The Cubs made several roster moves in the minor leagues Thursday, the most notable was the promotion of OF Billy McKinney to Double-A Tennessee.
Billy McKinney more than earned the move from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee. The 20-year old outfielder was recently named the Carolina League Player of the Week after a sensational nine-game stretch.
Between May 4-10, McKinney was 13-for-30 with four doubles, two triples, a home run, nine runs scored, 12 RBI, eight walks and two strikeouts. Prior to his promotion, McKinney led the Carolina League in batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.432) and slugging percentage (.544). McKinney was fourth in the league with 17 walks.
In 29 games for High-A Myrtle Beach, McKinney batted .340/.432/.544 with five doubles, two triples and four home runs for a .976 OPS. McKinney struck out 13 times with 17 walks in 103 at bats.
Billy McKinney becomes the youngest position player in the Southern League, second youngest in the entire league to RHP Tyler Danish.
Billy McKinney started in right field and hit sixth for the Smokies in his Double-A debut on Thursday night.
Minor League Roster Moves and Transactions
The Cubs sent OF Pin-Chieh Chen from Double-A Tennessee to High-A Myrtle Beach to make room on the Smokies’ roster for Billy McKinney. Chen was batting .247/.354/.392/.746 in 28 games with five doubles, three triples, a home run, 15 walks and 20 strikeouts.
INF Wes Darvill was transferred from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee. Darvill was batting .220/.313/.373 in 20 games with four doubles, a triple and a home run for a .686 OPS.
The Cubs released INF Dustin Geiger. After a very good 2013 season with High-A Daytona, Geiger struggled last season with the promotion to Double-A Tennessee. Geiger hit only .223/.305/.376/.681 with 25 doubles and 12 home runs in 124 games. This season, Geiger was 0-for-16 in 13 games with a walk and a RBI (.000/.056/.000).
RHP Ben Wells was released. Wells continued to struggle this season and was 1-0 in five games with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Wells was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft and was unable to pitch to expectations during his time in the Cubs’ system.
Myrtle Beach also announced INF Andrew Ely was activated from the 7-day DL and sent to Low-A South Bend. C Jordan Hankins was activated from the 7-day DL and remains with High-A Myrtle Beach.
The Cubs released INF Tim Saunders. Injuries derailed what appeared to be a promising career. Saunders hit a combined .381/.431/.536 in 49 games over three levels of the Cubs’ system in 2012 with a .967 OPS. Saunders appeared in 36 games for High-A Daytona last season and batted .210/.261/.347.
RHP Trevor Graham was released. The Cubs selected Graham in the 13th round in the 2013 draft. Graham appeared in three games for High-A Daytona last year. Combined between Short-Season Boise and High-A Daytona, Graham was 6-4 with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP (70 hits, 23 walks, 57 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings).