It's time for the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month Award for April. The rules are the same as last year: I pick five players to vote on with at least one from each team. You can vote for whichever one you want, although this award is only intended to reward production for the month, not the player's status as a prospect. We'll vote on the pitchers tomorrow.
I don't think the vote will be close this month, but the candidates are:
Iowa Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo: Rizzo leads the Pacific Coast League in home runs after hitting seven in April. The left-hander is also tied for the PCL RBI lead with 23. Rizzo also got on base regularly, hitting .384 with a .430 OBP.
Tennessee Smokies outfielder Michael Burgess: When Burgess connects with a pitch, it goes a very long way. He only hit three home runs in April but that led the Smokies for the month. On top of that, he cut down on his strikeouts, which gave him a respectable .257 batting average and a .321 on-base percentage.
Daytona Cubs second baseman/outfielder Rubi Silva: The Cuban Silva is in his second season in the Cubs organization, after finishing the season in Daytona last year. This season he's tearing up the Florida State League with a .342 batting average, good enough for third in the league. His OBP was .398 and he's hit five doubles and two triples. One downside is that he hasn't stolen a base, despite being caught stealing five times.
Daytona Cubs third baseman Greg Rohan: Rohan is tied for the FSL lead in home runs with five after the first month of the season. He's not just a swing for the fences guy either, as he's walked more times than he's struck out, 12 to 11. This has given him a triple slash line of .295/.370/.495.
Peoria Chiefs second baseman Zeke DeVoss: DeVoss was last season's third round pick out of Miami, and he's done well in his first exposure to full season ball. DeVoss hit .264 with a .375 OBP, giving manager Casey Kopitzke a solid leadoff man. He leads the Chiefs with 17 runs scored and has stolen four bases in six attempts. He's also shown a little pop with two home runs and a .414 slugging percentage.
Today's games after the jump.
The Iowa Cubs started May off right by embarrassing the Memphis Redbirds, 13-4.
Jay Jackson took the mound in the bottom of the first with a six run lead and he pitched well enough to hang on to the win. Jackson went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out six.
Right fielder Brett Jackson started the game off with a double and then hit a second double later in the first inning to drive in a run. Jackson was 4 for 5 with two doubles. He scored four times and had two runs batted in. Jackson was also hit by a pitch once.
After Jackson led off the game with a double, center fielder Dave Sappelt doubled him to third. Sappelt later capped off the scoring with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth. He was 3 for 6 tonight. He scored twice and had two RBI.
In the first inning with Jackson and Sappelt on second and third, second baseman Adrian Cardenas hit a sacrifice fly to score Jackson and move Sappelt to third. Later, in the fifth inning, he managed the rare feat of singling home two Jacksons with one swing. Cardenas was 3 for 5 with three runs batted in. He scored once.
Shortstop Matt Tolbert went 3 for 5 with an RBI. He scored twice. Left fielder Ty Wright was 2 for 5 with a double. He scored once and knocked two in. Third baseman Josh Vitters was 2 for 5 with a run scored.
The Tennessee Smokies were baked by the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays), 6-5.
Starter Brooks Raley put the Smokies in a position to win, but the bullpen couldn't hold the lead. Raley lasted six plus innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. He pitched to the first two hitters of the seventh inning, but exited after both of them tripled. He walked four and struck out five.
The Biscuits scored three runs in the eighth inning to take the lead off of Brian Schlitter, who was pitching for Tennessee for the first time since 2009. Schlitter allowed the three runs off of four hits, including a two-run home run to DH Kyeong Kang. I guess the bright side was that he struck out the side and didn't walk anyone in the one inning he pitched.
Right fielder Michael Burgess cranked his fourth home run of the season in the eighth inning. The solo shot got the Smokies back to within a run. Burgess went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
First baseman Justin Bour was 2 for 4 with a walk.
It was a long night for catcher Michael Brenly. Not only is he the only catcher on the Smokies roster, but tonight the Biscuits stole a club record seven bases in seven attempts.
The Daytona Cubs wasted an excellent pitching performance by Austin Kirk and had a paw bitten off by the Clearwater Threshers (Philles), 7-3 in ten innings.
Kirk went eight innings tonight and allowed two runs on five hits. He walked two, struck out four and exited with a 3-2 lead.
Larry Suarez was called upon to save the game in the top of the ninth, but he allowed one run in the ninth to send the game to extras. Then he got hammered for three more runs in the tenth to take the loss. His final line was 1.1 innings pitched, allowing four runs on five hits, three of which went for extra bases. Suarez did not record a walk or a strike out.
Shortstop Arismendy Alcantara was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. He scored once.
The Chiefs had the day off as they drove from Fort Wayne to Kane County to continue their road trip. Maybe they stopped by your house when you weren't there.