The first month of minor league baseball since August 2019 is now complete, so it’s time to honor the best in Cubs minor leaguers with the Bleed Cubbie Blue Cubs Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month Awards.
Here’s how it works. I pick two nominees from each of the four Cubs minor league affiliates. You vote for which one had the best month, in your opinion. You can use whatever criteria you want, but I want you to vote on how good a month the player had, not on how good a prospect they are. So please vote based on what the player did in the month of May. This is an award for performance and if we’re just going to give it to the best prospect, then Brailyn Marquez would win the Pitcher of the Month Award for May and he hasn’t even pitched in a game yet this season.
Now in previous years, I would nominate five candidates because there were five minor league affiliates above rookie ball. For the first two months before Eugene started play, I would pick a “Wild Card” nominee from one of the four full-season teams to keep the vote consistent with five candidates. I don’t think I’m going to continue to do that this year, but this month I did pick five candidates to choose from. In both case, the “fifth” candidate was someone who had been promoted mid-month and maybe didn’t have the stats at one location to be a nominee but definitely deserved to be nominated. So most likely, there will be four candidates most months but a fifth one for special cases like promotions or when two players from the same team both had exceptional months. So a fifth candidate will be added at my discretion, for now.
Today we vote for the Minor League Player of the Month and tomorrow we will vote on the Minor League Pitcher of the Month. The winner will be announced in tomorrow night’s Minor League Wrap, so you have until around 9:00pm Central Time on Thursday to vote.
If you click on the name of the player, it will take you to their player page if you want more information.
If you are reading on Apple News or Google AMP, you will need to open a browser to vote.
If everyone understands what we’re doing, the nominees for the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month are:
Iowa Cubs shortstop Sergio Alcántara
The Iowa Cubs finished the month on an eight-game losing streak, due in large part to a large part of their roster getting promoted to Chicago by the end of the month. Alcántara got his promotion to Chicago on Sunday, filling in for the injured David Bote. But Alcántara certainly earned his promotion through his play in the month of May.
Alcántara played 20 games for the I-Cubs and hit a hefty .325/.481/.459 with two home runs, six RBI and 16 runs scored. As you can tell from that runs/RBI split, he mostly batted near the top of the order. Alcántara also stole three bases in three attempts. He’s walked more times than he’s struck out, 18 walks to 16 strikeouts.
Alcántara also provided top-quality defense at shortstop for the I-Cubs. Whether he ever returns to Iowa after his promotion to Chicago remains to be seen.
Tennessee Smokies infielder Levi Jordan
Jordan split his time between second and third base in May for the Smokies. He hasn’t played since May 22 and hasn’t been put on the injured list either, so I can only assume he’s dealing with some sort of “day-to-day” injury that the team hopes he’ll return from soon.
But in the 15 games he played in before he went down, Jordan hit .288/.348/.458 with two home runs and four doubles. Jordan drove in ten and scored six runs. He leads the team with an OPS of .806.
Tennessee Smokies/Myrtle Beach Pelicans outfielder Darius Hill
Hill started the season with the Pelicans and after posting a batting average of .375 in seven games, then leaped over South Bend to go all the way to Double-A Tennessee. He didn’t cool off much against the tougher competition, hitting .319/.365/.391 with one home run in 16 games for the Smokies.
If you add the two spots together, Hill posted a triple-slash line of .337/.368/.416 over 23 games. He had five doubles, one home run and one stolen base. Hill scored 14 runs and had 16 RBI.
Defensively, Hill spilt his time between left and right field and has not made an error yet in 2021.
South Bend Cubs outfielder Nelson Velazquez
Two of the Cubs top hitting prospects, Brennen Davis and Chase Strumpf, both played in South Bend in May and both of them had good months. That Velazquez gets the nod here just says more about what a terrific start to the season the Puerto Rican outfielder is having.
Velazquez started the year in Extended Spring Training and didn’t get promoted to South Bend until May 15, a little over ten days into the season. He’s played 14 games and has had at least one hit in ten of them. He’s had at least one RBI in nine of them.
Velazquez finished the month hitting .380/.396/.580 with three home runs, 15 RBI and nine runs scored. He stole one base.
Velazquez has played 10 games in right field and two in center. If you care about errors, he’s committed two of them already.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans catcher Pablo Aliendo
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Hitting has been a problem for the Pelicans this season. Hill hit when he was here, but he only spent a week in Low-A before moving to Double-A. Infielder Flemin Bautista has been good, but he’s only played seven games.
Aliendo has been the Pelicans only consistent hitter of the early season. The 20-year-old Venezuelan (just had a birthday last week!) is officially playing in the US for the first time (he was in instructs in Mesa last fall) and has not looked overmatched at all. In 16 games, Aliendo hit .294/.390/.353 with three doubles and five runs batted in. He’s also scored 11 times. This is a huge step forward from his time in the Dominican Summer League in 2019 when he just hit .203 with a .344 on-base percentage.
It’s hard for me to tell how good Aliendo has been behind the plate over just a handful of games, but his scouting report when he signed with the club was that he was expected to be a glove-first catcher. So he’s probably pretty good for Low-A.
Who is the BCB Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for May?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Sergio Alcántara
Tennessee Smokies Levi Jordan
Smokies/Pelicans Darius Hill
South Bend Cubs Nelson Velazquez
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Pablo Aliendo
The winner will be announced in Thursday night’s Minor League Wrap. We’ll have a vote for the Pitcher of the Month tomorrow.