Bryant and Johnson Receive Minor League Honors and Other Cubs News and Notes

The Cubs named 3B Kris Bryant and RHP Pierce Johnson the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the month for August on Tuesday. The D-Cubs’ teammates finished up their regular seasons with excellent months as Daytona prepared for the post-season.

Kris Bryant hit .381/.438/.762 with nine doubles, one triple and seven home runs in 24 games in August between Boise and Daytona. Bryant finished second in OPS (1.199) in all of minor league baseball over that span. Bryant ended up with a .336/.390/.688 line in his first 36 games in pro ball with 14 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and a 1.078 OPS.

Pierce Johnson went 3-0 in four games, three starts, with a 1.02 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in August. Johnson gave up two runs on 11 hits with nine walks and 22 strikeouts in 20 innings. Johnson was 6-1 in 10 games, eight starts, with Daytona that included a 2.22 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. In 48 2/3 innings with Daytona, Johnson allowed 41 hits, with 21 walks and 50 strikeouts. Johnson finished his season with a 11-6 record in 23 games, 21 starts, between Kane County and Daytona with a 2.74 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP (109 hits, 43 walks and 124 strikeouts in 118 1/3 innings).

The Cubs could have easily named Javier Baez the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month for August. Baez hit .357/.398/.661 in August with 11 doubles and eight home runs for a 1.059 OPS.

For the season, Javier Baez finished with a .282/.341/.578 line with 34 doubles, four triples, 37 home runs and 111 RBI in 130 games between Daytona and Tennessee. Baez ended up with a .920 OPS for the year. Baez led all of minor league baseball in extra basehits (75) and RBI (111) and he finished second in home runs with his 37 dingers.

Jeff Passan posted a Yahoo Sports’ All-Minor League team on Tuesday. Passan polled scouts and executives to pick the team. Four of the Cubs’ top prospects made Yahoo’s All-Minor League team. Javier Baez was named as the team’s shortstop and Passan dropped a new comp on Baez, Miguel Cabrera. C.J. Edwards made the starting rotation and Kyle Hendricks received an honorable mention. Dan Vogelbach also received an honorable mention at first base. Rock Shoulders received a nod for having the best name in the minor leagues.

Christian Villanueva

Christian Villanueva was named Southern League Hitter of the Week on Tuesday. Villanueva capped a good first full season in the Cubs’ system by hitting .304 (7-for-23) with three home runs and six RBI. Villanueva hit safely in each of his last seven games.

Christian Villanueva was a mid-season and post-season All-Star and led the league in doubles (41), extra basehits (62) and total bases (230). Villanueva led the Smokies in RBI (72) and finished behind Javier Baez for the team lead in home runs (19).

In 133 games this season, Villanueva finished with a .261/.317/.469 slash line with 41 doubles, two triples, 19 home runs, 72 RBI for a .787 OPS.

Grimm, Raley and Rosscup

The Cubs added three pitchers to the active roster on Tuesday and have added four since the roster expanded on Sunday.

Justin Grimm, Brooks Raley, Zac Rosscup and Alberto Cabrera will all see time out of the Cubs’ pen this month. Grimm, who was used as a starter in Iowa, will be used as a reliever as well. Grimm pitched out of the Rangers’ pen last season but was used as a starter before being included in the Matt Garza deal. In three games as a reliever, Grimm worked seven innings and allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The additions of Brooks Raley and Zac Rosscup will lighten James Russell’s workload. James Russell has pitched in 70 games this season, 50 innings, and has pitched in 147 games the past two years. Russell has been the only southpaw in the pen for a majority of the season.

With Grimm and Raley in the pen, along with Carlos Villanueva, the Cubs have three pitchers that are stretched out enough to use for multiple innings at a time.

Scott Baker

Scott Baker completed his last rehab start with Kane County on Monday and had a good outing. Baker allowed two runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts. Both runs came on a home run in the first inning. Baker made eight rehab starts this season and ended up allowing 19 runs, 18 earned, on 35 hits, six home runs, 10 walks and 16 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

Baker will be evaluated over the next couple of days according to multiple reports. The Cubs will decide at that point if he will be activated from the 60-day DL and pitch in the big leagues this season. Dale Sveum said that Baker will pitch out of the pen if he is activated.

Scott Baker told Bruce Levine that he feels pretty good. And according to Carrie Muskat, he is healthy.

The Cubs will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster if they decide to activate Scott Baker from the disabled list.

Scott Baker told Carrie Muskat he hasn’t thought about next season “because there’s a lot that needs to happen this year to set up next year.”

At one point during Baker’s rehab process, there seemed to be mutual interest in him re-signing with the Cubs in the off-season.

Kyle Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks took the loss in Iowa’s final game of the season on Monday. Hendricks had a good outing, but did not receive any run support. Hendricks had a very good first full season in the Cubs’ organization.

Hendricks went 13-4 in 27 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP (128 strikeouts, 34 walks and 142 hits in 166 1/3 innings). Hendricks finished with a 3-1 record in six starts with the I-Cubs that included a 2.48 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Hendricks gave up 35 hits with eight walks and 27 strikeouts in 40 innings with Iowa.

News and Notes

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are looking to reach the 200-inning plateau this season.

Dale Sveum said on Tuesday that he does not plan on making any changes to his rotation during the final month of the season. Sveum will continue to use Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jake Arrieta and Chris Rusin in the rotation.

Three pitchers that were not in the Cubs’ system two months ago are leading the way for the D-Cubs into the post-season … C.J. Edwards, Corey Black and Ivan Pineyro.

Patrick Mooney caught up with Tim Wilken and got the scoop on the Cubs’ drafting Javier Baez. And there is a very interesting story that involves Jason McLeod.

The Cubs’ bullpen keeps surprising according to ESPN Chicago.

Starlin Castro and several of his teammates are looking for a strong finish to a not-so-good season.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Theboardrider

    Johnso is a guy that I forget to tout sometimes. But like Hendricks and Edwards he could be a front-line starter. We shall see.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      Yes sir…….Johnson, Rusin, Hendricks, Edwards, Vizcaino……..makes you think Edwin Jackson days are numbered in 2015.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Losing to Miami is a good thing….brings us closer to the #2 pick.

    The Astros have 45 wins.
    The Marlins have 52 wins.
    The ChiSox have only 56 wins.
    The Cubs have 58 wins.
    Milwaukee is only 1 game behind us with 59 wins.

    The LAST thing the Cubs need now is a winning streak. They really
    need to lose them all, if possible, to draft as early as possible.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Chase Headley thinks he’s worth $100 million over 6 years!


    Let’s check the stats, Vin, on
    Mr. Chase Headley vs. Luis Valbuena:
    8 HR ……….vs…………9 HR
    36 RBI………vs………..32 RBI
    .240 BA……..vs……… 225 BA
    .331 OBP……vs………335 OBP
    .368 slug……vs………..370 slug

    There you have it, folks. Luis Valbuena beats Chase Headley
    everywhere except by a few points in BA and 4 RBI (but wait, that’s
    a team stat, LOL).

    Does this mean that Luis Valbuena is the new Cubs’ $100 million dollar 3B?

    • TheWrongGuy

      Great point Rip.
      I think our CUBS in the long run will make out, in the future 3B market, with our overall talent at 3b. We have some really great bats and gloves at the position in the system. It is really nice to see. Hopefully all of this talent turns into some really nice flags at Wrigley Field.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I remember when the Cubs traded away Bill Madlock because he asked for too much money from Wrigley…..Bobby Murcer came back in the trade, he wanted even more money and got it.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Man alive, did that trade make me angry at the Cubs FO!!

        I’m still burning about it 30 years later…..

    • 07GreyDigger

      Remember when everyone kept saying we NEEDED him? Phew. Dodged that bullet.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I didn’t want him, and then he had his career year in 2012.
        Now if he gets the money, he’ll do even worse than 2013.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Soriano had two more RBI’s last night…..just thought you would like to know.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Enough. Please.

    • Ripsnorter1

      That’s 142 AB….12 HR….39 RBI as a Yank.
      And don’t forget those 6 SB as well.

      That’s pretty decent production…..

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Scott Baker getting release….the writing is on the wall…..40 man limit …….too many pitchers on the team…..not enough innings for everyone ………..unless Bowden is waived…..and you don’t do that to Bowden at this point of the season…….Bowden makes less money then Baker does……, Theo would have Baker up here by now if he wanted to.

    • TheWrongGuy

      Don’t look now but Bowden is DFA’d, and Lim is called-up NOT Baker.

      • Ripsnorter1

        We got robbed on the Byrd trade.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Ummm no we didn’t.
          You may believe by production that we did and that is fine. I for one am glad the FO removed a PED user from our roster when they did.

          • Ripsnorter1

            He got busted for PEDS after he left the Cubs.
            I didn’t know he was on PEDS until he left the Cubs.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Which probably means he was on PEDS while he was on the Cubs…

  • cubtex

    If Scott Baker will not get any starts in September….why drop a player off the 40 man roster to activate him? It doesn’t seem that there is mutual interest for him coming back.

    • Ripsnorter1

      He only made $6.5 million on the DL this year…..
      it was a good signing.

      I like Baker. He can pitch when he’s healthy.
      If healthy, I’d love to have him here in 2014.
      Or maybe not…if we plan on going for the #1 pick in the draft.

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  • Rational Logic

    Some seriously great seasons across the farm team. I really don’t remember a time in the last 10 years where we had these types of performances across the board for our top prospects.

  • jtrain23

    I am both excited and scare to see people speaking about Baez and Miguel Cabrera in the same breath. It is amazing to have a guy coming up with that much potential with the bat that also has many tools (speed, super-athleticism, “potential” to be a great fielder) that even Cabrera doesn’t have.

    However, I think we should pump the brakes a bit here. Cabrera is the first triple crown winner since Ted Williams and might do it again this year. I hope the pressure and expectations don’t overwhelm the young man.