The Chicago Cubs have six games left in the regular season.
After that and before the postseason, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (and other organizations/publications) will vote on a number of different awards like MVP, Rookie of the Year, positional Gold Gloves, etc. The winners are announced after the postseason.
Like last year, there should be a number of candidates from the Cubs for just about every award, but it’ll still be some time until we find out who is taking home which piece of hardware.
The Minor League seasons are already over, however, and their versions of those awards have already been given out. In fact Minor League Baseball and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., recently announced the MiLB recipients of the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence and Cubs prospect Chancer Burks took home the honor in left field. To be clear, there is one award for each position in the entirety of the minor leagues. And Burks won it for left field.
Burks, 21, was drafted by the Cubs with the second pick in the ninth round of the 2013 MLB draft. He spent his first full professional season (2014) between rookie ball and Low-A, working his way up to High-A Myrtle Beach here in 2016. There, he hit a solid .247/.356/.407 (which is good for a 115 wRC+), while playing – literally – Gold Glove caliber defense in the outfield.
According to MiLB.com, Burks posted a .991 fielding percentage in 104 games for the Pelicans this season in 214 chances, recording seven outfield assists in the process. Unfortunately, the advanced defensive metrics aren’t quite available for the Minor Leagues, but he has clearly garnered the respect of the voters.
Burks didn’t make the cut for the BN Top 40 prospects during the midseason update, and it might be some time before we see him in the Majors, if he makes it, but a Gold Glove caliber defender (even one with a light bat) can be extremely valuable off the bench. Moreover, that type of player holds a much better chance at being at least a part-time Major League player in general. So this is very good news.
And hey, anytime a Cubs prospect wins an award, it’s cause for celebration. So congrats to Burks on a season well done.