The season is just flying right by and once again it’s time to vote for the Bleed Cubbie Blue Minor League Player of the Month for July!
The rules are simple. I pick one player from each of the top five minor league affiliates. You vote for the player who has had the best month. You can pick whichever one you want for whatever reason you want, except that I do ask that you make your choice based on what the player did in the month of June. This is an award for performance, not for how good a prospect the player is.
The winner will be announced in Tuesday night’s Minor League Wrap. You can vote up to when I start writing, which will shortly after the first affiliates finish their games tomorrow.
Tomorrow we’ll have a vote on the best pitchers.
If you’re reading on Apple News or Google AMP, you need to go to a web browser to vote.
Clicking on the player’s name will take you to his milb.com page for more information.
With that said, here are this month’s nominees:
Iowa Cubs OF Donnie Dewees
Iowa was a real struggle to decide on a nominee. Ian Happ had a huge month, hitting .324 with a .451 OBP and five home runs. Shortstop Dixon Machado hit .301 with seven home runs in July, which are more than he’d hit in any full season in his eleven-year professional career before this year. But both of those players have long ago lost their rookie eligibility and Happ’s month with Iowa got cut short with a well-deserved promotion to Chicago. Phillip Evans has played in the majors, but he still has his rookie eligibility. Evans hit an outstanding .344/.386/.548 with five home runs. (We can have a discussion about the ball in Triple-A another time.)
But I’m giving the nomination to Dewees because he’s got a tiebreaker that you may or may not think is a cheat. Dewees took the mound in the bottom of the ninth on July 24 with the I-Cubs beating the Missions 5-4. Dewees pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one to get his first career save in his first career pitching performance. He then took the mound again on July 28 and ended a rally by Round Rock in the top of the ninth by getting Kyle Tucker, one of the best hitters in the PCL this season, to fly out. Iowa still lost the game, but Dewees at least gave them a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
But this is an award for being a position player, and Dewees did plenty of hitting in July. Over 23 games, Dewees hit .282/.370/.507 with six doubles, two triples and two home runs. Dewees walked ten times in July and only struck out nine times over 71 at-bats. Dewees scored 12 runs and drove home 14.
Tennessee Smokies/Myrtle Beach Pelicans OF Zach Davis
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you. The Smokies had a miserable month of July with a record of 8-21. Most of the problem was an anemic offense.
Davis didn’t have a great month, but he got on base a lot and he stole a lot of bases after getting promoted to Double-A on July 11. In 19 games for the Smokies, Davis hit .241/.362/.293 with ten steals in 11 attempts. He scored 16 times and had three RBI. Davis walked 11 times and struck out 12 in Double-A.
When you add in the seven games that Davis played for the Pelicans in July, his total line was .253/.354/.301 with 21 runs and 12 steals. (He was caught stealing three times in Myrtle Beach.)
Myrtle Beach Pelicans 3B Cam Balego
If it seems like Balego was always on base in July, it’s because he was. Balego had the best month of his career in July (after a pretty strong June) by hitting .274/.445/.393 with four doubles and two home runs in 27 games. Balego walked 22 times and was hit by a pitch four times in the month. He only struck out 12 times. Balego scored 12 runs and drove home 7.
South Bend Cubs SS Andy Weber
South Bend’s current hot streak coincides with Weber’s current hot streak as he had 15 hits over the final five games in July. Weber finished the month hitting .312/.390/.462 with nine doubles, one triple and one home run over 24 games. Weber scored 14 runs and had 11 RBI.
Eugene Emeralds/South Bend Cubs/AZL Cubs 1 OF Nelson Maldonado
The 21st-round pick out of Florida became the first 2019 draft pick to reach South Bend when he was promoted to the Midwest League on July 28. He then went 4 for 8 in his first two games for South Bend.
But Maldonado spent most of the month terrorizing the Northwest League, where he hit an eye-popping .414/.470/.534 with four doubles and a home run over 15 games. Maldonado also stole twice in three attempts. Maldonado had 11 RBI and scored nine runs for the Ems in July.
When you add in the two games Maldonado played in South Bend and the two he played in Mesa, his final line for the month was .392/.446/.514 over 19 games.
Who is the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for July?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Donnie Dewees
Tennessee Smokies Zach Davis
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Cam Balego
South Bend Cubs Andy Weber
Eugene Emeralds Nelson Maldonado