Congratulations to Bryan LaHair, who was named the Pacific Coast League MVP today. He's the second Iowa Cub to win the PCL MVP after Geovany Soto won in 2007. Eddie Zambrano was the American Association MVP for the Iowa Cubs in 1993.
It's that time again when we vote to determine who is the top minor league player is for August. I think I can guess who is going to win it this month, but I'd like to give you some choices because it's an honor just to be nominated. At least, I think it's an honor just to be nominated.
Again,this award is intended to reward production on the field and is not intended to say who the best prospect. However, you're free to vote for whomever you want. You can also take defense into account: I really wish Anthony Giansanti had hit better this month because of his outfield assists.
The candidates are:
Iowa Cubs center fielder Brett Jackson: Some fans got worried when Jackson was promoted to Iowa in July and he struggled in his first taste of Triple-A baseball. But since the calender turned to August, Jackson has been on fire with a .351/.417/.605 line for the month. Mostly batting leadoff, in 28 games in August, Jackson scored 29 runs. He hit six home runs and stole four bases without getting caught once.
Tennessee Smokies first baseman/left fielder Rebel Ridling: The Oklahoma State Cowboy has always had an all-star name, but he matched it with the bat this month by hitting .374/.429/.659 in August. He hit six home runs and had 23 RBI in 25 games. He's also playing a lot more left field, which is a good thing because if this right-hander is going to make the majors, he's going to need to play more positions than just first base.
Daytona Cubs third baseman/first baseman/outfielder Greg Rohan: Another guy who is looking to improve his value by playing more than one position, Rohan opened some eyes this month by hitting .315/.351/.574 in 15 games for the D-Cubs. Three home runs in only 15 games in the tough Florida State League environment is pretty good.
Peoria Chiefs first baseman Richard Jones: Jones has been one of the real bright spots for the Chiefs this season and he's moving up the Chiefs team record lists for home runs and RBIs. The left-handed Jones hit six home runs and had 26 RBI in 30 games in August which led to triple-slash stats of .333/.395/.581.
Boise Hawks second baseman/center fielder Zeke DeVoss: DeVoss mostly moved to center field this month and freed from the demands of being a middle infielder, his bat took off. DeVoss is also a walk machine as he walked 26 times in 27 games in August. He doesn't have any power as his .312/.467/.376 line attests, but he did steal six bases in eight attempts in August.
Changing subjects: Is there a reason this fanshot of Al's with lots of great photos of the Iowa Oaks/Cubs from the 70s through the 90s is not on the recommended list and a bunch of nonsense that rhymes with "ice" is?
Games after the jump.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx got the start and was impressive for his six shutout innings. He allowed six hits and walked one. Bibens-Dirkx struck out four.
Blake Parker blew the save in the top of the ninth inning, but stayed in the game to pitch the final three innings and get the win. Parker allowed a solo home run to tie the game in the ninth inning and two overall hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Second baseman Ryan Flaherty hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to give Iowa their first lead. It was his fifth home run for Iowa and 19th overall. Flaherty was 2 for 5.
Right fielder Snyder was 3 for 6 with the game-winning RBI. He also scored once. First baseman Scott Moore went 3 for 5 with a double. He scored twice and had one RBI.
DJ LeMahieu was 2 for 5 with an RBI triple. Catcher Mario Mercedes made his PCL debut and was 2 for 4 with a double.
The Tennessee Smokies were blitzed by the Birmingham Barons (White Sox), 5-3.
Brooks Raley started and took the loss. He went four innings and allowed five runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Right fielder Nelson Perez hit two doubles in a 2 for 4 game. He scored twice. Center fielder Jae-Hoon Ha was 3 for 4.
Chattanooga won, so the Smokies fall a game behind with four to play. They have already qualified for the post-season as the first-half champions.
The Daytona Cubs were capsized by the Brevard County Manatees (Brewers), 5-2.
Jeffry Antigua pitched well, but he took the loss after allowing three runs over 6.1 innings. One of the three runs was unearned. Antigua surrendered four hits. He walked one and struck out eight.
DH Michael Burgess hit a solo home run in the second inning. It was his twentieth home run this year and he went 1 for 4 on the night.
The Chiefs allowed three runs in the ninth inning to fall to the Beloit Snappers (Twins), 6-5.
A great start by Starling Peralta was wasted. He pitched five innings and allowed one run on three hits. Peralta walked three and struck out seven.
Roderick Pichardo got the loss in relief when third baseman Arismendy Alcantara made a throwing error on what would have been the final out of the game. Two runs scored and the Hawks blew their Midwest League-leading 22nd blown save of the season. Pichard got one out and allowed one hit. He also intentionally walked one batter. One of the unearned runs was charged to him.
DH Richard Jones was 3 for 4 with his 24th home run this year. It was a fifth inning solo home run. He had two total RBI and scored the one run.
Second baseman Rubi Silva was 1 for 4 with a solo home run in the third inning. it was his third home run this season.
Austin Reed was nearly unhittable tonight as he allowed only one baserunner over five innings: a single in the fourth inning. Reed struck out a career-high seven as he won his second game of the year.
Bryce Shafer saved his 12th game of the year, which is the most for Boise since 1997. Shafer threw a shutout ninth inning, allowing only a two-out walk. Shafer had one strikeout.
Third baseman Willson Contreras was 2 for 4 and scored once.
Shortstop Javier Baez had his first Boise hit, an RBI single in the second inning. He was 1 for 2 before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury. Second baseman Zeke DeVoss was 1 for 3 with a walk and his first professional triple. DeVoss scored once and had one RBI.
Everyone in Boise's division won. That's good news as Tri-City's magic number for winning the East is down to 2 with two to play. If Tri-City wins the East, Boise is likely to win the second playoff spot as they have a one game lead on Spokane in the overall standings with two to play.