Three Cubs prospects earned Player of the Week awards as Paul Blackburn and Chesny Young, took Southern League honors, while Ian Happ was named the Carolina League’s top hitter.
Players of the Week
Myrtle Beach second baseman Ian Happ was the Carolina League’s Player of the Week, hitting .429/.600/.905 with three home runs, eight RBIs, seven runs scored and nine walks in seven games. The 22-year-old Pittsburgh native began the week by blasting two home runs in a 4-for-5, four-RBI game Monday at Winston-Salem – the first of six games during the week in which Happ reached base multiple times. The Cubs first-round pick last June is hitting .313/.450/.547 in 18 games with three homers, 15 RBI and 3 SB in 18 games. Happ is third in the Carolina League in walks (15), tied for third in RBIs (15), fourth in on-base percentage (.450), fifth in slugging percentage (.547) and 10th in batting average (.313).
In two starts this week, Paul Blackburn dominated the Southern League, winning both games and not allowing an earned run in 15 innings. The 22-year-old surrendered just nine hits and two runs and held opponents to a .184 average, while sporting a 0.80 WHIP. Through four outings in 2016, Blackburn is tied for the MiLB lead in innings pitched (26.0) and has compiled the fifth-lowest ERA (0.35). In his first start this week, the California native tied a career-high with seven innings of two-hit shutout ball in 4-0 triumph over Montgomery. Blackburn would top that with a new career-best eight innings on Friday night, allowing two unearned runs on seven hits in a 5-2 win. In his fifth season in the Cubs organization, Blackburn spent last year at Myrtle Beach, going 7-5 with a 3.11 ERA in 18 starts. Blackburn was named pitcher of the week in Boise in 2013.
Chesny Young hit .480/.606/.520 with seven walks, seven stolen bases and four runs scored over seven games, tops last week in the league in average, hits (12), stolen bases and OBP. The 23-year-old was second in all of MiLB last week in stolen bases and OBP. The Cubs 14th round pick in 2014 out of Mercer University is hitting .344/.459/.475 over his first 17 AA games. Despite winning the Carolina League batting title and setting a league-record by reaching base in 48 straight game last year for Myrtle Beach, this is Young’s first player of the week award.
Pacific Coast League—AAA—Iowa 13, Oklahoma City 6
John Andreoli hit a pair of homers as Iowa collected 17 hits in the win over the Dodgers.
Hitting Recap: Lost of hitting stars in this one as seven different I-Cubs had multi-hit games. LF John Andreoli (.210) hit a two-run homer in the 2nd and added a solo shot in the 6th as he finished 3-for-5. Daniel Vogelbach (.352) launched a three-run bomb in the first and went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. CF Albert Almora (.333) had three hits and scored twice while C Willson Contreras (.375) finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored. RF Ryan Kalish (.390), 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.255) and SS Kris Negron (.310) all had two hits.
Pitching Chart: Drew Rucinski got the start and went six innings, allowing four runs on six hits, including a pair of homers. Armando Rivero got charged with a blown save after giving up two runs in the seventh but got credit for the win. Jean Machi worked a scoreless 8th and Spencer Patton fanned the side in the 9th.
I-Cubs Notes: Pierce Johnson (0-0, 1.13 ERA) gets the start on Tuesday afternoon at Principal Park.
Southern League—AA—Tennessee 6, Mobile 5
Victor Caratini’s two run double in the top of the 6th proved to be the difference as the Smokies beat the BayBears for their fourth straight win.
Hitting Recap: With two outs in the top of the 6th, C Victor Caratini (.235) delivered a two-run double to left to give the Smokies the lead for good. Caratini ended the night 2-for-4 and knocked in a career-high four runs, adding a bases loaded walk and a RBI single. 2B Chesny Young (.359) had two hits, walked twice and scored once. C David Freitas (.321) went 2-for-5 with a RBI and 3B Ryan Dent (.148) drove in a run.
Pitching Chart: Tyler Skulina got the start and worked into the fifth, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks. The right-hander threw 91 pitches, 53 for strikes. Michael Jensen (1-0, 5.06) earned the win despite allowing two inherited runners to scored in the fifth. David Garner tossed two shutout innings to earn his second hold and Corey Black picked up his first save with a scoreless 9th.
Smokies News: Jen-Ho Tseng (0-2, 6.75) is still seeking his first AA win as he toes the rubber on Tuesday morning in Mobile.
Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach
Pelicans had their first day off and head to Potomac (Nationals) for a three-game series before returning home. Jonathan Martinez (1-0, 2.50 ERA) gets the start on Tuesday night.
Midwest League—Low A—South Bend
South Bend had Monday off and are back in action on Tuesday night as they face Quad Cities (Astros). Preston Morrison (1-2, 5.68 ERA) gets the start against the River Bandits.