Kris BryantIn August, Javier Baez hit 357/.398/.661 with 8 homers and 11 doubles. He was in almost every headline, and, in that month, he cemented himself as the Chicago Cubs’ top prospect going into the offseason.

And Javier Baez was not the Cubs’ Player of the Month for August.

That honor went to Kris Bryant, who humbled Low-A and High-A pitching to the tune of a .381/.438/.762 line in 24 August games. Overall, he’s hitting .336/.390/.688 in his 36 professional games, and helped Daytona win its first playoff game last night.

Bryant’s teammate Pierce Johnson took home the organization’s Pitcher of the Month honors for August. In the month, Johnson sported a 1.02 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 20 innings of work over four games (three starts). He struck out 22 and walked 9 in those 20 innings. On the year, the 22-year-old righty has a 2.74 ERA and 1.285 WHIP over 118.1 innings spit between Low-A and High-A. He’s struck out 124 and walked just 43. You might see Johnson start the 2014 season at High-A before a quick jump to AA, or he could just start right out at AA. Johnson sometimes gets lost in the prospect hype shuffle – especially after the dominance of Kyle Hendricks this year, and the acquisition of C.J. Edwards – but he remains one of the Cubs’ best overall prospects.

Also receiving honors was Tennessee Smokies third baseman Christian Villanueva, acquired in last year’s Ryan Dempster deal, along with Kyle Hendricks. Villanueva was named the Southern League’s Hitter of the Week for the final week of the season.

Although he started out slowly – 205/.275/.313 – Villanueva turned it on for the rest of the season, putting up an OPS of .840 or better in each of May, July and August. His .261/.317/.469 line might not look like much, but it was good for 12th in the pitcher-friendly Southern League, and Villanueva is younger than just about everyone ahead of him on that list. If his glove remains a plus, the 22-year-old third baseman is going to present a good problem for the Cubs. He’s already on the 40-man roster, but Mike Olt and Baez could present some third base issues. Remember when the Cubs had no options at third base?

You’ll be able to catch more Baez and Bryant action in October when they head to the Arizona Fall League, and Villanueva could play winter ball somewhere, as well.

  • On The Farm

    God that Kris Bryant pick is looking like a really good move right now. Appel looks like he will be a good one too, but Bryant appears to be a great consolation prize.

    • Featherstone

      Not that I am sad that we didnt pick him, but Jonathan Gray is also having a tremendous season.(0.75 ERA with a 13.5 K/9 in 24 innings pitched at High-A). It certainly does feel nice to have made a pick you can really feel good about though.

  • Mike

    So Crazy that if you count Braynt’s College numbers this season he has 40 HR’s in about 100 games, Add Javi’s 37 and the Future looks so bright you have to squint your eyes.

  • jon

    I can’t believe we took Bryant over Gray, we made a huuuuuuuge mistake!!!!

  • jon

    Is it safe to say Villanueva is a better prospect than Olt at this point? He is in my view.

    • Brett

      Both are believed to be above-average with the glove, and Olt has the higher offensive ceiling. But Villanueva had the much better year (at a lower level … but much younger).

      That’s kind of a tough call, actually, though I bet most scouts/execs would still say Olt.

  • ssckelley

    I hope 3rd base is an open competition between Valbuena, Murphy, Olt, and Villanueva next spring.

    • hansman1982


      • ssckelley

        Why not?

        • cubsfanforever

          Because he is crap on a stick. Why in hell would you bring him back when he has no shot at the future.

          • cub4life

            and Valbuena does? you bring him back as comp for 3B thinking that Olt may need to start the season at AAA and Villanueva at AA to start. Then after the first month or so if Olt shows he deserves it bring him up and maybe cut murphy, or send him down to AAA for back up.

          • ssckelley

            I never said I hoped he wins the job, but the Cubs could do a lot worse as a fall back option if Olt does not return to form and Villanueva is not ready. If either Murphy or Valbuena (perhaps both) end up starting 3rd base next season it will only to keep it warm for Baez, Bryant, Olt, or Villanueva.

            The best case scenario is either Olt or Villanueva winning the job out of spring training and Murphy/Valbuena end up being veterans coming off the bench.

    • mak

      I think even Vitters gets in on it. His injury shortened season was pretty good with a .267/.368/.465 in 133 PA (very small SS). I think they’ll roll with a Valbuena on the left side of the platoon and give Olt, Vitters and Villanueva a shot. Baez won’t be long, but it will at least establish some value for those guys for a trade.

      • ssckelley

        Not sure about 3rd base but Vitters might be competing for an outfield position. This off season and next spring will be huge for Vitters, it is time for him to step up.

        • http://bleachenation Sacko

          I doubt they are going to give up Valbuena’s left handed bat. Doesn’t mean he is going to start, just means he will probably stay.

          • ssckelley

            I like Valbuena coming off the bench. He can back up multiple positions.

  • Korean goat

    I hear that Lim is called-up now. is that right?

    • On The Farm

      Yup, Bowden was DFA’d