Accolades keep rolling in for Cubs prospects

Accolades keep rolling in for Cubs prospects
September 12, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

It's not a bold statement to say Javier Baez has been a bigger story than almost anything else surrounding the Chicago Cubs this year.

Thursday, he was recognized for his phenomenal season with a spot on the Baseball America 2013 Minor League All-Star team.

Red Sox uber-prospect Xander Bogaerts was listed as the shortstop, but Baez was tabbed as the designated hitter after generating 37 homers in 130 games between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.

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Baez led the entire minor leagues with 75 extra-base hits and 111 RBI and is still just 20 years old. He put up a .983 OPS in 54 games with the Smokies and hit .325 with runners in scoring position all season.

Pitchers C.J. Edwards and Kyle Hendricks joined Baez on the BA Minor League All-Star team, though Hendricks was named to the second team while Edwards and Baez were first-teamers.

Hendricks began the season in Double-A with a sparkling 1.85 ERA and hardly missed a beat after a promotion to Triple-A where he had a 2.48 ERA in six starts.

On the season as a whole, Hendricks, 23, was 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He walked just 34 guys in 166.1 innings and struck out 128.

[MORE: Javier Baez, Edwin Jackson and how Hoyer looks at 2014]

Edwards has come out of nowhwere to position himself as one of the top pitching prospects in the game. A 48th-round pick of the Rangers in 2011, Edwards, 22, has given up just one home run in 183.1 innings of professional baseball.

The Cubs insisted Edwards be included in the Matt Garza trade before July's non-waiver deadline and he continued his hot season with a 1.96 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 12.9 K/9 in six starts in the Cubs organization. Check out more of his interesting back story at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Edwards helped lead High-A Daytona to a championship earlier this week, starring alongside No. 2 pick Kris Bryant -- among others -- and gaining some valuable postseason experience.

"[The playoffs were] just more intense," Edwards said, according to "In the regular season and playoffs, it's totally different. It's a different atmosphere. I don't care if it's the Arizona League or the Dominican Summer League, once the playoffs come, everything changes. Your body changes and everything.

"You're going to have butterflies. I have those every game, anyway. There's a lot that changes, though. Going out, you have to be more focused. I focus in every game, but in the playoffs, you have to have more of it. It's a different atmosphere and it feels like anything can happen."

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Will Edwards be getting butterflies pitching in October at Wrigley Field in the next couple years?

The 6-foot-2, 155-pound righty has emerged as quite possibly the Cubs' top minor-league arm and could join Baez, Bryant, Jorge Soler and Albert Almora among the organization's Top 5 prospects.

With buzz already humming about possible MLB debuts from Baez or Bryant next season, Edwards could find himself pitching at Double-A Tennessee to start 2014. If he continues to dominate, he'll be on the fast track to the big leagues, too.