Within the last month, several members of the Chicago Cubs organization have won player of the week/month awards across multiple levels.
For some examples, starting with MLB, Jake Arrieta won NL pitcher of the month honors and then Ben Zobrist won NL player of the week on May 9th (MLB). Then, On May 16th, Dan Vogelbach was named the PCL Player of the Week for the Iowa Cubs (Triple-A). And finally, on May 5th, Chesney Young was identified as the player of the month of April for the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A).
But the fun didn’t end there, as the awards have continued to float on in. Most recently, Yasiel Balguert of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High-A) was named the Carolina League Player of the Week, and he was joined by Eloy Jimenez of the South Bend Cubs (Low-A), who was named the Midwest League Player of the Week. That’s an award for every level from Low-A to the Major Leagues for the Cubs organization in under than three weeks …. Not bad.
Balaguert, 22, was awarded with the distinction following his work in the Carolina League during the week of May 16-22. During that stretch (27 plate appearances), Balaguert slashed .308/.333/.615 with two doubles, two homers and eight RBI. Although he didn’t walk much (just once that week), he also avoided striking out (3) and stayed very productive.
Balaguert hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start this season – indeed, he’s hitting .262/.292/.411 after this week – but he’s clearly headed in the right direction. Balaguert was unranked in Luke’s pre-season BN Top 40 Prospects for the Chicago Cubs.
Stepping down a rung on the organizational ladder, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez won the Midwest League’s Player of the Week for his work over that same stretch. In his 27 plate appearances, Jimenez slashed a nearly laughable .458/.519/.958 (that’s a 1.477 OPS), with a .500 ISO, .668 wOBA and a 330 wRC+. You just can’t make this stuff up. When people reference “video game numbers,” this is what that looks like.
Jimenez, 19, had eleven hits (including four home runs) and added three walks to just four strikeouts. The performance pushed his season line up to .327/.363/.526 (albeit with an elevated 25.0% strikeout rate) and with each passing day, he’s looking more and more like the breakout candidate we expected. Jimenez was ranked 10th by Luke in the pre-season BN Top 40 Prospects for the Chicago Cubs, but I wouldn’t be against him to rocket up this and other lists as he continues to terrorize the lower minors at such a young age.
So that’s two more awards for two more members of the Cubs organization. One is a lesser known guy who stepped it up for a week and the other for a big name prospect who’s finally turning into the monster many have projected. Remember, prospects can help out at the Major League level in all sorts of ways. Playing well is the first step to getting there and these two guys have done just that.
For this week, anyway.