Kodak, Tenn. ( Smokies)-- The Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday afternoon that catcher Victor Caratini and right-handed pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng have been named the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. This is Tseng’s second Minor League Pitcher of the Year award, as he earned the honor in 2014, his first professional season.
Both players are former Smokies, with Tseng most recently pitching for the Smokies in 2017, and Caratini making his last appearance for the club in 2016.
Caratini, 24, batted .342 (100-for-292) with 27 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 61 RBI and 50 runs scored in 83 games in 2017 with Triple-A Iowa as he earned both mid-season and post-season Pacific Coast League All-Star honors. His .342 average led all Cubs minor leaguers and his 27 doubles were tied for the I-Cubs team lead. Caratini was named the Cubs Player of the Month for May (.366 average, six doubles, three homers, 17 RBI, .971 OPS) and June (.345 average, nine doubles, four homers, 21 RBI, .970 OPS).
Caratini earned his first call to the majors on June 28. With Chicago, the switch-hitting catcher has gone 12-for-48 (.250) with three doubles, one homer, two RBI and six runs scored.
Caratini is in his third full season in the Cubs organization since being acquired at the trade deadline from Atlanta in 2014. He enjoyed a breakout campaign last season at Double-A Tennessee, earning mid-season and post-season Southern League All-Star nods. In 2016, Caratini batted .291 (120-for-412) with the Smokies. Caratini crossed the plate 57 times while also having 47 RBI throughout the 2016 campaign for Tennessee. He is a career .289 (483-for-1,673) hitter with 128 doubles, 12 triples, 26 homers, 241 RBI and 224 runs scored in 469 contests spanning five minor league seasons.
Tseng, 22, went 13-4 with a 2.54 ERA (41 ER/145.1 IP) this season in 24 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. In 15 starts with Tennessee, Tseng went 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA (30 ER/90.1 IP), fanning 83 batters and walking 24. He was promoted to Triple-A for the first time following his first-career 10-strikeout game, July 3 vs. Jacksonville. The right-hander excelled in Iowa, posting a 6-1 record to go along with a 1.80 ERA (11 ER/55.0 IP) in nine starts.
Tseng was named the Cubs’ Pitcher of the Month for July after a 4-1 stretch in which he pitched to a 2.25 ERA (8 ER/32.0). During that month, he won his first-career weekly award, netting PCL Pitcher of the Week honors for July 17-23 after consecutive 7.0-inning starts (1 ER/14.0 IP). He was also named to his first league All-Star team, earning Southern League mid-season honors.
Tseng was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Chicago in July of 2013. He holds a career 32-20 record and a 3.17 ERA (170 ER/482.2 IP) in 87 games (85 starts) across four seasons in the Cubs system.