Yesterday, you had a chance to pick the best position player in the Cubs’ minor league system for 2019. Today we’re looking at the best pitchers in the minor league system.
I’ve picked one player to represent each of the Cubs’ top five affiliates. It’s your job to vote for the one who had the best season, in your opinion. My only request is that you vote on production and not on the player’s status as a prospect.
I want to add that picking five pitchers for this vote was hard! There were a lot of pitchers that had good seasons and put up very similar stat lines. On top of that, there were several cases where one pitcher was clearly better but over something like 30-40 fewer innings. In the end, I relied on “innings pitched” a lot to make a final decision, which is bad news for relievers or anyone who went on the IL, but it is what it is. But if you want to know why pitcher _______ is not included, that’s probably why. Sometimes I just had to make a choice and they were all good choices.
The winner will be announced in Friday’s Minor League Playoff Wrap. There’s still a few hours to vote in the Minor League Player of the Year award.
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 the nominees:
Iowa Cubs right-hander Colin Rea
The Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year was going to get a nomination. Rea made 26 starts for Iowa this summer and lead the league in wins with a 14-4 record and was second in ERA with a 3.95 ERA. (Don’t forget what a living hell pitching in the Pacific Coast League was this year.) Rea was fourth in the league in strikeouts with 120 in 148 innings. He walked 60 and held opposing hitters to a batting average of .255.
Tennessee Smokies right-hander Cory Abbott
Abbott made 26 starts for the Smokies this summer and went 8-8 with a 3.01 ERA. That ERA was good enough for third in the Southern League. Abbott pitched 146 2⁄3 innings and struck out a league-leading 166 batters. Abbott walked just 52 batters. Opposing hitters only hit .210 off of Abbott this year.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans/South Bend Cubs left-hander Brailyn Marquez
Marquez only made five starts for the Pelicans, but what five starts they were! Marquez was 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA in High-A. He struck out 26 in 26 1⁄3 innings and walked only seven.
Marquez also made 17 starts for South Bend. Between the two levels, Marquez went 9-5 with a 3.13 ERA in 22 starts. He pitched a total of 103 2⁄3 innings and struck out 128 batters and walked 50. Opposing hitters managed just a .224 average against him. In a year of home runs, Marquez allowed just five all year. From July 18 to August 20, Marquez had a streak of 26 straight innings without allowing a run.
South Bend Cubs right-hander Cam Sanders
Cam Sanders is the son of former Cubs pitcher Scott Sanders, and yes I had to remind myself when Scott pitched for the Cubs. (It was 1999, and no, he’s not the same person as Scott Sanderson.)
But Cam made a name for himself in South Bend this summer, going 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA. Sanders made 20 starts this year (and one relief appearance that was really a start after a rehabbing Mike Montgomery) and pitched 101 innings. That wasn’t enough innings to qualify for the Midwest League ERA title, but that number would have been good enough for fourth in the league had Sanders qualified. Sanders struck out 84 batters and held opposing hitters to a .198 average. Control was a bit of a problem for Sanders as he walked 53 and hit 10 batters.
Eugene Emeralds/South Bend Cubs right-hander Zach Mort
Mort had a very interesting 2019 campaign. He started the year in April as a reliever for South Bend. When Eugene started their season in June, he was demoted to the Ems but moved into the starting rotation. After seven starts (and two more “tandem starts”) for the Ems, Mort was promoted back to South Bend, where he made five more starts.
So between Eugene and South Bend, Mort had 12 starts and 15 relief appearances, counting the two “tandem starts” as relief appearances. For South Bend, he was 6-2 with a 3.13 ERA. For Eugene, it was 3-3 with an ERA of 3.72.
Between the two levels, Mort was 9-5 with an ERA of 3.39 over 106 1⁄3 innings. Mort struck out 76 batters and held them to a .233 batting average. He walked 37 batters.
Who is the BCB Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Colin Rea
Tennessee Smokies Cory Abbott
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Brailyn Marquez
South Bend Cubs Cam Sanders
Eugene Emeralds Zach Mort