The Cubs farm system continues to manufacture solid performances from different players throughout the system. This week, Tennessee Smokies outfielder Billy McKinney and Myrtle Beach Pelicans outfielder Mark Zagunis came in for some love from multiple sources.
First, let’s start with the High-A outfielder, Mark Zagunis. After leading the league in batting average (.478) and slugging (.870) with an OPS of 1.425 this week, Zagunis went home with his first Offensive Player of the Week Award. In his breakout performance, Zagunis hit a double, a triple, two home runs while walking four times and stealing two bases. A converted catcher, Zagunis is now hitting .320/.442/.481 on the year and is the third Pelican to win Offensive Player of the Week on the year.
Which brings us to Billy McKinney, the other Pelican who won the award, before his early season promotion to AA Tennessee. In over 34 games with the Smokies, Billy McKinney is hitting a solid .304/.352/.473 with just a 12.7% strike out rate. After hitting .309/.369/.527 in June, McKinney broke into the top 100 prospect rankings, according to MLB Pipeline, coming in at 98th overall. In the rankings, MLB Pipeline compliments McKinney on his “smooth left-handed swing, outstanding hand eye coordination, bat speed and advanced approach.”
The awards and recognition for the duo doesn’t end there, though, as both players were chosen to represent the Cubs on MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 22, 2015
Moreover, both young outfielders came in for praise on Baseball America’s list of hitting prospects who might be better than we think, discussed yesterday. Clearly, their stock is rising and the widespread recognition serves to remind us that the Cubs farm system remains deep, especially on the positional side.