Mervis hit .309 with 36 homers in 2022
Mervis hit .309 with 36 homers in 2022

Cubs name Matt Mervis and Luis Devers minor league player and pitcher of the year


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CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today named infielder Matt Mervis the Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Luis Devers the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

Mervis, 24, hit .309 (158-for-512) with 40 doubles, two triples, 36 home runs, 119 RBI and 50 walks, contributing to a .379 on-base percentage, .606 slugging percentage and a .984 OPS in 137 games between High-A South Bend, Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa this season. The left-handed hitting infielder led minor league baseball in RBI and tallied the most RBI by any minor leaguer in a season since Mason Martin recorded 129 in 2019. Mervis’ 36 home runs were the most by a Cubs minor leaguer in a season since Kris Bryant’s 43 in 2014.

The six-foot, four-inch Mervis began the 2022 campaign by hitting .350 (35-for-100) with nine doubles, seven home runs, 29 RBI and a 1.039 OPS in 27 games for South Bend. He was named Midwest League Player of the Week for the week of May 9-15 after he hit .571 (12-for-21) with four doubles, two home runs and six RBI in five games, including four-straight multi-hit efforts from May 10-13.

Following his promotion to Tennessee on May 17, Mervis hit .301 (61-for-203) with 16 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 53 games with the Smokies, before ending the campaign batting .297 (62-for-209) with 15 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 39 RBI in 57 games with the I-Cubs. The Washington, D.C., native was named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Month for August and tallied an 11-game hitting streak from August 18-Sept. 4, including a three-game home run streak from Sept. 1-4.

All told, Mervis has played 210 career minor league games in two seasons, batting .275 (212-for-771) with 52 doubles, three triples, 45 home runs, 163 RBI and an .881 OPS. Mervis graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland and played four seasons at Duke University before signing with the Cubs as an undrafted free agent in 2020.

Devers, 22, went 13-3 with a 1.91 ERA (25 ER/117.2 IP), 122 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP, while holding opponents to a .206 average (86-for-417) in 26 games (22 starts) for Low-A Myrtle Beach and South Bend. The righthander completed at least 5.0 innings in 18 of his starts and allowed two or fewer runs in 22 outings. He began the 2022 campaign by going 9-3 with a 2.58 ERA (19 ER/66.1 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) with Myrtle Beach, before going 4-0 with a 1.05 ERA (6 ER/51.1 IP) in 11 games (eight starts) with South Bend, helping the club to a Midwest League title.

The six-foot, three-inch Devers was named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May after he went 4-1 with a 1.48 ERA (4 ER/24.1 IP), 28 strikeouts and a 0.90 WHIP in five starts. His 13 wins were the most among Cubs minor leaguers and tied for the third-most in minor league baseball, while his 1.91 ERA was the second-lowest among minor leaguers with at least 20 starts this season.

A Samaná, D.R., native, Devers owns a career 20-17 record with a 2.53 ERA (82 ER/291.2 IP) with 290 strikeouts in 68 minor league games (60 starts) in parts of five professional seasons, all with the Cubs organization. Devers signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent, July 20, 2017.

The Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year Award

The Cubs Minor League Player of the Year Award is named after the legendary John “Buck” O’Neil, who spent 33 seasons (1956-88) in the Cubs organization as a scout, coach and instructor. A first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs, Buck managed Ernie Banks and Gene Baker when the two signed with the Cubs. As a scout for the organization, Buck signed future Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Lee Smith, as well as MLB veterans George Altman, Oscar Gamble and Joe Carter. As a mentor, O’Neil was instrumental in the development of Hall of Famer Billy Williams.

After several seasons as a minor league and spring training instructor, O’Neil was promoted to the Cubs major league coaching staff in 1962 to become the first African American coach in MLB history. A driving force behind the creation of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, O’Neil was a long-time chairman of the institution and was an advocate for inducting Negro League players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2006, O’Neil was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the United States’ highest civilian honor. Two years later, he was honored by the Hall of Fame with the creation of an award in his honor - the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award – an award to be given not more than once every three years to honor an individual whose extraordinary efforts enhanced baseball's positive impact on society, broadened the game's appeal, and whose character, integrity and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O'Neil. O’Neil was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this past July.

The Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award

The Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award is named after A.B. “Vedie” Himsl, a former minor league pitcher whose time with the Cubs spanned 32 seasons through 1985. He joined the organization as a scout, and a year later in 1953 co-authored the final scouting report recommending the signing of Ernie Banks – the first African American to play for the Cubs. By the late 1950s, Himsl added roles as roving pitching instructor and minor league coordinator to his scouting duties.

Himsl joined the Cubs major league staff as pitching coach in 1960 and served as part of the College of Coaches system through the 1964 season. In 1961, Himsl was named the first Head Coach in MLB history, serving three stints in the role during the season. He also served as Head Coach for many of the team’s minor league affiliates during the College of Coaches era.

Himsl joined the front office in 1965 serving as the Assistant Director of Player Development and Procurement for four years. After a two-year stint as Director of MLB's Central Scouting Bureau, he returned to the Cubs in 1971, and a year later was promoted to Director of Scouting, a position he held until retiring after the 1985 season. Himsl continued to consult with the Cubs on scouting matters for well over the next decade.

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