Kyle Hendricks is not flashy, he does not light up radar guns but he understands how to pitch. Hendricks dominated at the Double-A level and was 10-3 in 21 starts for the Smokies with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. In 126 1/3 innings, Hendricks allowed 107 hits, walked 26 batters and notched 101 strikeouts. Hendricks earned a promotion to Triple-A Iowa where he finished his season with a 3-1 record in six starts with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP (35 hits, eight walks and 27 strikeouts in 40 innings). Hendricks was a combined 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 27 starts (142 hits, 34 walks and 128 strikeouts in 166 1/3 innings). Hendricks is expected to receive a non-roster invite to camp in the spring.
Mariano Duncan and Javier Baez
Former big leaguer and current hitting coach for the Daytona Cubs, Mariano Duncan, is with the Cubs in Pittsburgh and had several good things to say about Javier Baez on Friday.
Duncan told Carrie Muskat that Baez sent him a text message thanking him for the patience he had with him this past season. Duncan said that he responded to Baez by thanking him for listening to his instruction and making the adjustments. Duncan pointed out that all of the “credit should go to him” because “he works so hard and he listens” plus “he did everything he is supposed to do on the field.”
According to the report, Duncan told Baez to remember to “stay humble” and “pay attention to detail and come every day to play the game right.” Duncan went onto say that he told Baez that when he gets to the big leagues to “be the same Javy that he is right now in the Minor Leagues.” Baez promised Duncan that he would.
Gold, Gold and More Gold?
According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs could have three gold glove winners this season in Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo and Welington Castillo.
The report quoted ESPN’s Mark Simon that the Cubs “have the top guys on the right side of the infield.” Darwin Barney has been very good in the field once again this year and is second in the NL among second basemen in defensive runs saved (10) behind only the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis (11) and tied with D.J. LeMahieu. Barney has played more innings than both players with more chances.
Anthony Rizzo leads all NL first basemen in defensive runs saved with 15, more than Paul Goldschmidt (10) and Adrian Gonzalez (9).
Welington Castillo lead all NL Catchers with 17 defensive runs saved, one more than Russell Martin.
The Cubs’ defense has shown a lot of improvement this season, and the numbers back up the eye test.
Keep Old Style In Wrigley
If you would like for Old Style to continue to be served at Wrigley Field, you can go sign at online petition at KeepOldStyleInWrigley.com.
In the wake of the announcement last week that the Cubs signed an exclusive agreement with Anheuser-Busch that made Budweiser the Official Beer of Wrigley Field, the Old Style executives “mounted a grass-roots campaign to push the team and Levy Restaurants to continue serving the label at Wrigley” according to a report from Crain’s Chicago Business.
The Cubs’ deal with Anheuser-Busch does not prevent other beers from being sold at Wrigley.
News and Notes
Dave Jauss, Junior Lake’s manager in winter ball last year, is not surprised by the success Junior Lake is having in the outfield. Jauss is partly responsible for Lake moving from the infield to the outfield.
Dale Sveum is hoping that Anthony Rizzo’s two-hit, game-winning home run performance on Friday night will lead to Anthony Rizzo finishing the season on a positive note.
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Japanese right hander Masahiro Tanaka “is probably beyond” the Cubs means. And while the Cubs are expected to add a free agent starter or two, Tanaka will probably cost too much.