The May All-Star team really produced a lot of hitters. April was a little rough month for hitters as they adjusted to playing games that mattered. Once they got to warmer weather, some guys just took off in May. There are also several players returning from April’s squad, 10 of the position players made last month’s team. It is a squad that mostly stacked with Myrtle Beach and Tennessee prospects.
Myrtle Beach – BJ Murray, James Triantos, Kevin Alcantara, Kevin Made, Ezequiel Pagan
This team just pummeled the Carolina League in May. With six batters on the squad, one can see why they won 12 games in a row. Most of them should remain with the team through June. I am excited to see Pete Crow Armstrong at South Bend all of June.
South Bend – Pete Crow-Armstrong, Owen Caissie, Yohendrick Pinango, Jake Washer
Caissie was making a run to be the Hitter of the Month as he had three blistering weeks and then struggled a bit over the last few games of May. Still, the 19-year-old excelled at high as a lead the entire system and runs batted in this month. He’s learning how to adapt against pitchers 3-4 years older than him.
Tennessee – Matt Mervis, Levi Jordan, Bryce Ball, Bryce Windham
Even without Nelson Maldonado and Nelson Velazquez, this team put a lot of crooked numbers on the board. The fact that any one of them can hit a homerun at any time help, but they also are very aggressive early in the count when they get a pitch that they can do something with. That is a refreshing strategy from grinding out ABs and it makes it a much more palpable game to watch.
Iowa – Robel Garcia, Jared Young, Dixon Machado, Darius Hill
Between injuries and players getting called up to Chicago, it was hard to keep track of who was who in Iowa this month. Roberto Garcia led the system in home runs and Jared Young really putting together a second fine month at the plate. I don’t know how much longer the Cubs are going to keep Machado and García in Iowa after June 15 as some minor league free agent contracts can be voided and they can elect free agency.
Myrtle Beach – Luis Devers, Luke Little
South Bend – DJ Herz, Manny Espinoza, Daniel Palencia
Iowa – Caleb Kilian, Matt Swarmer, Cam Sanders
It was a rough month for starting pitchers across the minors as hitters began adapting to what they saw in April. The Cubs were no exception. Even though the Cubs have one of the best winning records in the minors, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Tennessee did not even put one starting pitcher on the squad who met the minimum requirement of an ERA under 3.00. Still, Luis Devers, DJ Herz, Matt Swarmer, Caleb Kilian, and Cam Sanders were a lot of fun to watch. However, Manny Espinosa is probably the biggest surprise out of all this group. His curveball is now being thrown in any count and it’s like he’s pitching backwards a little bit. He’s not necessarily coming out and establishing his fastball but he can command it, but he’s just getting strikes and keeping guys off balance.
Myrtle Beach – Adam Laskey
South Bend – Jeremiah Estrada, Bailey Reid, and Sheldon Reed
Tennessee – Bailey Horn, Bryan King, Danis Correa
Iowa – Brendon Little, Bryan Hudson, Eury Ramos
At the end of the month, there was a lot of movement with regards to relievers. Five players listed above all moved up one level with Bryan King moving up to from Myrtle Beach to Tennessee, where he ended last year. Even more interesting was the fact that four of these guys did not allow a run all month.
Honorable Mention – Ben Leeper, Andy Weber, and Jake Reindl are all on the IL but would have been on here just on the stats they put up. As well, Tyler Payne gets a nod but he did not meet the AB requirement.
Hitter of the Month
This award came down to four players – Pete Crow-Armstrong, Robel Garcia, Matt Mervis, and Levi Jordan. This was the toughest decision I have made in a while. Robel Garcia batted a little over .300 and hit 10 HRs while driving in 21. Matt Mervis had 23 RBI and 7 dingers while hitting a tad above .360. But it was Levi Jordan who hit .377 with 6 HRs and 21 RBI to go along with a .464 OBP and an OPS of 1.193 to lead the system. Congrats to Levi!
Starting Pitcher of the Month
This came down to the last day today, but Luis Devers went out and brought home this plaudit as he threw 24.1 IP this month with a 1.48 ERA to lead the system and he also had 28 Ks. Not too shabby for the just turned 22-year-old.
Reliever of the Month
Bailey Horn took this going away. What separated Horn from the heard in the 0.00 ERA pack was that he struck out 19 in 12.1 IP. Horn was also extremely hard to hit against as opponents only batted .053 versus his 3 pitch mix. Kudos also go out to Sheldon Reed, Bryan King, and Eury Ramos who did not allow a run in May either.
Team of the Month
The Pelicans smoked it going 19-7. South Bend did give them a run for their money going 18-8. That was good to see the two teams do so well. However, the Pelicans win the award for the second month in a row.