The Chicago Cubs announced their choices for the Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year and the Vedie Himsl Minor League Pitcher of the Year. To no one’s surprise, outfielder Brennen Davis won the Player of the Year Award and left-hander DJ Herz was named the Pitcher of the Year.
The 21-year-old Davis, the Cubs’ second-round pick in the 2018 Draft, played 99 games at three different levels this season: High-A South Bend, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. Between the three levels, Davis hit .268 with a .375 on-base percentage and a .494 slugging percentage. He totaled 19 home runs and 25 doubles while stealing eight bases in twelve attempts. The 271 total bases he had was fourth among full-season minor league players. He also went 2 for 3 with two home runs in the All-Star Futures Game and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. He was also named to the Double-A South post-season All-Star Team.
Herz, 20, was the Cubs’ eighth-round pick in the 2019 draft. In his first full professional season, Herz made 20 starts between low-A Myrtle Beach and High-A South Bend. He threw 81 2⁄3 innings and posted an ERA of 3.31. He walked 44 batters and struck out a whopping 131 batters. Opposing hitters could only manage a .157 batting average against him.
The Cubs also announced a Player and Pitcher of the Year for the Dominican Summer League teams. The DSL Player of the Year was infielder Pedro Ramírez. Ramírez, 17, hit .357 with 11 doubles, 7 triples, one home run and nine steals in 50 games for the Cubs DSL Red team. The switch-hitting Venezuelan had a .417 OBP after drawing 13 walks as compared to striking out 20 times. Ramírez led the DSL in hits with 70 and tied for the league lead in total bases with 98.
Oliver Roque, 19, was honored as the Cubs DSL Pitcher of the Year. Roque pitched in 16 games (two starts) for a total of 31 1⁄3 innings. He only allowed three earned runs for an ERA of 0.85. His record was 1-1 with one save. The Dominican native struck out 26 batters and walked eight while holding opposing hitters to a .125 batting average.
Finally, the awards keep coming for infielder James Triantos. In addition to being named the ACL Player of the Month by Minor League Baseball, the Cubs named Triantos the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for September. (That’s for the entire Cubs system.)
The right-handed-hitting Triantos, 18, hit .391 with four doubles, one triple and four home runs in September for the ACL Cubs team. He had a .417 OBP and a 1.119 OPS for the month of September.
The Cubs took Triantos in the second round of this year’s draft out of James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia.
The Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for September was right-hander Daniel Palencia. Palencia made three starts for Low-A Myrtle Beach this past month, pitching a total of 14.2 innings and posting an ERA of 1.23. He struck out 20 batters in that time and walked just five. Opposing hitters managed just a .160 batting average and a .246 OBP.
The Cubs acquired Palencia along with Greg Deichmann this past July from Oakland in exchange for reliever Andrew Chafin.
Congratulations to all six of those minor leaguers and may they have an even better year in 2022.