Two of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system swept the Southern League weekly honors.
INF Chesny Young and RHP Paul Blackburn were named the Southern League Player and Pitcher of the Week (April 18-24). It’s the first time since May 2011 that the Smokies won Player and Pitcher honors in the same week (RHP Robert Whitenack, INF Ryan Flaherty).
Double-A Tennessee’s Bijan Rademacher received the Southern League Player of the Week (April 7-17) award last Monday.
Chesny Young has picked up this season where he left off with High-A Myrtle Beach. Young was the Carolina League batting champ last year and he has not skipped a beat at the Double-A level.
Last week, Young went 12-for-25 (.480) with a double, seven walks, four runs scored, two RBI and seven stolen bases. Young finished the week with a .480/.606/.520 slash line for a 1.126 OPS. Young led the league in basehits (12), stolen bases (7), batting average (.480) and on-base percentage (.606).
In 17 games this season, Young is batting .344/.459/.475 with two doubles and two home runs for a .935 OPS. Young has 29 total bases, 8-for-10 in stolen bases and in 61 at-bats has more walks (12) than strikeouts (5). Young has played only second base for the Smokies this season. Last year with High-A Myrtle Beach, Young lined up at second base, third base, first base, shortstop and left field.
RHP Paul Blackburn is often overlooked when discussing the top pitching prospects in the Cubs’ system. Baseball America ranked the 22-year old Blackburn as the 19th best prospect in the Cubs’ system prior to the season.
The Cubs selected Blackburn in the sandwich round of the 2012 draft. Jason McLeod used the pick the Cubs received for Carlos Pena re-signing with Tampa Bay to take Blackburn 56th overall in the draft four years ago.
Blackburn made two starts during the week and did not allow an earned run in his 15 innings. Blackburn gave up nine hits and two unearned runs while holding opponents to a .184 average. Blackburn’s line for the week (two starts): 15.0 IP, 9H, 2R, 0ER, 3BB, 4K.
Blackburn was 7-5 in 18 starts for High-A Myrtle Beach last year with a 3.11 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. This season, Blackburn is 3-0 in four starts with a 0.35 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Blackburn has allowed three runs, one earned, on 18 hits with 11 strikeouts and four walks in 26 innings.
Paul Blackburn has the fifth lowest ERA (0.35) in minor league baseball and is tied for the most innings pitched (26).