After a banner week of baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Double-A affiliate Tennessee Smokies swept the organizational awards for April. The dominance in the mountains and the road ahead highlight this week’s The Call-up.
Young, Blackburn win organizational honors
To be recognized as a top performer by the organization you work for is a big deal. For each Major League success story, there are hundreds of players that fall to reach their ultimate goal. For Tennessee Smokies infielder Chesney Young and pitcher Paul Blackburn, their hard work has gotten them noticed by the gatekeepers to that dream.
The April turned in by the organization’s player and pitcher of the month are nothing short of amazing.
More from Chicago Cubs Prospects
- Cubs are giving pitcher Javier Assad a deserved shot
- MLB Pipeline ranks Pete Crow-Armstrong as Cubs top prospect
- Cubs Prospect Spotlight: Luis Devers continues to dominate
- Cubs: Alexander Canario wins Southern League Player of the Month
- Cubs: Hayden Wesneski already among team’s top prospects
Paul Blackburn becomes the first member of the Smokies to be named pitcher of the month since Pierce Johnson won it back in 2014. Blackburn finished April 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA in 31 innings. During that stretch, he only gave up three runs, one earned run, struck out 15 while only walking five.
The Jake Arrieta-like stats are ridiculous, and Paul Blackburn provides a glimpse into the pipeline for an organization overflowing with talent.
At the pace Chesney Young is working, the 23-year old will be one of the most decorated minor league the Cubs have ever had, or at least I can remember. Having already been named the Southern League Player of the Month for April and taking Player of the Week for Double-A, Young adds yet another accolade to a career that seems to be soaring early on.
Young produced a slash line .402/.505/.524, 13 runs, two doubles, two home runs, nine RBI, 19 walks, and 11 stolen bases. In the month of April, Young led Cubs’ minor leaguers in hits (33) and stolen bases (11). He ranked second in on-base percentage (.505), third in average (.402), walks (19), OPS (.1.029), and sixth in slugging percentage (.524).
He may be on his way to a strong first half. In the early portions of may, Young recorded a Southern League-best .480 average. With this honor, Chesney Young joins Dan Vogelbach, Kyle Schwarber, and Albert Almora Jr. who all took home Player of the Month honors as a Tennessee Smokie.
Minor League Round-up
Iowa Cubs (15-14) 3rd Place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division
Last Week: (4-3), This Week: @Omaha Storm Chasers May 8th-9th, vs. Nashville Sounds May 10th-13th, @Reno Aces May 14th
Tennessee Smokies (15-16) 3rd Place in the Southern League North Division
Last Week: (2-4), This Week: vs. Mississippi Braves May 8th, @Montgomery Biscuits May 9th-13th, vs. Birmingham Barons May 14th
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-14) 2nd Place in the Carolina League Southern Division
Last Week: (4-2), This Week: @Wilmington Blue Rocks May 8th, vs. Winston-Salem Dash May 10th-12th, @Fredrick Keys May 13th-14th
South Bend Cubs (17-11) 2nd Place in the Midwest League Eastern Division
Last Week: (4-2), This Week: @Dayton Dragons May 10th*-11th, @Lansing Lugnuts May12th-14th
*Doubleheader vs. Dayton May 10th