The Chicago Cubs announced on Friday morning that Jeimer Candelario and Dylan Cease have won the Minor League player and pitcher of the month respectively for the month of April.
But what?! No Ian Happ? How could a guy that is taking the minor leagues by storm not be the best position player in the Cubs system so far this year? Well quietly, Jeimer Candelario has been tearing up Triple-A Iowa. So far this season Candelario slashed .333/.443/.679/1.122 while mashing four homers and driving in 21 runs. The Candy Man has done nothing but impress over the last couple of seasons in Iowa, even getting a taste of the big leagues last season. He is currently rated the fourth best prospect in the Cubs system by MLB.com and is seemingly ready for a Major League starting job.
The problem is that Candelario, a third and first baseman, is blocked in Chicago by two guys named Bryant and Rizzo. In order to get consistent starts for the big boy Cubs Candealrio would need to hope for a Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo injury. The more likely scenario is that Candelario is part of a trade package at the trade deadline this July. The Jeimer trade saga has been going on for the last three seasons but this really seems like the year with him being just about as Major League ready as a player can get.
Dylan Cease was the recipient of the Minor League pitcher of the month award after posting an ERA/FIP/WHIP stat line of 1.90/2.80/1.23 with 37 strikeouts (!) through 23.2 innings and 5 starts. Cease and his incredibly high ceiling is currently playing in Low-A South Bend and ranked as the number three prospect and number one pitching prospect according to MLB.com. Now almost three years removed from a Tommy John surgery, Cease saw his draft stock plummet which was nice because the Cubs were able to select him 169th overall. Cease is now cleared for a full season where he can hopefully see his professional career really take off. Look for Dylan Cease and his 100 MPH fastball to only improve off of this first month of the season.