Watkins, Struck honored by Cubs

Two Smokies named Minor League Player, Pitcher of the Year

By Sam Dykstra / Special to MLB.com | September 27, 2012 5:04 PM ET

The two best performances in the Cubs' farm system came from the same Southern location -- Double-A Tennessee.

The team announced Thursday that Logan Watkins and Nick Struck were named Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year respectively after their performances for the club's Southern League affiliate.

Watkins was the circuit's top run scorer (93) and also ranked second in triples (11) and walks (76) and fourth in on-base percentage (.383) -- key stats given that he batted primarily out of the second spot in the Smokies' order.

The 23-year-old left-handed hitter finished his 2012 campaign batting .281 with nine homers and 52 RBIs over 133 games. He showed some signs of versatility in the field, spending the majority of his time at second base while also getting time in at shortstop and center field.

Watkins was selected by the Cubs in the 21st round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and has moved up one level each season since that time.

The right-handed Struck led the Southern League with 14 wins -- three more than runners-up Matt Magill of Chattanooga and Josh Stinson of Huntsville -- and placed second with a 1.18 WHIP. His 3.18 ERA was a career best since joining the Cubs as a 39th-round pick out of Mt. Hood (Ore.) Community College in 2009.

The 22-year-old's 123 strikeouts in 155 2/3 innings pitched were also professional highs, while his 44 walks tied a low, despite the increased workload.

Both players were named organizational Players of the Month in June, when Watkins batted .352 with a .941 OPS and Struck was 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA.

The pair will be honored in a pregame ceremony Monday at Wrigley Field when the Cubs host the Astros.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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