C Contreras, RHP Williams win organizational player, pitcher of the year

Willson Contreras was named the 2015 organizational player of the year. (Photo by Roger C. Hoover)

The Chicago Cubs today named catcher Willson Contreras and right-handed pitcher Ryan Williams the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Contreras and Williams will be honored during an on-field ceremony prior to the Cubs 7:05 p.m. CT game next Monday, Sept. 28, against the Kansas City Royals at Wrigley Field.

Contreras, 23, led the Southern League with a .333 batting average (151-for-454) to go along with 71 runs, 34 doubles, four triples, eight home runs and 75 RBI for Tennessee this season, his first time at the Double-A level. He ranked second in the league in doubles, RBI and on-base percentage (.413) while his .478 slugging percentage ranked third and his 217 total bases were fifth.

The right-handed hitter became the first Tennessee player to win the league batting title since Joe Gate in 1978. Contreras hit .371 (33-for-89) against left-handed pitching and posted a .323 mark (118-for-365) against right-handers. He enjoyed a season-high 14-game hitting streak from July 28-August 10, in which he batted .519 (28-for-54) and earned Player of the Week honors for July 27-August 2.

Behind the plate, Contreras recorded a .987 fielding percentage (8 E/600 TC) and threw out 27-of-97 (27.8 percent) baserunners attempting to steal. He also played eight games at third base.

Signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in December 2009, Contreras has hit .275 (465-for-1,692) with 81 doubles, 19 triples, 30 homers and 239 RBI in 462 career minor league games.

Williams, 23, combined to go 14-3 with a 2.16 ERA (34 ER/141.2 IP) in 26 games (24 starts) between Single-A South Bend and Tennessee. He walked just 18, struck out 98 and surrendered just two home runs in 537 batters faced. His 14 victories and 2.16 ERA both led the Cubs minor league system, while his 98 strikeouts ranked fifth.

Named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of May, Williams started the year with South Bend and was 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA (7 ER/53.2 IP) in nine games (eight starts) for the Cubs before he was promoted to Double-A on June 3. He proceeded to go 10-2 with a 2.76 ERA (27 ER/88.0 IP) in 17 games (16 starts) with the Smokies, leading the team in victories, and earning Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors for August 10-16 (2-0, 0.75 ERA).

Williams was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2014 draft out of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. He is 16-4 with a save and a 2.03 ERA (38 ER/168.1 IP) in 37 career minor league outings, including 24 starts. He has struck out 127 batters, walked just 21 and allowed only four home runs.


Cubs Lineup: 9/21/15

Cubs vs. Brewers — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 7:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.73)
Brewers Starter: Wily Peralta, RHP (5-9, 4.41)
TV: CSN; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kyle Schwarber, LF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Starlin Castro, 2B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Jason Hammel, P
9. Chris Coghlan, RF

Cubs Lineup: 9/18/15

Cubs vs. Cardinals — Wrigley Field
First Pitch: 1:20 CST
Cubs Starter: Dan Haren (9-9, 3.87)
Cardinals Starter: Lance Lynn, RHP (11-10, 3.17)
TV: ABC-7, MLB Network; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kyle Schwarber, LF
3. Chris Coghlan, RF
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Tommy La Stella, 3B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Starlin Castro, 2B
8. Dan Haren, P
9. Addison Russell, SS

Minor League Recap: 9/16/15

Myrtle Beach won its first Mills Cup championship since 2000, defeating Wilmington in walk-off fashion in Game 3, 3-2. The Pelicans swept the best-of-five series.

  • RHP Duane Underwood fanned seven batters in 6.0 innings, giving up one earned run in the no-decision.
  • C Victor Caratini went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He batted .474 (9-for-19) with seven RBI in six postseason games, including three consecutive multi-hit games in the championship series. Caratini was named Mills Cup Championship Series MVP.
  • CF Pin-Chieh Chen finished 3-for-5 with a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning.
  • LF Mark Zagunis went 1-for-4 with a single and a game-winning run scored in the ninth inning.
  • RHP David Garner tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out four batters and walking two.

Cubs activate OF Jorge Soler

(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs activated outfielder Jorge Soler off of the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. Soler will be available for the Cubs this afternoon against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Soler, 23, was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 24 with a left oblique strain and saw action in four rehab games with Single-A Myrtle Beach as part of his return (3-for-13, .231, 2 2B, 3 BB, 2 R, 1 RBI). He is batting .265 with 18 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 42 RBI in 90 games with the Cubs this season.

Chicago’s active roster now stands at 35 players.

Cubs Lineup: 9/17/15

Cubs vs. Pirates — PNC Park
First Pitch: 11:35 a.m. CST
Cubs Starter: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7-6, 4.08 ERA)
Pirates Starter: Charlie Morton, RHP (9-7, 4.02 ERA)
TV: WGN-Chicago, MLB Network; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kyle Schwarber, LF
3. Chris Coghlan, RF
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Kris Bryant, 3B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Kyle Hendricks, p
9. Tommy La Stella, 2B

Cubs 13th Homestand Events and Promotions: 9/18/15-9/28/15

The Cubs will be giving away a Kris Bryant bobblehead to the first 10,000 fans on Saturday, Sept. 26.

The Chicago Cubs will host the final homestand of the 2015 regular season from Sept. 18-28 as the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates each visit for three-game series, followed by a make up of the May 30 postponement with the Kansas City Royals.

The 10-game homestand features a number of promotions, guests, food specials and community events. As the team’s home slate concludes Monday, Sept. 28, the Cubs will say thank you to fans for their support this season by handing out a limited number of autographed baseballs throughout the ballpark before the game. The Wrigley Field Grounds Crew will continue their annual tradition by singing the seventh-inning stretch from the field.

Tickets remain available for each series at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827). Details of the homestand follow.

The team’s final Budweiser Bleacher Friday event of the season will help turn singles into doubles as Cubs fans mingle in the Budweiser Bleachers Friday, Sept. 18, vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Each guest will receive a three-quarter-length-sleeve top and the afternoon will include fun social media interaction and creative food pairings.

Kids Sundays continue Sept. 20 with the first 1,000 kids 13-and-under able to run the bases postgame, weather permitting.

The Cubs host Social Media Night on Monday, Sept. 21, with social media-themed content featured in the ballpark and during the game broadcast on Comcast SportsNet. Up to the first 300 guests with a game ticket can attend a pregame event from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the DraftKings Fantasy Sports Zone, formerly the Captain Morgan Club. Doors open at 4 p.m. Representatives from @Cubs, @SBCubs and @CSNChicago will host a panel discussion and take questions from attendees and followers using the #CubsSocial hashtag. Guests at the pregame event will receive a T-shirt featuring a fan-submitted design, plus the opportunity to win great prizes and experiences like throwing a first pitch before the game.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, fans of the Big Ten Conference can receive a Cubs Beanie Cap in their favorite team’s colors when they purchase a Big Ten Night Special Group ticket at cubs.com/specialevents. That night, Budweiser Bleacher guests 21-and-older will also receive a Reusable Tote presented by Hornitos.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, up to the first 10,000 fans will receive a Kris Bryant Cubs Debut Bobblehead presented by TransUnion.

On Monday, Sept. 28, the team will distribute the remainder of the Chicago Whales Replica Throwback Jerseys presented by Benjamin Moore that were not given to early-arriving fans on the original May 30 game date.

Guests and Entertainment
On Saturday, Sept. 19, members of the Chicago-based ’60s band, The Buckinghams, will sing the National Anthem. Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will lead the seventh-inning stretch.

Former Cubs catcher Randy Hundley will lead the stretch Sunday, Sept. 20.

Actors George Wendt and Tim Kazurinsky will lead the stretch Monday, Sept. 21.

Ronnie Platt, lead vocalist and keyboardist from the band Kansas, will lead the stretch Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Former Northwestern Wildcats running back Darnell Autry will throw a ceremonial first pitch Wednesday, Sept. 23, as part of Big Ten Night at Wrigley Field.

Windy City Live’s on-air talent Ryan Chiaverini, Val Warner and Ji Suk Yi will lead the stretch Friday, Sept. 25.

The following day, Sept. 26, UFC fighter CM Punk will lead the stretch.

The homestand concludes Monday, Sept. 28, with Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery throwing a ceremonial first pitch and the Wrigley Field Grounds Crew leading the seventh-inning stretch from the field.

Let’s Give Charitable Campaign
Following the game on Saturday, Sept. 19, Cubs pitcher Jason Motte will host the inaugural Chicago Cornhole Challenge featuring friendly competition, food and beverage, and the unique opportunity for fans to play games against Cubs and Cardinals players and coaches. The tournament is a continuation of a similar event the Jason Motte Foundation launched in St. Louis while Motte was a member of the Cardinals. Attendees will have the chance to bid on one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia during a live and silent auction. Net proceeds from the Chicago Cornhole Challenge benefit the Jason Motte Foundation, which provides comfort and care where there is a need for those affected, both directly and indirectly, by cancers of all kinds.

This month, Cubs Charities, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, the Jason Motte Foundation, Jon Lester’s NVRQT campaign and Joe Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation have teamed up to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and awareness. Fans can take part in the fight against cancer by fundraising in support of one of four teams at cubs.com/letsgogold. The top fundraiser from each team will throw a ceremonial first pitch during the Sept. 20 game for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day. In support of the day, Cubs players and coaches will wear gold-themed batting practice jerseys and hats as they gear up to take on the Cardinals. These jerseys, hats and autographed gold baseballs will be available for purchase through Cubs Authentics, with proceeds benefiting the participating player foundations.

On Monday, Sept. 21, Cubs Charities will launch the Cubs on the Move Fitness Program Challenge at the Hawthorne Academy Fitness Center, which was funded and developed by Cubs Charities. The Cubs on the Move Fitness Challenge was inspired by the success of the Cubs on the Move Fitness Program in motivating kids in Chicago to “Play Every Day!” The program aims to provide educators with resources to promote physical activity in the classroom while empowering kids ages 5-through-13 in the Chicago area to develop ideas to keep themselves, their schools and their communities active. More information will be available at cubsonthemovechallenge.com.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Cubs will host a pregame reception and ceremony in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field. First baseman Anthony Rizzo will be recognized as the Cubs’ nominee.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, the Cubs, Cubs Charities, Wood Family Foundation, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools will celebrate the grand opening of Kerry Wood Cubs Field at Clark Park near Lane Tech High School on Addison Street. The field, which was built by Turner Construction, includes seating for 1,250 spectators and will be used by Chicago Public Schools citywide throughout the high school baseball season during and after school hours. The field also will be open for use by recreational leagues and the general public.

On Friday, Sept. 25, the Wood Family Foundation will host its inaugural Storybook Gala at Moonlight Studios. The “Pure Imagination” event will have a Willy Wonka-inspired theme based off the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl. Proceeds from the event will support Pitch In, the foundation’s after-school mentoring program serving Chicago’s at-risk children. Tickets for the event and after-party are available at woodfamilyfoundation.org.

Finally, Cubs manager Joe Maddon will continue his “Respect Community” charity T-shirt initiative during his Friday postgame press conferences Sept. 18 and 25, beginning with the One Step Camp by Children’s Oncology Services, Inc. Children’s Oncology Services is dedicated to improving the quality of life of children diagnosed with cancer. Through their One Step Programs, pediatric cancer patients can enjoy camp experiences and other programs throughout the year.

Food Specials
The Decade Diner in the right-field concourse continues its rotating menu of homestand specials with a triple-decker Turkey Club Sandwich featuring sliced turkey, bacon, tomatoes, crisp lettuce and mayonnaise served on toasted bread. Guests can also order the Reuben Sandwich with warm pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and house-made Louie dressing on toasted marble rye bread.

Platform 14, the outdoor concession area in the Budweiser Bleachers located behind the center-field scoreboard, will continue serving three Hot Doug’s sausages. The “Champ Summers” is a spicy Vienna Polish sausage served with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions; the “Pete LaCock” is a ribeye steak sausage with horseradish cream and blue cheese; and the “Dick Tidrow” is a Jamaican jerk pork sausage with cumin dijonnaise, smoked gouda cheese and fried plantain chips.

Homestand Recap, Sept. 18-28
Friday, Sept. 18 vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:20 p.m.

  • Budweiser Bleacher Fridays: Singles and Doubles Day
  • Promotion: Three-quarter-length-sleeve top (Budweiser Bleacher guests 21-and-older)
  • Broadcast: ABC 7, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Saturday, Sept. 19 vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 12:05 p.m.

  • National Anthem: The Buckinghams
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood
  • Broadcast: FOX, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com
  • Postgame: Jason Motte Foundation’s Chicago Cornhole Challenge

Sunday, Sept. 20 vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:20 p.m.

  • Pediatric Cancer Awareness Day
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Former Cubs catcher Randy Hundley
  • Broadcast: TBS, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com
  • Kids Run the Bases postgame (first 1,000 kids 13-and-under)

Monday, Sept. 21 vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Social Media Night
  • Promotion: Pregame event at DraftKings Fantasy Sports Zone (limited to first 300 guests) with social media-themed T-shirts and raffle prizes
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Actors George Wendt and Tim Kazurinsky
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Tuesday, Sept. 22 vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: Ronnie Platt, lead vocalist and keyboardist from Kansas
  • Broadcast: CSN+, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Wednesday, Sept. 23 vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Reusable Tote presented by Hornitos (Budweiser Bleacher guests 21-and-older)
  • Special Group Night: Big Ten Night
  • Promotion: Cubs Beanie Cap in a Big Ten school’s colors
  • First pitch: Former Northwestern Wildcats running back Darnell Autry
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Friday, Sept. 25 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:20 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: Windy City Live on-air talent Ryan Chiaverini, Val Warner and Ji Suk Yi
  • Broadcast: ABC 7, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com
  • Postgame: Wood Family Foundation’s Storybook Gala

Saturday, Sept. 26 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 12:05 p.m.

  • Promotion: Kris Bryant Cubs Debut Bobblehead presented by TransUnion (first 10,000 fan)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: UFC fighter CM Punk
  • Broadcast: FOX, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Sunday, Sept. 27 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:08 p.m.

  • Broadcast: ESPN, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Monday, Sept. 28 vs. Kansas City Royals, 7:05 p.m. (makeup of May 30 postponement)

  • First pitch: Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Wrigley Field Grounds Crew
  • Broadcast: CSN, WBBM 780-AM, Cubs.com

Cubs Lineup: 9/16/15

Cubs vs. Pirates — PNC Park
First Pitch: 6:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jake Arrieta, RHP (19-6, 1.99 ERA)
Pirates Starter: A.J. Burnett, RHP (8-5, 3.14 ERA)
TV: CSN Chicago, ESPN; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Kyle Schwarber, LF
3. Chris Coghlan, RF
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Kris Bryant, 3B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Starlin Castro, 2B
8. Javier Baez, SS
9. Jake Arrieta, P

Cubs Lineup: 9/15/15, Game 2

Cubs vs. Pirates — PNC Park
First Pitch: 6:05 CST
Cubs Starter: Jon Lester, LHP (9-10, 3.50 ERA)
Pirates Starter: J.A. Happ, LHP (9-7, 3.87 ERA)
TV: WGN-TV, MLB Network; Radio: WBBM 780 AM

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Austin Jackson, LF
3. Kris Bryant, RF
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Starlin Castro, 2B
6. Javier Baez, 3B
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. David Ross, C
9. Jon Lester, P

Cubs Minor League Recap: 9/14/15

Myrtle Beach claimed Game 2 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series, blanking Wilmington on the road, 2-0. The Pelicans play for the Carolina League title on Wednesday at home.

  • DH Victor Caratini (.438) went 2-for-3 with two doubles (3), drew a walk and drove in both of the Pelicans’ runs (6). It marked his second game-winning RBI of the playoffs.
  • CF Pin-Chieh Chen (.333) finished 2-for-4 and scored twice.
  • RF Jorge Soler went 1-for-4 in his third rehab game.
  • RHP Tyler Skulina earned the win, tossing 5.0 scoreless frames and surrendering just one hit.
  • RHP David Berg earned his second save with a perfect ninth inning.

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