Bryant, Tseng earn Cubs' top Minors honors
CHICAGO -- Cubs fans will see Kris Bryant at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but he won't be in the lineup. Not yet.
Bryant and Jen-Ho Tseng were named the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The pair will be honored prior to the Cubs' game Wednesday against the Reds.
Bryant, 22, is the team's No. 1 prospect (and No. 3 in baseball), according to MLB.com's Prospect Watch, and Tseng was ranked 14th. Bryant led all of Minor League Baseball with 43 home runs, 78 extra-base hits, 325 total bases, .661 slugging percentage and 1.098 OPS.
Bryant posted those stats, plus a .325 batting average, 34 doubles, and 110 RBIs in 138 games between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season. This year, the third baseman, who was the Cubs' first-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, also was named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and USA Today.
"It was obviously a no-brainer [to pick Bryant], but the nice thing is we had a lot of guys who played well in the Minors," general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. "In a different year, a bunch of guys would've had a gripe. When a guy wins Minor League Player of the Year, it sort of ends the voting."
Cubs fans are eager to pencil in Bryant in the 2015 Opening Day lineup at third base. Hoyer and manager Rick Renteria both cautioned that it's too early for that.
"He'll come to Spring Training next year and we'll see where he's at," Renteria said. "I'm not going to make that decision so far away from Spring Training. He's obviously done a lot, and he's well on his way to being here in the near future."
"The numbers he put up were outstanding," Hoyer said of Bryant. "Talk about being consistent all year, his slumps were really minor. He didn't tire much, and if he was tired, he didn't show it down the stretch. His Double-A and Triple-A numbers were fairly similar. He's very mature and seems to know his swing and he's a guy who doesn't seem to get too down after a couple bad games."
The Cubs do want Bryant to play some outfield to improve his versatility, but Hoyer said as of now, they consider him a third baseman.
Tseng, 19, went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) that spanned 105 innings with Class A Kane County. He walked 15 batters and struck out 85, helping to lead the Cougars to a Minor League-best 91 wins and the Midwest League title. The righty, signed as a non-drafted free agent last year, allowed three or fewer runs in 16 of his 17 starts.
Tseng was at Wrigley Field on Monday with his Kane County teammates.
"His consistency really stands out," Hoyer said of Tseng. "He had a good three-pitch mix with good command and got the outs when he needed them."
• The Cubs have reportedly terminated their player development contracts with three Minor League teams, Boise, Kane County and Daytona. Hoyer said he could not comment.
• Edwin Jackson, sidelined with a right lat strain, was expected to throw a simulated game this week with the hope that he can pitch again before the regular season ends.
• Anthony Rizzo is one of six finalists for the MLB Players Association Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. Rizzo was selected by fans to represent the NL Central. A survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma, Rizzo founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to support cancer research and families fighting the disease. The foundation has raised more than $500,000 with his "Walk Offs for Cancer" and "Cook Offs for Cancer" events. The next 5K walk will be Nov. 16 in Parkland, Fla.