Since the major leagues are going to award their Player and Pitcher of the Month awards for April right about now, I thought it would be fun for you all to vote for the Cubs Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month. So today I'm asking you to vote on your choice for Cubs Minor League Player of the Month and tomorrow we'll do the same for the pitchers. (Although there is really only one choice for the pitchers.)
I'm asking you to vote purely on how good a month of April they had. You can take into account defense or intangibles or whatever, but I don't want this to be a vote on who the top prospect is. (That would be Brett Jackson, and despite his great April, he didn't make the final cut.)
There was a lot of offense in April, so some deserving guys were left out. But the candidates are:
OF Lou Montanez: The guy the Cubs took with the third pick in the 2000 draft is putting up numbers in Iowa that would have people really excited if this were 2004. Still, you've got to respect a line of .416/.471/.688. He's hit three home runs and 27 RBI in only 21 games played. Those 27 RBI (28 now) lead the Cubs system.
1B Rebel Ridling: Easily the coolest name in the Cubs system since Jericho Jones got released, the 24 year old Ridling is looking more like the interesting 2009 version rather than the disappointing 2010 version. He's been the top hitter on a Tennessee team that's been hitting everything in sight, going .403/.463/.471 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI in 20 games.
INF/OF Ryan Flaherty: Flaherty has been playing all over the diamond, but that hasn't affected his hitting any. He has more home runs than any Cub other than Alfonso Soriano with seven. He's getting on base too with a .350/.407/.675 line. He leads the Smokies in both runs scored and RBI with 21 a piece.
OF Jae-Hoon Ha: Ha has become a folk hero already in Daytona Beach as he's wowed the locals with both his bat and his glove. He's even walked twice in the past three games (now three times in four games) to get his slash stats up to .370/.385/.598. He has four home runs and leads the D-Cubs with 14 runs scored and 17 runs batted in over 21 games. On top of that, he's recorded six outfield assists with his cannon arm.
C Micah Gibbs: Tough to leave off Greg Rohan, but Gibbs leads the Chiefs in OPS and has a reputation as a solid defensive catcher. The 22 year old switch-hitter hit .375/.500/.500 in 14 games, including his first professional home run. He's walked 11 times and only struck out seven. It's been a greatstart after a miserable year in Boise last season.
Sunday's recaps are after the jump.
The Iowa Cubs calmed the Omaha Storm Chasers, 7-5.
Jay Jackson started this afternoon and pitched well, but he exited after 4.1 innings and 88 pitches. He allowed four runs on five hits, although two of them were let in by Austin Bibens-Dirkx after Jackson exited. He gave up five hits and walked three while striking out three.
Because Jackson didn't go five, the win went to Bibens-Dirkx. He pitched 1.2 innings and didn't allow any runners of his own to score, although he did allow the two inherited runners from Jackson to score. He gave up one single and he walked two. Bibens-Dirkx fanned one.
Scott Maine got his fourth save. He didn't give up a hit or a run over 1.1 innings, although he did walk one. He struck out the final batter of the game looking.
Left fielder Lou Montanez is on fire. Not in the Richard Pryor sense, but in the sense that after a 3 for 4 game today, he's hitting .432 with a .489 OBP. Montanez had a double and a walk. Montanez scored twice and had one RBI, giving him 28 RBI in 22 games. On top of all that, he stole a base.
Brad Snyder hit his second home run of the year this year in the second inning with two on and two out. Snyder was 2 for 4 with a walk. Apparently he's going to be a dad in about five months, too.
First baseman Scott Moore was 2 for 5 with a run scored. Catcher Max Ramirez was 2 for 4 and scored once.
The Smokies lost to the Carolina Mudcats, 4-1.
Starter Trey McNutt was cruising through six innings, allowing only two hits, until he got into trouble in the seventh. He allowed singles to the first two batters and then gave up a run by a wild pitch. He was then pulled from the game and he and the coaching staff were looking at his fingers again. It sounds like something related to his earlier blister, although there is no confirmation of that yet. McNutt's final line was 6+ innings pitched and he allowed two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez hit his second home run of the year in the eighth inning for the Smokies only run. He was 1 for 3.
Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu went 3 for 4 with a double. Catcher Steve Clevenger was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.
In the first game, Aaron Kurcz turned in a great start, throwing five shutout innings. He gave up only two hits and two walks while striking out four.
Ryan Searle took the loss when he gave up a solo home run in the top of the tenth inning. Overall, Searle pitched two innings and gave up three hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out one.
Third baseman Matt Cerda was 2 for 4. He scored from second base on a two-out strikeout. After Michael Burgess struck out on a wild pitch, Cerda took off and never stopped until he scored. The Dunedin catcher was charged with a throwing error.
In game two, Dae-Eun Rhee started and made his first appearance since April 9, and it was a good one. Rhee allowed only one unearned run on two hits over 2.2 innings. Rhee walked one and struck out two.
Brett Ebinger took the loss in relief. He gave up the other two runs on four hits over three innings. He also allowed the Rhee's inherited runner to score. Ebinger walked one and fanned two.
Left fielder Evan Crawford went 2 for 3 with an RBI double in game two. First baseman Jake Opitz was 2 for 3 and scored on Crawford's double.
The Peoria Chiefs got stung by the Burlington Bees (Athletics), 4-3.
Austin Kirk turned in a solid start today, going 5.2 innings and allowing two runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out seven.
Yohan Gonzalez took over for Kirk in the sixth inning and he gave up two runs of his own and one inherited runner from Kirk as he was charged with the loss. He gave up two hits and a walk while only retiring one batter.
First baseman Richard Jones hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was his third home run of the season. Jones was 1 for 4.