Originally, I wanted to break down the stat leaders in each category for hitting, starting pitching, and relieving. About two minutes into that post, I decided that I’m not going todo that. Instead, the end of the season is coming quickly and I thought it might be a good chance to see who people think might be the Cubs hitter of the year, starting pitcher of the year and reliever of the year.
Myrtle Beach and South Bend end their season on September 10, which is not too far away. while Tennessee finishes on the 17th and Iowa will be done the 27th. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played and a couple of these awards are still up in the air, mainly the starting pitching and hitting.
I ran some polls on Twitter just to gauge what the people are thinking at this point.
Probable Reliever of the Year
It was a tough year for guys coming out of the bullpen this year. We’ve been spoiled the last two summers with Scott Kobos and Jeremiah Estrada flying through the system. Luke Little played at three levels this summer and he’s probably earned himself a 40 man roster spot come November, if not sooner/ Luke has been has been separating himself from the reliever pack by striking out a large number of players compared to the innings that he’s pitched. His ERA is solid at 2.30, but he’s almost the strikeout leader in the whole system in half the innings.. This award is his to lose the next three weeks.
Starting Pitching Is Not That Close
Cade Horton looks like he is the leader heading towards the clubhouse but he’s not in the clubhouse yet. He’s doing very well at Tennessee, but there still at least four more starts for him and we could see Ben Brown come back, who is not in the poll, but does lead a system is strikeouts with 120. Brody McCullers in the running with 3 starts to go.
Next year, the starting pitcher of the year is going to be even more fun as those young kids at Myrtle Beach will not have any limitations on them as they did this year. Guys like Ferris, Gray, Santy, Moreno and Rujano, as well as Horton himself should be pitching regularly into the fifth and sixth innings.
Hitter of the Year – 4 in a Dead Heat
As for the Hitter of the Year, this is way too close to call. Felix Stevens does lead the system in home runs and wRC+, but his batting average and on-base percentage is not that high. Owen Caissie has a much higher average and is close in home runs but his wRC+ is a little bit lower than Stevens. Then throw in Haydn McGeary, who has the highest average of the three, but not as many home runs, but just as many RBIs as well as a wRC+ higher than Caissie. Then, you have PCA who’s turning it on at Iowa and he leads the system in stolen bases, as well as having 18 home runs. I didn’t think I’d be saying that this year. 15, maybe. But 18 with three weeks to go, maybe four? 20 is doable!
The Playoff Hunt
Myrtle Beach is in. With 18 games left. They are just for behind Charleston for the second half title. But they need to use these last three weeks to figure out who all is going to play between the draft picks and the kids that have been there all year. The rotation is pretty much set with Ferris, Rujano, Moreno, Santy, and Drew Gray. Koen Marino has stepped it up lately, and this team is gonna be so much fun in the postseason!
South Bend has a lot of development going on with his players, but that’s not necessarily translating into wins at this point. Cedar Rapids looks like it’s going to win back-to-back halves. So, the Cubs just need to get to second place and they just can’t gain any ground on Peoria this point as they are seven back with 18 to play.
The Smokies have 24 games left and are 7.5 games up on Rocket City. While Chattanooga is in second place, the Lookouts won the first half title. The Smokies’ offense has been a little uneven lately, but the pitching has solidified with Birdsell and Horton coming up. I wonder if we’re going to see Luis Devers join Kohl Franklin, and Walker Powell in that rotation. If that happens, it becomes very formidable down the stretch.
Iowa has moved back into first place in the second half. They also won the first half by half a game, but the international League goes by year-long record,. So, the Cubs are still scratching it out with Saint Paul and will be doing so for the next month.
Players of the Week
Hitter of the Week – Jordan Nwogu hit 3 dingers on the week while hitting .529/.556/1.176/1.732 this week. Yes, those are real stats. Brian Kalmer is the runner up this week. He had a couple of dingers and 9 RBI, but his average was nowhere near Nwogu’s. Still, Kalmer is turning in a tour de force performance at Myrtle Beach that will probably last through the playoffs.
Starting Pitcher of the Week – Cade Horton – 5 IP, 0 earned runs, 7 Ks.
Reliever of the Week – Jose Romero had 7 Ks in 5 scoreless innings of relief this week.
Tuesday and Wednesday should be busy with transactions as the Arizona Complex League ends tomorrow. Some of that squad should be headed to Myrtle Beach.