Cubs name Matt Mervis, Luis Devers as Minor League Player, Pitcher of year
The Cubs honored standout minor league seasons on Wednesday afternoon.
Matt Mervis was named the Buck O’Neil Cubs Minor League Player of the Year and Luis Devers was named the Vedie Himsl Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Mervis had a standout 2022, hitting .309 with 36 home runs, 119 RBI and a .984 OPS in 578 plate appearances across 3 minor league levels. He led the entire minor leagues in RBI and had the most home runs by a Cubs minor leaguer since Kris Bryant hit 43 in 2014.
The 6-foot, 4-inch first baseman began his pro career in 2021 at Low-A Myrtle Beach, where he found some struggles, hitting .204 with 9 home runs and a .676 OPS.
“I know I’m capable of hitting home runs, but going into the year I wouldn’t have said, these would be my numbers at the end of the year,” Mervis said during the final homestand of the season at Wrigley Field. “Kind of on the other hand, I know I’m a good hitter, I know what I’m capable of, so I’d say last year in Myrtle Beach was the anomaly and this is the hitter that I expect to be.”
He started the year at High-A South Bend, hitting .350 with 7 home runs in 27 games, earning a promotion to Double-A Tennessee on May 17. With the Smokies, Mervis hit .301 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 53 games.
He was promoted to Triple-A Iowa on July 22 and posted a .297 batting average with 15 doubles, 15 home runs and 39 RBI in 57 games. He was the Cubs’ minor league player of the month in August.
Mervis was invited to Wrigley Field for their prospect camp at the end of the season where he toured the Cubs’ major league facilities. He was an undrafted free agent in 2020 that was atop the Cubs’ priority list after the 5-round draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s currently playing in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox.
“I thought Matt had one of the best minor league seasons I’ve been around,” Jed Hoyer said Monday at his end-of-season press conference. “For a guy that struggled last year in Myrtle [Beach in] his first pro season, to start in South Bend and dominate at three levels and really actually almost improve his underlying numbers at each level is not something I’ve been a part of. Hopefully, it’ll continue that this fall.”
Devers was 13-3 with a 1.91 ERA, 122 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP in 26 games (22 starts) across Low-A Myrtle Beach and South Bend. His ERA was the second lowest among minor leaguers with a minimum of 20 starts. Devers had 18 starts of 5 or more innings allowing 2 or fewer runs. He was part of the pitching staff in South Bend that won the Midwest League championship.
The 22-year-old righty was signed a as a minor-league free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 and has posted a career 2.53 ERA in 68 games (60 starts) across 5 minor league seasons.
The Cubs’ pitching development saw success this season as many pitchers brought up through their system — like Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson and Javier Assad — proved capable of handling the moment as starters in the majors.
“I think that pitching development is something that we take great pride in,” Hoyer said. “I think a lot of the things we saw in the second half of this year, a lot of the success we had in the minor leagues throughout the year were those are seeds that were planted several years before.
“I think we’re really proud of that pitching infrastructure.”