A Trip Around the Minors...

The usual Friday edition of A Trip Around the Minors was accidentally blown up in a panic to see more bright, colorful blooms of flame, so here's the late edition...


Felix Pie-Pie came off the D.L. on July 1st and showed he was healthy by promptly plopping a ball over the fence. Overall, he has looked good since his return. He is hitting .333 since being removed from the D.L. and has a hit in 5 of his 6 games. In his 30 AB's, he has only 4 K's. In comparison, he had 23 K's in 63 AB's with the Big Boys.

Rich Hill-Hill is still technically on the I-Cubs D.L. and on a "Rehab" assignment, but as reported on TD, he did not fare well in his rehab and may be shut down to get his head straight.

Kevin Hart-Hart came off the D.L. and has made three starts for the I-Cubs. In his debut since being hit in the head, he threw 3 innings of hitless, walkless, scoreless baseball, K'ing 5. So much for lingering effects. His next outing last 3 and 2/3, yielding no runs once again. Starting yesterday, he threw 5 innings, giving up his first 3 post-concussion runs, but only yielding 3 hits and 2 walks and notching a W.

Jeff ND-I barely feel that I have to mention Jeff ND's stats, as his numbers are almost always reported (now that he is at Iowa) on the Cubs broadcast, but I'll dig a little deeper. After an average start in his first outing, he has gone downhill. Now, those who think I hate Jeff ND are going to point out that a 6 inning, 1 run victorious performance is not downhill, but when you look past the numbers, you'll see there isn't anything to be jumping for joy over. In those 6 innings, he walked 6. He was helped by a lot by Koyie Hill, who threw out two baserunners, and two double plays. He only had one clean inning. Celebrating our nation's independence, Samardzija took home another victory, thanks to a I-Cubs 7-run 7th inning. In that game, he yielded 4 earnies over 6 and 1/3, getting pulled after getting into trouble after the 7 run inning. Things were a little better this time, with only 3 walks.

Bonus-Over the last 10 games, Micah Hoffpauir has to be making the Cubs take a hard look at whether he should be back with the Big Boys. He's hitting .432 with a .479 OBP and he's slugging .909. He has 18 RBI's and 10 runs over that stretch, and currently has a nice 8 game hitting streak.


Tyler Colvin-On July 1st, Tyler Colvin won the Southern League's Hitter of the Week award, after going 10 for 26 with 2 HR's the previous week. Since then, things have been a struggle, as Colvin went 1 for his next 17. But yesterday he rebounded with a 4 for 5 game. Since June 23rd, Colvin has raised his batting average 15 points. Also important is that he is showing improvement on his plate discipline. He only K'd twice in the past week.

Donnie Veal-Veal struggled in his last two outings. On June 27th, he was lit up for 6 earned runs over 4 and 2/3. He followed that performance up with a 5 inning, 4 earned run performance last Wednesday. In that game, he yielded 9 hits and didn't strike out a batter. His ERA has ballooned by over half a point thanks to these last two performances.

Jose Ceda-I recently read an article that said that the Cubs envisioned him as a closer, even when he was starting (and struggling) at Daytona. Since being promoted to Tennessee, that's what he's done, and he's proving the scouts correct. In his 7 games as a Smokie, he is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 4 saves. His WHIP is 1.00. He has struck 17 batters in 11 innings of work, good for a strikeout per 9 ratio of 13.91.

Bonus-Mitch Atkins (7th Round, 2004), my pick for Smokie Pitcher of the 1st Half, has won 5 consecutive starts. He has a 2.25 ERA over those starts and has walked only 4 batters in 32 innings of work.


Tony Thomas-Thomas has struggled over the past 10 days, hitting a mere .154 and striking out 11 times. He had his lone big performance on Independence Day Eve, going 3 for 5 with his only 3 RBI's of the past 10 days. A three day layoff may be to blame, as a day off before two rainouts has produced this 10 day stretch.

Bonus-Marco Carillo, a non-drafted free agent signed by the Cubs in 2005, has gone under the radar for Daytona this year, mostly due to a 5-5 record. But after a short stint in the 'pen to begin the season, Carillo has solidified his position in the rotation. In 12 starts for the D-Cubs, he has a 2.73 ERA and opponents are batting only .204 against him. Last Wednesday, he had his best performance of the season, pitching 8 shutout innings and yielding only 2 hits with no walks.


Josh Donaldson-Donaldson his only 4 for his last 22 (over 10 days), reverting to his pre-June performance at the plate. Part of the issue may be the inability to get in a groove, as Donaldson has played in only 6 games in the last 10 days.

Bonus-This week's Bonus goes to my childhood hero, Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg managed the Chiefs to 11 consecutive wins; a streak that was broken on Saturday.


Josh Vitters-Vitters continues to impress as a Hawk. Over the past 10 days, he is hitting .333 with 5 RBI's and 5 runs and a .389 OBP. He hit his first HR of the season, which was actually the first HR of his professional career.

Bonus-Rebel Ridling continues to torch the Northwest League pitching, and was named the Player of the Week for last week. But his .377 batting average has taken a hit over the past 10 games, as he is only hitting .350. He must be swinging for the fences more, as he had 3 HR's this week. He is averaging more than an RBI per game.

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