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 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 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.
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 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.