Yesterday you voted for the best minor league players of 2018. Today is your chance to celebrate the best arms of the season.
The rules are the same as the voting fo the Pitcher of the Month award. I pick five players, one from each team, and you vote for one of them. I should mention is that players who have passed their rookie eligibility are not eligible either. The only person really affected by this is Iowa’s Kyle Ryan.
This is an award designed to honor the player who had the best season in 2018, not who is going to have the best season in 2022. You can vote for whomever you like, but I ask that you base your vote on who had the best season in 2018 and not prospect status. However, if you have one of the best seasons in the entire Cubs minor league system, you’re going to be some sort of prospect.
I’ll announce the winner in a Eugene Emeralds Playoff Wrap. I hope there will be one.
Clicking on the player’s name will take you to his milb.com page.
If you’re reading this on Google AMP or Apple News, you’ll have to go to a web browser to vote.
The big names at the start of the year are not the big names at the end.
Iowa Cubs/Tennessee Smokies right-hander Dakota Mekkes
The only relief pitcher on the ballot, Mekkes made the list by making 41 appearances this year between Double-A and Triple-A and going 4-0 with 11 saves in 13 attempts. For Tennessee, Mekkes posted an ERA of 0.81 in 22⅓ innings with 8 saves. That earned a promotion to Iowa on June 5. He wasn’t the primary closer for the I-Cubs, who had Dillon Maples, but he was lights-out in a setup role. Mekkes made 25 appearances and posted a 1.44 ERA and three saves.
Combining the two stops, Mekkes pitched 53⅔ innings and struck out 71 batters. He walked 29, although four of those were intentional. (The new extra-innings rules are playing havoc with relievers unearned run and walk totals.) His overall ERA was 1.17. Opposing hitters only managed a .188 average off of Mekkes.
Tennessee Smokies/Iowa Cubs right-hander Duncan Robinson
I just wrote about Robinson for the Pitcher of the Month Award a few days ago, but his season was more than August and those two terrific starts in Iowa. Robinson spent most of the season with the Smokies and was their steadiest performer. He made 24 starts in Double-A and allowed more than three runs in just four of them.
On the season, Robinson made 26 starts and pitched 141⅔ innings. He was 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA. Robinson struck out 119 and walked just 25. Opposing hitters had a .271 average against him, but the low number of walks and large number of grounders meant that number wasn’t that bad. That Robinson gave up just nine home runs in those 141 innings played a big role as well.
Robinson is a ground ball pitcher who just doesn’t walk very many batters, which is a combination that was pretty popular in the seventies and eighties but less so today.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans right-hander Tyson Miller
Miller spent all season in High-A and made a career-high 23 starts and threw a career-high 127 innings. He was 9-9 with a 3.54 ERA. Miller struck out 126 and walked 35. Opposing hitters hit just .220 against Miller. On August 22, Miller had a seven-inning complete game two-hitter.
South Bend Cubs/Myrtle Beach Pelicans right-hander Cory Abbott
Abbott was the Cubs second-round pick in 2017 and had only 14 professional innings before he started this season in South Bend. After nine starts, a 4-1 record and a 2.47 ERA, it became clear that the Midwest League wasn’t challenging him and he was promoted to Myrtle Beach on June 5. He didn’t lose much in High-A, going 4-5 with a 2.53 ERA over 13 starts. Like Robinson, we just talked about Abbott as he was your choice for the August Pitcher of the Month.
On the season as a whole, Abbott made 22 starts, threw 115 innings and went 8-6 with a 2.50 ERA. Abbott struck out 131 batters and walked just 39. Opposing hitters managed a weak .223 batting average off of Abbott. He allowed more than three earned runs in a start just twice this season.
Eugene Emeralds left-hander Faustino Carrera
I feel like I’m repeating myself from the August Pitcher of the Month Award, but I couldn’t justify leaving a player off the ballot because they had a great month of August. That’s actually a reason to put them on the ballot instead. While Brailyn Marquez had a very good season and is a better prospect than Carrera, I had to admit to myself that Carrera had the better year.
Carrera made 13 appearances this season and nine of them were starts. The four relief appearances were all “piggyback” starts of four innings or more. Overall, Carrera pitched 67⅓ innings and went 5-2 with a 2.54 ERA. Carrera struck out 58 and walked just 19. Opposing hitters had a weak .198 batting average this season against Carrera.
Who is the BCB Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Dakota Mekkes
Tennessee Smokies Duncan Robinson
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Tyson Miller
South Bend Cubs Cory Abbott
Eugene Emeralds Faustino Carrera