Jared Young and Duncan Robinson Are the Cubs Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month!

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Jared Young and Duncan Robinson Are the Cubs Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month!

Chicago Cubs

Sometimes, the Cubs Minor League player and pitcher of the month are guys you’re intimately familiar with – a top prospect, a recent draft pick, part of a big-time trade package. Other times, because it’s all about who played the best and nothing else, the players aren’t quite as recognizable. And sometimes, that’s much more fun.

Today, the Cubs announced their June award winners and now you get an opportunity to get even more familiar with Jared Young and Duncan Robinson:

Neither Young, nor Robinson made it into the top 20 of the Pre-Season BN Top 40 prospect list, but Robinson did come in at #27 overall. Here’s a small part of what Luke had to say about him at the time:

Robinson is not exactly a typical pitching prospect in a number of ways. First, at 6’6″, he is one of the tallest hurlers on this list. And at 24, he certainly isn’t among the youngest. His strikeout rate is not very good (6.75 K/9 in 49.1 IP with Myrtle Beach), and while his 47.8% ground ball rate is solid, it certainly isn’t exciting.

But keep an eye on this guy. Conventional wisdom says it takes a little longer for taller pitchers to really settle into their mechanics, and Robinson has only been a professional pitcher for about a season and a half. Furthermore, his walk rate has remained fairly low at every stop, including High A (2.74 BB/9). The fact that he pitched 126 innings a year ago and could probably push for 160 this year also matters.

As usual, Luke showed some intelligent foresight. In the month of June, Robinson made four starts and earned a 1.57 ERA over 23.0 innings pitched. He also struck out 26 batters during that stretch, while walking exactly none for a 27.4 K% and, well, 0% walk rate. Settling into his mechanics, indeed.

Robinson’s most recent start, July 1st, was also excellent, as the tall righty struck out six batters over 6.0 innings and allowed just 1 earned run. Overall, during his first attempt at Double-A (often the hardest transition for prospects), Robinson has succeeded breezily: 3.10 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 22.5K%, 3.3 BB%, 45.7% ground ball rate. With those numbers and at his age, it’s possible he could see AAA before the end of the year, and from there he can be a threat to fill in the rotation as soon as this season if there’s an emergency. In the meantime, if he can keep this sort of pace up, the Cubs may have found a very usable piece – one way or another.

Young missed Luke’s top 40 altogether, but he’s certainly doing his best to not get overlooked again. In his first trip through A-ball, the left-handed hitting infielder is slashing .304/.357/.510 (138 wRC+) with a strikeout rate at just 16.5%. He could stand to walk a bit more than he has (7.0%), but overall that’s very good. And, of course, everything has been trending up lately.

In the month of June (112 PAs), Young has hit exceedingly well: .340/.393/.570 (165 wRC+) and while he hasn’t improved his walk rate (6.3%), his strikeout rate has fallen to just 13.4% while his slugging has ISO has risen to .230. When you’re making that much contact and that much hard contact, the walk rate is almost an afterthought. Chances are, as pitchers begin to respect him more, the walk rate can climb – that is, if he lays off the borderline pitches he’s clearly capable of making contact with, but probably shouldn’t. At 22 years old, Young is another candidate to be promoted before the season is done.

So congrats to both Young and Robinson for good work done. I just love when lesser known prospects win these awards, because sometimes, they turn into something more.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami