With the 2016 Minor League (regular) seasons in the books, Baseball America has gone through each individual level of the minors, identifying the All-Stars at every position.
The Cubs, expectedly, had a number of players sprinkled throughout the various teams, but before we get to that, there were a couple of other, more notable bits of recognition.
Namely, BA selected breakout outfielder Eloy Jimenez (South Bend Cubs) and right-hander Trevor Clifton (Myrtle Beach Pelicans) as the Player and Pitcher of the Year for Low and High-A ball, respectively.
Jimenez was recently named to BA’s Minor League All-Star Team, so we knew they had already shown some love for his huge 2016 season, but this is a distinction all on its own. After terrorizing the Midwest League to a .329/.369/.532 slash line, BA is calling the 19-year-old outfielder, Jimenez, the single best position player in Low-A this year. He has clearly (and rightfully) turned some heads this season, so all eyes will be on him come 2017.
But you don’t have to wait that long to see Jimenez hurt some more baseballs, because he’s joined the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for the rest of their playoff stretch , and will be playing in the Arizona Fall League next month. He has had quite the year, indeed.
Trevor Clifton is no slouch, himself. After recently being named the Carolina League Pitcher of the year, Clifton receives some more attention from Baseball America as the High-A Pitcher of the Year. Through 23 starts (119.0 IP) at High-A Myrtle Beach this season, Clifton has posted a 2.72 ERA with an excellent 3.05 FIP. He struck 129 batters (26.2% K-rate) during that stretch, while walking just 41 (8.3% BB-rate). In addition, he’s allowed just a .219 average against. You can read much more about Clifton’s recent success and his ascent through the Cubs system here.
That’s it for the player and pitcher of the year honors, but the Cubs had some other All-Stars listed by Baseball America, as well. Starting pitcher Dylan Cease was named to the Short-Season All-Star team, after putting up a 2.22 ERA over 44 innings pitcher, as was Manuel Rondon who posted a 1.10 ERA over 57 innings of his own.
All in all, the Cubs concluded their regular MiLB seasons with four All-Stars, three of whom are pitchers. It’s still not the strength of their organization, but it is clearly an area on the rise. With the number of young regulars in the Majors already, the Cubs’ system as whole is healthy and productive.