The Cubs announced Wednesday the organization’s player and pitcher of the month for May and neither choice should come as a surprise. C Kyle Schwarber took home player of the month honors while RHP Ryan Williams was tabbed the pitcher of the month.
Kyle Schwarber tore the cover off the baseball for the Smokies and Ryan Williams turned an excellent two months with Low-A South Bend into a promotion to Double-A Tennessee.
On the day Ryan Williams was named pitcher of the month he was promoted to Double-A Tennessee. Williams started and won the game after allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. All three runs Williams gave up scored in the second inning. Williams threw 83 pitches in his Double-A debut, 61 for strikes.
Kyle Schwarber, 22, batted .297 (27-for-91) with two doubles, eight home runs, 18 runs scored and 17 RBI in 28 games for Tennessee. He drew 24 walks, and delivered a 1.026 OPS thanks to a .443 on-base percentage and a .582 slugging mark. He ranked first in the Southern League in walks, second in home runs, third in OPS and OBP and fourth in slugging percentage during the month. Additionally, Schwarber led all Cubs prospects in homers, walks, slugging and OPS, while ranking second in OBP.
In 47 games for Tennessee this season, Schwarber is hitting .312 (49-for-157) with seven doubles, one triple, 12 homers, 32 RBI, 31 runs scored, 37 walks and 42 strikeouts. He leads the Southern League with a .439 OBP, .599 slugging mark, a 1.038 OPS and 37 walks while ranking second with 12 home runs and third with 94 total bases.
Schwarber was selected by the Cubs in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2014 Draft out of Indiana University where he was a two-time First Team All-American. He has batted .332 (139-for-419) with 25 doubles, 30 home runs, 85 RBI and 86 runs scored in 119 minor league contests. The left-handed hitter has a .621 career slugging mark and a .432 OBP, thanks in part to 76 walks.
Ryan Williams, 23, went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA (6 ER/34.0 IP) in five starts for South Bend during the month of May. He struck out 23 batters without issuing a walk to any of his 125 batters faced. He tossed four quality starts and twice tied a season-high with 8.0 innings pitched, including 8.0-scoreless frames in the club’s 3-2 win, May 22 vs. Bowling Green. The right-handed pitcher led the Midwest League in WHIP (0.76), while ranking third in ERA.
Williams began the season 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA (7 ER/53.2 IP) in nine games (eight starts) with South Bend. Entering play Wednesday, he struck out 37 batters compared to two walks and held the opposition to a .190 batting average and a .461 OPS. His ERA and opponent batting average are both second-lowest in the Midwest League.
Williams was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2014 Draft out of East Carolina University where he was a Third-Team All-America selection in 2014. He entered Wednesday 6-2 with a 1.23 ERA (11 ER/80.1 IP) in 20 minor league appearances, including eight starts. He fanned 66 batters, while walking just five, and held opponents to a .201 batting average. Opponents hit just two home runs in 80.1 innings of work in the last two seasons.