The Carolina League announced Saturday Myrtle Beach Pelicans’ skipper Mark Johnson was named the league’s Manager of the Year.
Mark Johnson was the Midwest League Manager of the Year last season when he led the Kane County Cougars to the championship. Baseball America also tabbed Johnson its Minor League Manager of the Year. Johnson’s Kane County Cougars had the best record in Minor League Baseball last season.
Johnson, 39, is in his fifth season as a manager in the Cubs’ system and for the fourth time in five years he is taking his team to the post-season. The Pelicans were the Carolina League Southern Division First Half Champions. The Birds are 36-25 in the second half, 3 ½ games behind Winston-Salem.
Mark Johnson will spend his fall in Arizona calling the shots for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL.
OF Mark Zagunis and INF/OF Chesny Young were named Carolina League Year-End All-Stars on Saturday.
It’s been a very good first full-season in pro ball for Mark Zagunis. The Cubs third round pick in the June 2014 draft made a successful transition to a full-time outfielder. Zagunis has played all three outfield spots this year while being rather consistent at the plate.
For the season, Zagunis is batting .273/.405/.420 with 24 doubles, five triples and eight home runs for a .825 OPS. Zagunis has walked (74) almost as many times as he has struck out (81) this season. After a tremendous first half (.320/.442/.481/.923), Zagunis slowed down to a .177/.322/.240 line in July. Zagunis appears to be back on track, slashing a .269/.367/.538 in his last 14 games with three doubles, a triple and three home runs for a .905 OPS.
Mark Zagunis was a Carolina League Midseason All-Star, the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for June and he earned Carolina League Player of the Week honors in June (June 15-21).
Zagunis leads the Carolina League in OBP (.405), second in walks (74), third in runs scored (74), third in OPS (.825) and fifth in slugging (.420).
INF/OF Chesny Young has turned in an excellent season, his first full year in pro ball, and put himself in the conversation for Cubs Minor League Player of the Year. The Cubs selected Young in the 14th round of the 2014 draft and he has excelled with Myrtle Beach after a promotion from Low-A South Bend on May 12.
Young batted .315/.385/.380 in 28 games with the South Bend Cubs. Young had five doubles and a triple for a .765 OPS. In 94 games with the Pelicans, Young has hit .331/.396/.400 with 17 doubles, three triple, a home run and a .765 OPS. Young has 37 walks with 42 strikeouts in 375 at bats. Young is one of the toughest hitters in the Carolina League to strikeout.
Chesny Young set a Carolina League record by reaching base in 44 straight games. During his on-base streak, he recorded a career-high 14-game hitting streak.
Spending a little more time at third base (22), Young has played second base (19), shortstop (10), first base (8), left (9) and right field (6) this season.
Young has 37 multi-hit games and leads the Pelicans in hits (124).
Chesny Young leads the Carolina League in batting average (.331), second in OBP (.396), eighth in slugging (.400), fifth in OPS (.796) and third in hits (124).