It’s July already, so that means it is time to honor the best minor league performances in the month of June! This month, there is a slight change in the rules. Because the Eugene Emeralds have started their season, a player from the Ems gets the fifth nomination rather than a “wild card” from one of the four full-season teams. But otherwise, the rules are the same. I nominate five players and you vote for the one who had the best month in your opinion. You can base your vote on anything the player did in the month of June. This is an award for production and not prospect status. If it wasn’t, then Eloy Jimenez would win every month and that wouldn’t be very interesting. As it is, Jimenez isn’t even nominated (although he just missed).
Clicking on the player’s name will take you to his milb.com page. I will announce the winner in tomorrow night’s Minor League Wrap. We’ll also have a vote for the Pitcher of the Month tomorrow.
With that said, the candidates are:
Iowa Cubs catcher Victor Caratini: Caratini spent the last three days of the month in the majors, and it’s not hard to understand why, even apart from Miguel Montero. Caratini played 25 games in June because his bat was so special that he played first base or was the DH on days he didn’t catch. Over that time, Caratini hit .345/.384/.586 with four home runs and 21 RBI. What’s amazing is that his batting average and OBP were actually down from what they were in May. Caratini was named to the Triple-A All-Star Game, although he won’t participate unless the Cubs pick up another catcher between now and the All-Star Break and he gets sent back down.
Tennessee Smokies outfielder Charcer Burks: Burks has been a guy who has been hanging around the system since being taken in the 9th round in 2013. He’s been too good to write off as an org guy, but he hasn’t been good enough to be taken seriously as a major league prospect. In 2017, the 22-year-old has taken a big step in the right direction and June was his best month yet. Burks played 25 games in June and hit .333/.413/.533 with seven doubles, one triple and three home runs. He batted mostly leadoff, so he only had seven RBI but he scored 22 times. Burks stole five bases in eight attempts. Best of all this season, he’s making a lot more contact and has cut his strikeout rate, which had always kept him back in the past.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans infielder Trent Giambrone: Giambrone is playing shortstop this summer for the first time in his professional career, and while I wouldn’t call him polished there, he’s certainly shown enough for me to think that he has a chance to play the position in the majors as a utility infielder one day. Giambrone actually didn’t have a good April and he had a flat-out bad month of May. But he turned things around in June in a big way. Giambrone played 21 games and hit .316/.353/.570 with six home runs. In his year and two months in the minors before June, Giambrone had only hit seven home runs total.
South Bend Cubs shortstop Isaac Paredes: Paredes is part of the first wave of young Mexicans in the Cubs system as the front office works to exploit that Mexican loophole in the collective bargaining agreement to continue to sign top international talent despite restrictions. Paredes had struggled in South Bend, both in his late-season callup last year and in April and May, but in June, Paredes began to show some production from the strong, quick wrists that we’d heard about. In 24 games for South Bend, Paredes hit .289/.404/.494 with three home runs, 13 RBI and 12 runs scored. The front office especially has to be happy that he’s learning to take a walk and show some of that “selective aggression” that they like to preach. Defensively, he has good hands and a good arm, but his speed is a touch below average and he might be better served in the majors as a good defensive third baseman. But there is no need to move him off short now.
Eugene Emeralds center fielder Zach Davis: Davis is 23 and was a senior pick in the 32nd round out of Texas Tech last June, so he is facing younger, less-experienced competition that he should dominate. Good thing he is. In 14 games in Eugene, Davis hit .359/.500/.564 with two home runs and eight steals in ten attempts. Yes, Davis got on base exactly half the time he came to the plate. He walked 11 times and he struck out 11 times. Davis had a cup of coffee with South Bend earlier this year, but he should be seeing it again soon.
Who is the BCB Minor League Player of the Month?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Victor Caratini
Tennessee Smokies Charcer Burks
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Trent Giambrone
South Bend Cubs Isaac Paredes
Eugene Emeralds Zach Davis