It’s kind of amazing that, in a year with so many big-time breakouts in the Chicago Cubs farm system, we could’ve pegged the minor league player and pitcher of the year before today. We all knew it was going to be Matt Mervis and Luis Devers. That’s not to say there weren’t REALLY GREAT other performances on the farm this year. Performances that would have, in other seasons, really been in consideration for these honors. It’s just that Mervis and Devers were so very ridiculous.
So, yeah, sure enough: they are the two. Very, very well-deserved awards for Mervis and Devers:
From the official team release:
The Chicago Cubs today named infielder Matt Mervis the Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Luis Devers the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Mervis, 24, hit .309 (158-for-512) with 40 doubles, two triples, 36 home runs, 119 RBI and 50 walks, contributing to a .379 on-base percentage, .606 slugging percentage and a .984 OPS in 137 games between High-A South Bend, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season. The left-handed hitting infielder led minor league baseball in RBI and tallied the most RBI by any minor leaguer in a season since Mason Martin recorded 129 in 2019. Mervis’ 36 home runs were the most by a Cubs minor leaguer in a season since Kris Bryant’s 43 in 2014.
The six-foot, four-inch Mervis began the 2022 campaign by hitting .350 (35-for-100) with nine doubles, seven home runs, 29 RBI and a 1.039 OPS in 27 games for South Bend. He was named Midwest League Player of the Week for the week of May 9-15 after he hit .571 (12-for-21) with four doubles, two home runs and six RBI in five games, including four-straight multi-hit efforts from May 10-13.
Following his promotion to Tennessee on May 17, Mervis hit .301 (61-for-203) with 16 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 53 games with the Smokies, before ending the campaign batting .297 (62-for-209) with 15 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 39 RBI in 57 games with the I-Cubs. The Washington, D.C., native was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month for August and tallied an 11-game hitting streak from August 18-Sept. 4, including a three-game home run streak from Sept. 1-4.
All told, Mervis has played 210 career minor league games in two seasons, batting .275 (212-for-771) with 52 doubles, three triples, 45 home runs, 163 RBI and an .881 OPS. Mervis graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland and played four seasons at Duke University before signing with the Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 2020.
Devers, 22, went 13-3 with a 1.91 ERA (25 ER/117.2 IP), 122 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP, while holding opponents to a .206 average (86-for-417) in 26 games (22 starts) for Low-A Myrtle Beach and South Bend. The righthander completed at least 5.0 innings in 18 of his starts and allowed two or fewer runs in 22 outings. He began the 2022 campaign by going 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA (19 ER/66.1 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) with Myrtle Beach, before going 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA (6 ER/51.1 IP) in 11 games (eight starts) with South Bend, helping the club to a Midwest League title.
The six-foot, three-inch Devers was named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May after he went 4-1 with a 1.48 ERA (4 ER/24.1 IP), 28 strikeouts and a 0.90 WHIP in five starts. His 13 wins were the most among Cubs minor leaguers and tied for the third-most in minor league baseball, while his 1.91 ERA was the second-lowest among minor leaguers with at least 20 starts this season.
A Samaná, D.R., native, Devers owns a career 20-17 record with a 2.53 ERA (82 ER/291.2 IP) with 290 strikeouts in 68 minor league games (60 starts) in parts of five professional seasons, all with the Cubs organization. Devers signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent, July 20, 2017.