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Cubs name August Minor League player, pitcher of the month

The Chicago Cubs today named Single-A Daytona teammates, third baseman Kris Bryant and right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson, the organization's minor league player and pitcher of the month for August, respectively. The Daytona Cubs begin post-season play tonight against the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Bryant, 21, batted .381 (32-for-84) with 16 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 21 RBI in 24 August games between Single-A Boise and Daytona. He recorded a .438 on-base percentage and a .762 slugging percentage, good for a 1.199 OPS that was second-highest in all of minor league baseball (Single-A Hickory's Joey Gallo had a 1.292 OPS).

Named the Northwest League Player of the Week for August 5-11 and the Florida State League Player of the Week for August 12-18, Bryant hit five home runs in his first 15 games with Daytona (August 13-30), tied for the most in the league in that stretch.

Selected by Chicago in the first round (second overall) of this year's draft, Bryant combined to bat .336 (43-for-128) with 14 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 32 RBI in 36 games between Rookie League Mesa, Boise and Daytona. He recorded a 1.078 OPS, thanks to a .390 on-base percentage and a .688 slugging mark. Bryant committed just three errors in 34 games at third base between Boise and Daytona.

Johnson, 22, went 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA (2 ER/17.2 IP) in four August games (three starts) for Daytona, walking nine and striking out 22 while limiting the opponent to a .186 batting average. He began the month with 5.0-shutout innings at Clearwater, August 8, then spun 5.2-shutout frames vs. Clearwater five days later.

In his first full professional season, Johnson has combined to go 11-6 with a 2.74 ERA (36 ER/118.1 IP) in 23 games (21 starts) between Single-A Kane County and Daytona. He has walked 43 and struck out 124 in 118.1 innings, good for an average of 9.43 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. Johnson's 11 victories are tied for second-most amongst Cubs minor league pitchers, trailing only Triple-A Iowa's Kyle Hendricks (13).

Johnson was selected by Chicago in the sandwich round (43rd overall) of the 2012 draft and was named the sixth-best Cubs prospect heading into the season by Baseball America. All told, Johnson is 11-6 with a 2.78 ERA (40 ER/129.1 IP) in 29 minor league games (27 starts), allowing just five home runs in his 537 batters faced. He has struck out 138 batters in 129.1 innings, good for an average of 9.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched.

 

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