The Cubs named Bryan LaHair and Jeff Beliveau as their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year earlier this week, but that's no reason why you shouldn't have a chance to express your opinion. We've been doing the "BCB Minor League Player (and Pitcher) of the Month" all year, so now it's time to put it all together and choose the BCB Minor League Player of the Year.
The same rules apply for the award as they always have. The award is meant to reward production over the course of the season and not their status as a prospect, but you can vote for whomever you want. Besides, anyone who can produce over the course of an entire season in the minors has get at least some consideration as a prospect. You can take into account position and defense, role on a winning team, scrappiness or whatever else you want. It would also be nice if you'd defend your choice in the comments, but of course that's not required.
There are six candidates for the award this season as there is a rookie ball candidate for this award. Roughly, I chose one candidate from each team, but of course some players got promoted over the course of the season. I also tried to balance out the positions somewhat.
The candidates after the jump. They say it's an honor just to be nominated.First baseman Bryan LaHair: LaHair won the MVP of the Pacific Coast League and the Joe Bauman Award for the most home runs in minor league baseball. The 28 year old was a 39th round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2002 and has had a career renaissance since the Cubs signed him as a minor league free agent before the 2010 season. This year was the finest of his career as he hit .331 with 38 home runs and 109 RBI. He had an OBP of ,405 and a SLG of .664.
Outfielder Brett Jackson: The Cubs first round pick in 2009 started the season with the Double-A Tennessee Smokies and got off to a good start before hurting his hand diving back into second base in May. But he took off after getting promoted to Iowa after the All-Star Break and turned in the first of what we hope are many 20/20 seasons in his career. Jackson hit exactly ten home runs with Tennessee and ten with Iowa. He still loves to draw a walk as he drew 73 in 115 games this year. Between Tennessee and Iowa, Jackson had triple-slash stats of .274/.379/.490. He was also named to Team USA this month.
Shortstop Logan Watkins: It was an up-and-down season for the shortstop for the Florida State League Champion Daytona Cubs. After two years of playing mostly second base, he moved back to shortstop with the trade of Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays. The move seemed to unnerve his bat in April as he only hit .138 for the month. But as he got comfortable again, he improved with a .241 batting average in May before exploding when the weather got hot. He hit .443 for the month of June and .321 for the month of July. Watkins finished the season with a line of .281/.352/.404 with 21 stolen bases in the tough-hitting environment of the Florida State League. The 21 year old Watkins is a superior athlete with a sure glove as well. He should stick at shortstop as he moves on to Tennessee and beyond.
First/Third baseman Greg Rohan: Rohan split his time between Peoria and Daytona this season just as he had in 2010, but with much better results the second time around. Rohan hit .314 with 20 doubles and five home runs in the first half-season with the Chiefs and was second in the Midwest League in RBI when he got the call to Daytona. He was even better there, hitting .345 with six home runs in only 31 games. Between the two stops, the 25 year-old Ohio native hit .324/.378/.478.
Catcher Rafael Lopez: When a catcher gets to DH on the days that he's not catching, you know he's got an impact bat. The Cubs took Lopez in the 16th round this year after a four year career at Florida State and assigned him to Boise after three games in Arizona. I don't know how he was defensively in Boise but he had a good defensive reputation with the Seminoles and the Hawks pitching staff had one of their best seasons in years. His final line on the season .319/.383/.449 with six home runs over 57 games.
Shortstop Marco Hernandez: The 18 year old Dominican shortstop has already drawn comparisons to Starlin Castro after his first season in the Arizona Summer League. Hernandez hit .333/.375/.486 in 51 games in Rookie Ball along with nine stolen bases. He's also has all the tools to be a superior defensive shortstop although at 18, he's still pretty raw right now.