It’s done. The minor league post-season is now complete. And what a week it was! Both Myrtle Beach and Eugene brought home championship trophies in their respective leagues! In doing so, the talent in the organization might be looked at a little differently. Both teams should reload with plenty of talent next year. The odds to get back to the playoffs looks extremely good for both teams. With South Bend and Mesa in the playoffs, too, that meant that 4 of the 6 stateside teams made the playoffs, albeit at the lower levels. Still, that is an amazing accomplishment!
The Chicago Cubs also announced that they selected Eloy Jimenez and Trevor Clifton as Hitter and Pitcher of the Year in the Cub system. Earlier in the week, Jimenez was named the top hitter in all of low Class A by Baseball America! Clifton was named the top pitcher in all of high Class A! Congratulations to both players!
I think next year will be an exciting year for both players. Jimenez will turn 20. After his first full season of 140+ games, I think the Cubs are going to let him loose. Unlike this year where he was kept at South Bend all year, I think Eloy will move fairly quickly in 2017 up to AA. He should spend most of the year there, say from June on.
As for Trevor, he will start the year at AA Tennessee, just 35 miles from home. I think he really improved a lot in 2016 by doing the little things. However, the biggest change was his control and a changeup. He only walked 41 hitters in 129 IP, his lowest rate to date as a Cub. In addition, he kept runners close at first, got out of the first inning unscathed most nights, and he became fearless and confident. His last ten starts from the middle of July were amazing with an ERA of 1.90. If you break it down even further, from August 1 to the end of the postseason, he had a 0.82 ERA in 43.2 IP. In other words, he allowed only 4 total runs in 6 weeks.
Just because the minor league season is over does not mean Cubs Central will stop writing about the Cubs system for the remainder of the MLB season. In fact, all next week there will be yearly reports of each affiliate from Eugene on up to Iowa. One post will run a day starting with Iowa on Monday.
Once the playoffs get here, “The Weekly” post on Sunday will still continue to discuss happenings and random notes including fall instructs, the Arizona Fall League, the 40 man roster, and the Rule V draft. More than likely, due to the lack of quality free agents, I am sure the Cubs will use some of their prospect stash to acquire a young and controllable starting pitcher.
At some point, a new top 21 list will roll out, I am not just sure when. It will require a lot of thinking.
Players of the Week
James Pugliese – He had 7 Ks in 4.1 IP of relief to clinch the series for Myrtle Beach. That gets you Pitcher of the Week.
David Bote – The dude has been on fire since mid-July. In the postseason, he hit .557 in the Mills Cup Championship Series. Can’t wait to watch that carry over to Tennessee.
Ryan McNeil – Two big outings this week. He was throwing straight gas including the save in the final game of the Mills Cup.
Affiliate Season Reports
Top Cub Moments of 2016
Cards of the Year
Who to Re-sign This Winter?