Schwarber, Johnson honored

Kyle Schwarber and Pierce Johnson have been named the Cubs minor league players of the month for August.

The Chicago Cubs have named Daytona’s catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber minor league player of the month and Tennessee’s right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson pitcher of the month for August.

In 28 August games, Schwarber hit .330 (34-for-103) with eight home runs, 17 RBI, 20 runs scored, eight doubles and a triple. The 21-year-old recorded an on-base percentage of .403 and had a slugging percentage of .660.

Schwarber compiled a 15-game hitting streak from August 14 – August 27, going 25-for-60 with seven home runs and 14 RBI over that stretch. The Middletown, Ohio native smacked six home runs in a five day stretch during his hitting streak, going deep in five-straight games.

Schwarber’s eight August home runs tied him for first in the Florida State League. He also led the league in extra-base hits (17), slugging and OPS, and was tied for third in runs scored, tied for fourth in hits and fifth in batting average.

The 6-foot, 235-pound Schwarber was named Florida State League Player of the Week for the week ending August 24. In two postseason games for Daytona, Schwarber has driven in six runs with a grand slam and two-run single. In 44 games for the D-Cubs, he hit .302/.393/.560 with 10 HR and 28 RBI.

Schwarber is completing his first pro season after he was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) in June out of Indiana University. After signing, Schwarber was sent to Boise and hit .600/.625/.1.350 in five games and earned NWL player of the week award. He was sent to Kane County and in 23 games, hit .361/.448/.602 with 4 HR and 15 RBI. He eared MWL player of the week June 23-29.

After a season that included two stints on the disabled list, Johnson put it all together in the final month for Tennessee

In six outings in August, the Colorado native combined for a 2-0 record and 1.72 ERA (6 ER in 31.1 IP), adding 34 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP. The righty took no-hit bids into the sixth inning in two consecutive starts between August 3-10, and ranked second in the Southern League in strikeouts in August, as well as fifth in earned-run average. Johnson paced all Cubs farmhands in strikeouts, in addition to second in ERA and fourth in WHIP.

Overall this season, the 23-year-old recorded a 5-4 clip and 2.55 ERA (26 ER in 91.2 IP) over 18 appearances, including 17 starts, with the Smokies, adding 91 punchouts. The right-hander enjoyed a solid second half campaign, compiling a 4-3 mark and 1.80 ERA (13 ER in 65.0 IP) over 12 starts with the Smokies while striking out 69 and accumulating a 1.11 WHIP. No qualified Southern League pitcher's earned-run average was lower than Johnson's in the second half of the year.

Johnson becomes the third 2014 Smokies player to be honored with a monthly award by the Cubs this season after outfielder Jorge Soler (July) and infielder Kris Bryant (May and June) were honored. It's also the second time Johnson has been honored by the Cubs as Minor League Pitcher of the Month, receiving the award in August in 2013.

The right-hander was selected by the Cubs in the first supplemental round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Missouri State University. Johnson only threw 11 innings after signing between Mesa and Boise. He started his first full season in Kane County (5-5, 3.10 ERA, 69.2 IP, 74 K, 1.29 WHIP) and was promoted to Daytona (6-1, 2.22 ERA, 48.2 IP, 50 K, 1.27 WHIP). In 49 games (46 starts) over his Minor League career, Johnson has compiled a 16-11 record and 2.68 ERA with 237 strikeouts in 232 innings.

Other player of the month winners for the Cubs include: April—Will Remillard, Tsuyoshi Wada; May—Kris Bryant, Paul Blackburn; June—Kris Bryant, Juan Paniagua; and July—Jorge Soler, Jen-Ho Tseng.

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