A pair of the top ten Cubs prospects received honors on Friday, as the organization named its 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year award recipients.
While C.J. Edwards was even receiving consideration as Baseball America’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year – for all of baseball – he was not the winner of the organizational award, mainly because he spent half of the season in Texas’s farm system. Instead, the team’s representative on the Baseball America Minor League All-Star Second Team got the nod, as Kyle Hendricks compiled a combined 2.00 ERA between AA Tennessee and AAA Iowa. Acquired in the Ryan Dempster trade in 2012, Hendricks emerged as one of the organization’s top prospects this season, ranking in the tenth spot on WSD’s updated rankings released this week.
While the lowest ranked of the organization’s top ten list won the pitching award – which is no knock at all, the Cubs simply have a stacked top nine – the winner of the 2013 Cubs Minor League Player of the Year award winner came from the other end of the spectrum. The top prospect in the Cubs organization, and one of the best in all of baseball, Javier Baez, dominated the Advanced-A and AA levels in his second full professional season. The last first-round draft pick of the Jim Hendry era, Baez finished second only to George Springer in the home run department for all of Minor League Baseball’s MLB-affiliated leagues. Highly probable to debut next season, perhaps along with Hendricks, Baez will play multiple infield positions in the upcoming Arizona Fall League season. With the AFL’s Mesa Solar Sox, another top shortstop is on the roster in the form of Oakland’s Addison Russell, and Baez has a similar “problem” with the Cubs. Starlin Castro isn’t going anywhere, and has a grip on the shortstop position for years to come in Chicago, and Baez may have to move to second or third base, potentially moving one or more other top prospects to other positions.