cubs azl spring training logoYesterday I wrote that Chesny Young had won the Southern League batting title, the second straight batting title for him and the second in a row for Tennessee. Thanks a little known rule that I had previously never heard of, that was not an accurate report.

When the Southern League officially hands out the hardware, it will go to Ozzie Albies, not Chesny Young.

The rule in question, known as 9.22 (a), works something like this. Albies had a league leading batting average of .322, but did not have enough plate appearances to qualify. Thanks to a mid-season promotion to Triple A, he was seven trips to the plate short. Rule 9.22 (a) says that we should add enough at bats without hits to Albies’s record to bring him to qualifying, and then recalculate his batting average. When the Southern League did so, by adding an 0 for 7 streak to the end of his season, Albies had a batting average of .315. That still led the league, so Albies was the winner.

It is a weird rule, and one that is virtually unknown [Brett: I wouldn’t have thought of it at the time, but now that you mention it, I remember this a while back with Melky Cabrera, who declined to use the rule to “win” the batting title when he was suspended for PEDs]. Even the Tennessee Smokies website, as of last night when I wrote this, still had an article up declaring Young the winner. Very few people, if anyone, expected this outcome.





I wouldn’t say it is a bad rule, though. Players missing out on an award by a few at bats due to a promotion (something that should always be a good thing) isn’t a great situation either. This rule actually strikes me as a reasonably fair way to handle those situations. Unfortunately, in this case, that rule turned against the Cubs.

But I still think Young also deserves at least a portion of the title. Without taking anything away from Albies, it is easy to see this situation as Young losing due to a technicality. That isn’t a great story to end a season on. Fortunately, I think I can fix this. Under the authority invested in me by absolutely no one, I hereby enact previously unwritten rule 9.22 (bn) and declare Chesny Young the Bleacher Nation Southern League Batting Co-Champion for 2016.

Now that that is settled, let’s talk about the playoffs.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans

No game yesterday.

Best of three series: Tied at 0-0
Next game: Tonight at 6:05 PM ET in Myrtle Beach
Matchup: Michael Kopech (Salem) against Trevor Clifton (Myrtle Beach)

This is a fantastic pitching matchup. Clifton has been one of the best pitchers in the organization this season. His ERA of 2.72 and his K/9 of 9.76 stack up against pretty much anyone. After a couple years of refinement, he is now regularly turning his mid-90s right handed stuff into regular outs.

Michael Kopech may be a familiar name if you follow the draft. He was taken late in the first round in 2014 by Boston and had one of the best fastballs in the draft that season. That fastball has helped carry him to an ERA of 2.25 and a K/9 of 14.19 for Salem this season. He can be wild, though, with a BB/9 over 5. If Myrtle Beach stays patient, they might be able to get to him. He did last just 4.1 innings and walk five the last time he saw Myrtle Beach in late July.



Low A: South Bend Cubs

No game yesterday.

Best of three series: Tied at 0-0
Next game: Tonight at 6:35 PM ET at West Michigan
Matchup: Not yet announced.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds

No game yesterday.

Best of three series: Tied at 0-0
Next game: Tonight at 7:05 PM PT at Hillsboro
Matchup: Not yet announced.



Other Notes

  • Remember, most minor league playoff games can be watched with a subscription to Milb.tv, and all of them can be listened to for free via the internet. Just visit the team webpage at game time and look for the link by the box score.
  • For the third straight season, the South Bend Cubs have set a new attendance record. This year the attendance total read 350,803.
  • The end of year honors in the Northwest League have been announced, and there are Emeralds on the list. First all, the Manager of the Year goes to Jesus Feliciano. Given the way the Emeralds stomped all over the league all season long, that isn’t a terribly surprising nomination, but it is a well deserved one. Dylan Cease pitched well enough in the second half to make the Year-End All Star Team, joining fellow pitcher Manuel Rondon. Rondon was also named Pitcher of the Year.
  • Rondon has managed to fly under the radar in the pitching heavy lower levels of the Cubs’ organization, but he has had an excellent season. A 21 year old lefty, Rondon made twelve starts for the Emeralds, posting an ERA of just 1.10 in those starts. His strikeout rate (7.69 K/9) and walk rate (3.45 BB/9) are not as impressive as the ERA, but he helped himself out giving up just one home run all year. His strikeout numbers also ticked up later in the season as his three best strikeout games all came in his final five starts, so it is possible that we will see more improvement from him in that area when he joins South Bend next year. ┬áHe has definitely established himself as one of the pitching prospects to watch next year.
  • And finally, the minor league Player and Pitcher of the Month for August in the Cubs’ system have been announced, and both are from Myrtle Beach. The pitcher should be no surprise: Trevor Clifton. The player, though, you may not be expecting. David Bote, thanks to a .367/.439/.541 line, takes the honors. Bote is a right-handed hitting second baseman who has been in the system since 2012. The Cubs have bounced him around quite a bit, including short stints in Iowa each of the past two years, but his 72 games in Myrtle Beach late this season suggest he is worth a closer look. Hitting .364/.417/.500 in the Carolina League is no small accomplishment. We’ll keep a close eye on this guy in Double A next season.



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