The Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for May should be absolutely no surprise to any of you. A case could be made for Eloy Jimenez, but it is hard to argue with the choice of Iowa catcher Victor Caratini.
The 23-year-old finished with a monthly line of .366/.398/.573 with three homers. And that was despite missing several days towards the end of the month. Caratini has also ensured that he will be one of the most watched and most discussed players as we head into trade season.
As for the Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May, there was no shortage of candidates. Dylan Cease appeared likely to have this award all but sewn up, but he hit the disabled list and finished the month with just three appearances. That left the door wide open.
There are too many Cubs’ pitching prospects pitching well right now to list them all here; this might be the deepest pool of ‘Pitcher of the Month’ candidates we have seen in some time. Ultimately the Cubs did make a choice, and they gave the honor to South Bend right hander Duncan Robinson. Robinson, the ninth round pick in last year’s draft, appeared in five games in May, started three of them, and pitched a total of 27 innings. For the month, his ERA was exactly 1.00. He struck out 24, walked 2, and limited opposing batters to just a .181 average. He may have cemented his win with the performance he turned in on May 29 – 7 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 8 K.
- Aaron Brooks: 6 IP, 3 R (1 ER) 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Zac Rosscup: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 K
- Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 4, 2B
- Bijan Rademacher: 3 for 4
- Elliot Soto: 2 for 2, 2B, BB
- Zach Hedges: 7 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 1, 2 BB, 2 SB
- Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 2, BB
- Ian Rice: 1 for 2, HR, BB
- Trey Martin: 1 for 3, 2B
- Cael Brockmeyer: 1 for 3, 2B
Birmingham 3, Tennessee 1
The Smokies struck first, but wound up splitting the doubleheader.
- Ryan Kellogg: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Pedro Araujo: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Jordan Minch: 0.2 IP, and a line of zeroes.
- Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 1 K
- Trent Giambrone: 1 for 4
- Eloy Jimenez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Jesse Hodges: 2 for 4
- Andruw Monasterio: 1 for 2, 2B, BB
- Jose Paulino: 0.2 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 2 BB
- Pedro Silverio: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
- Alberto Mineo: 2 for 4, 2B
- Isaac Paredes: 2 for 4
- After splitting the doubleheader, the Smokies are sitting in second place, a full game behind Montgomery. Chattanooga is tied with Tennessee, and Jackson is only two more games behind.
- The Pelicans are in first and have a two game lead over Buies Creek, but Buies Creek is not in second place. Carolina is. And Carolina comes to town starting Thursday. Fortunately for Myrtle Beach, their rotation lines up very well for this series. Adbert Alzolay is up first, and he has been pitching as well as anyone in the system this year. Friday is Tom Hatch, who is a run of some pretty good starts, and he is followed by quietly effective Justin Steele and rotation newcomer Michael Rucker over the weekend.
- Seven Tennessee Smokies were selected for the Southern League All Star Game on June 20, and it is a fairly prospecty bunch. Starting with the mound, the Cubs’ Double A affiliate is sending a pair of starters and one reliever. Trevor Clifton, one of the Cubs’ best pitching prospects, is the biggest name on the mound, but don’t forget about his fellow All-Star Jen-Ho Tseng. Tseng appears to be healthy again, and is putting together a good season. Reliever Daury Torrez and his 0.33 ERA round out the pitching All-Stars for the Smokies.
- Standout defensive outfielder Charcer Burks, a guy who has been having a pretty good season at the plate this year as well, makes the All-Star team in the outfield. Two infielders will be joining him; third baseman Jason Vosler and utility infielder David Bote. Rounding out the contingent is the latest in a line of good Smokies’ catching prospects, Ian Rice.