IF Rock Shoulders, LHP Eric Jokisch named minor league player, pitcher of the month

The Chicago Cubs today named Single-A Kane County infielder Rock Shoulders and Double-A Tennessee left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch the organization’s minor league player and pitcher of the month for April, respectively.

Aside from having the best name in the organization, Shoulders, 21, batted .370 (30-for-81) with 19 runs scored, seven doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI in 22 April contests for the Cougars. He posted a .457 on-base percentage, thanks in part to 13 walks, and had a .642 slugging percentage to give him a 1.099 OPS for the month, the second-highest mark in the Midwest League. The left-handed hitter was tied for third in the league in runs scored, home runs and extra-base hits, ranked fourth in batting average and tied for fourth in hits.

Shoulders, whose real name is Roderick, was originally selected by the Cubs in the 25th round of the 2011 draft. In 94 career minor league games, he has hit .274 (89-for-325) with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, 57 RBI, a .362 on-base percentage and a .486 slugging percentage.

Jokisch, 23, went 3-1 with a 1.84 ERA (6 ER/29.1 IP) in five April starts for the Smokies, striking out 21, while walking just six and limiting opponents to a .240 batting average. In each of his first four starts of the season, he went at least 6.0 innings and allowed one or no runs. He finished the month tied for fifth in the Southern League in victories, tied for eighth in innings pitched and ninth in ERA.

Jokisch, a native of Virginia, Ill., attended Northwestern University and was selected by the Cubs in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He began the 2011 campaign by going 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA (39 ER/118.2 IP) in 25 games (11 starts) with Single-A Peoria and was later named the team’s Pitcher of the Year. All told, he is 25-13 with a 3.37 ERA (134 ER/358.0 IP) in 75 career minor league games, including 52 starts.

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