Yesterday we honored the best hitters in the Cubs minor league system for the first month of the 2021 season and today we’re going to honor the best pitching performances with the Bleed Cubbie Blue Minor League Pitcher of the Month Award!
Just a recap of how the voting works: I pick one pitcher from each of the Cubs four minor league affiliates. You vote for the one that you think should win. The only thing I ask of you is that you base your vote on what the player did over the past month and not on what you think their major league future might be. This is an award for production, not future prospects.
In past years I had five candidates because the Cubs had five minor league affiliates above rookie ball. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with MLB contracting the minors and the Cubs only having four affiliates. For now, I’m picking an extra “wild card” candidate but I’m doing that at my own discretion. I may drop that in future months.
Every single one of these pitchers has been promoted already.
If you haven’t voted for the Minor League Player of the Month, you still have a few hours to do so. The winner of that vote will be announced in tonight’s Minor League Wrap and the winner of this vote will be announced in tomorrow’s Minor League Wrap.
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.
With that said, the nominees are:
Iowa Cubs right-hander Kohl Stewart
Stewart obviously ended the month on a high note with an emergency start in the majors and a huge win over the Padres. But for the purposes of this vote, that start doesn’t count.
Stewart earned that start with the major league Cubs by making four starts with the minor league Iowa Cubs and going 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA. Stewart pitched 22 innings and struck out 23 batters and walked just five. (He didn’t hit anyone either, which sometimes makes a difference in the minors.) Stewart held opposing hitters to a .198 batting average.
Tennessee Smokies right-hander Scott Effross
Effross spent the month of May as a multi-inning reliever for the Smokies, and that’s likely to be his role in the majors if he makes it. Effross made eight appearances for the Smokies and went 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA. He totaled 18⅔ innings in those eight appearances and gave up nine runs, six of which were earned. Effross struck out 20 and walked five while holding opposing hitters to a .232 batting average. (He hit just one batter, in case you’re wondering.)
Like Stewart, Effross’s fine month got him a promotion as he joined Iowa on Tuesday.
South Bend Cubs/Tennessee Smokies right-hander Cayne Ueckert
Ueckert started the season in South Bend, which was an aggressive placement for someone who hadn’t pitched above Mesa before. But after two appearances and three innings in which he allowed no runs and just two hits, he was promoted to the Smokies. Ueckert struck out six and walked no one in South Bend.
In Double-A, Ueckert kept on mowing down batters, allowing no runs in his first six appearances before giving up a two-run home run in his final appearance fo the month.
Between South Bend and Tennessee, Ueckert pitched 12 2⁄3 innings and went 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Ueckert posted two saves in three attempts. He struck out 18 batters and walked just three. He hit no one either.
In case you were wondering, Cayne’s last name is pronounced just as you would if there was no “u” in it.
South Bend Cubs left-hander Brandon Hughes
After hitting .237 for South Bend in 2018, Hughes converted to pitching in the 2019 season. It’s clear that he made the right call.
Hughes made eight relief appearances for the South Bend Cubs and went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He pitched 11⅓ innings and allowed three runs, two of which were earned. Hughes struck out 17 and walked just four. (One hit batsman) Opposing batters were held to a .171 batting average.
Hughes was promoted to Tennessee on Tuesday.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans left-hander Scott Kobos
The Cubs signed Kobos out of Coastal Carolina as a non-drafted free agent last summer (which doesn’t mean what it used to with a five-round draft) and he made his pro debut with the Pelicans this year, which is just a few miles from where he pitched in college. He didn’t stick around Myrtle Beach for long this time as he was promoted to South Bend on June 1.
Kobos appeared in eight games and went 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 ERA. You can’t do better than 0.00 ERA, especially since he didn’t allow any unearned runs either. Kobos struck out 19 and walked four over 11 innings. No hit batsmen either. Opposing hitters managed just a .154 batting average off of Kobos.
Who is the BCB Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month?
This poll is closed
Iowa Cubs Kohl Stewart
Tennessee Smokies Scott Effross
SB Cubs/Smokies Cayne Ueckert
South Bend Cubs Brandon Hughes
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Scott Kobos
As a reminder, the winner will be announced in tomorrow night’s Minor League Wrap.