Cubs Minor League Leaders and Awards
This past season was quite successful for the Cubs in their minor league system. As the year ended on Monday, several players wound up leading their league in a category or were given a particular award by the league. Here is a level by level recap.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs
Paredes hit .305/.359/.443/.802 with 14 doubles, three triples, a home run, 26 RBI, and had four stolen bases in 47 games (167 at bats). Polanco batted .322/.351/.390/.741 with seven doubles, a triple, a home run, 22 RBI, and four stolen bases in 177 at bats in 46 games. Palma had a 3-0 record with two saves in 14 appearances, along with a 1.91 ERA, 1.134 WHIP, and 37 strikeouts in 42.1 innings.
The Cubs had the most representatives on the All-Star team of any club in the Arizona Rookie League.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds
The Eugene Emeralds tied a team record for wins and had the best record in the Northwest League at 54-22, and the best record in the first half of the season (28-10). Manager Jesus Feliciano was named the Northwest League Manager of the Year.
Left-hander Manuel Rondon went 6-1 in 12 starts with a 1.10 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts in 57.1 innings and was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs
Tied for the second best record at 84-55, the South Bend Cubs had the best first half record (41-28) which led to manager Jimmy Gonzalez being named the Midwest League Manager of the Year.
Outfielder Eloy Jimenez was not only named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player, but also Prospect of the Year. Jimenez batted .329/.369/.532/.901 with 40 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 81 RBI and eight stolen base in 432 at bats, playing in 112 games. Jimenez led the league in doubles, slugging and OPS. Despite being promoted in July, outfielder Donnie Dewees led the Midwest League with 12 triples.
Casey Bloomquist, who made 30 appearances and 12 starts, led the Midwest League with a 1.060 WHIP while teammate and left-hander Ryan Kellogg was right behind at 1.083. Also promoted in July, righty Preston Morrison was named to the Midwest League post-season All-Star Team. Morrison was 9-4 in 16 starts and 17 appearances with a 2.24 ERA, 1.170 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts in 92.1 innings for South Bend.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans
After losing two of the top prospects in all of baseball to trade and promotion, Myrtle Beach posted the best second half record (46-23) in the Carolina League and earned a chance to defend their Mills Cup title. In the process, first baseman Yasiel Balaguert set a club record with 96 RBI, good for second in the league.
Starting pitcher Trevor Clifton led the league with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.160 WHIP, which led to Clifton being named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year. Clifton also had 129 strikeouts in 119 innings, good for third in the league.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies
A core group of players that won two straight league championships had a dismal season, as Tennessee wound up with a 58-81 record. However, all was not lost as catcher Victor Caratini and infielder/outfielder Chesny Young were named postseason All-Stars.
Caratini ended up sixth in the league in hitting and third in on-base percentage as he batted .291/.375/.405/.780 with 25 doubles, two triples, six home runs and 47 RBI in 412 plate appearances. Young ended the season with the league’s highest batting average and on base percentage before a league adjustment took both away from him. For the year, Young hit .303/.376/.387/.763 with 25 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 37 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 491 at bats.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs
The front office left the cupboard a little bare at the top level of the minor league chain, as Iowa managed only a 67-76 record in the Pacific Coast League. The only I-Cub to be in the top of any PCL category was John Andreoli, whose 43 stolen bases led the league and were 12 more than his nearest competitor.