Bote, Clifton honored as August Players of the Month
Bote batted .367/.439/.541 in August, with 12 doubles, two triples, a homer and 16 RBI. The 23-year-old led all Cubs minor leaguers in average and runs scored (22) and was tied with 15 extra base hits. The Cubs’ 18th-round in 2012 ended the season with a 27-game on-base streak and was a key offensive figure as the Pelicans clinched the second-half title. Over the last 64 games, Bote hit .353/.425/.526 with 14 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 37 RBIs. Bote played 12 games with Iowa and seven with Tennessee this year.
In five August starts, Clifton went 2-0 with a 0.85 ERA with 34 K and five BB in 31.2 innings, yielding just 19 hits. Clifton didn’t allow an earned run in four of the five starts, including scoreless outings on Aug. 23 at Carolina (6.2 IP), and on Aug. 30 vs. Lynchburg (6.0 IP). He matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts on Aug. 23 while taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his Aug. 3 outing at Frederick. Chicago’s 12th-round pick in 2013 out of Heritage High School in Tenn., Clifton was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year—going 7-7 with a 2.72 ERA while striking out an organizational-best 129 batters against 41 walks in 119.0 innings. His ERA is the best in the Carolina League by nearly a full run, while he also ranks first in batting average against (.225) and WHIP (1.16), and third among starters in strikeouts per nine innings (9.8). It was Clifton’s second POM award, taking honors back in May.
Rondon, Cease earn NWL all-star honors
Rondon was named the NWL’s top pitcher after going 6-1 with a 1.10 ERA in 12 starts, logging 57.1 IP with 49 K and 22 BB for a 1.26 WHIP. Acquired from the Angels for C Rafael Lopez last July, Rondon spent 2015 with the Cubs in the Arizona Rookie League, throwing 31.1 innings in eight games, five starts (1-2, 4.88 ERA, 1.40 WHIP). After signing as an international free agent in 2012, the Venezuelan native spent his first two pro seasons in the Dominican Summer League, earning all-star honors in 2014. The 21-year-old left-hander will get the start in the Ems playoff opener against HIllsboro.
Considered by some as the Cubs top pitching prospect, Cease made 12 starts for Eugene, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.22 ERA. The right-hander with a fastball that’s been clocked at 100, fanned 66 in 44.2 innings with 25 walks and a .175 BAA. The Cubs sixth-round pick out of Milton High School in Georgia in 2014, Cease had Tommy John surgery after the draft and only threw 24 innings in the Arizona Rookie League last year (1-2, 2.63, 25 K, 16 BB). The 20-year-old was named the NWL Pitcher of the Week for Aug. 29-Sept.5. In two starts, Cease went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing three hits and an unearned run over 10 innings with 18 punchouts and only four walks.
Four promoted from Iowa
OF Albert Almora, SS Munenori Kawasaki, C Tim Federowicz and RHRP Spencer Patton have all be promoted from Iowa and added to the Chicago Cubs expanded roster. All four players saw action earlier this season for the Cubs. Chicago also activated RHRP Hector Rondon from the DL. To make room for Federowicz on the 40-man roster, RHRP R.J. Alvarez was designated for assignment. Alvarez, claimed off waivers from the A’s in June, struggled at AA Tennessee, going 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 20 games. He allowed 34 hits in 23.1 innings, 12 walks, 30 K, and a .330 BAA.