A Trip Around the Minors...

In this week's edition, Andrew Cashner finally throws like a first round pick, Donnie Veal throws like a 50th round pick, Vitters and Atkins keep streaking, and MORE Hoffpauir Extrapolation!


Felix Pie-Pie returned to action last Friday after sitting a little over a week with a wrist injury. Since his return, he is hitting an even .300, thanks in large part to last Saturday's game. In that game, he went 4 for 6 with a HR and 2 RBI's. With Iowa in line to head to the playoffs (currently a 7 game lead), it will be interesting to see if the Cubs call up Felix Pie when rosters expand or continue to let him get some playoff experience with Iowa.

Kevin Hart-Hart pitched 3 and 2/3 in 3 appearances over the past week, allowing an earned run on a hit and a walk, while striking out 4. He also earned a save. He has a 2.53 ERA as a reliever at Iowa and has only walked one batter in the last 6 and 2/3 innings pitched.

Mitch Atkins-The winning streak rolls on. Atkins didn't have a particularly great night last Saturday, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in 6 and 1/3, but he nonetheless recorded the win to extend his streak to 11. Last night, he was better, allowing only one run over 6. But he allowed 6 hits and 4 walks, so it was more the ability to get himself out of jams that gave him his twelfth straight winning start.

Bonus-Micah Hoffpauir (why not, right?) was named the PCL hitter of the week for last week, thanks in large part to his 4 HR game last Saturday. That's right, 4 HR's. Ironically, he had 4 RBI's and 4 runs (meaning he hit 4 solo shots). He followed that up with an 0 for 7, which is possibly the worst 2 game span for him on the season (he still managed an RBI). But don't worry, he's back on the horse, going 7 for his last 10, including his 20th and 21st AAA HR of the season. His updated extrapolated numbers: .377 (up 10 points), 55 HR's (up 3), 218 RBI's (up 3), 140 runs (up 8), 78 doubles (down 2), 468 total bases (up 10), and a .458 BA with runner's in scoring position (up 37 points).


Tyler Colvin-Colvin had another big offensive Sunday last week. Although he wasn't able to top his 2 HR, 6 RBI performance, he did manage to go 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, a HR, 4 RBI, and a run. Colvin continues to be an all or nothing guy, having 8 multi hits games and 3 no hit games in the last 11. He hit an impressive .385 for the week and has an RBI in each of his last 5 games, totalling 9 for the week. His streak has brought his average up to .251 on the year.

Welington Castillo-Castillo only played in 4 games this week. He went 3 for 14 (.214 average) with 6 strikeouts. He's hitting a mere .192 for the month of August, has produced 1 run and no RBI's, and has more strikeouts (10) than hits (6).

Jose Ceda-Ceda continues to pitch the 8th inning for the Smokies. Last Saturday, he pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit and 2 walks, while getting a K. He failed to clean up the 8th inning on Tuesday, entering the game with runners on first and second and only one out. He gave up a single and a double, allowing 3 runs to cross the plate before retiring the final two batters. One of the runs scored on a throwing error, so he wasn't charged with an earned run, but he allowed an 8-2 game to become competitive again.

Donnie Veal-Donnie Veal's last W came on June. June 17th to be exact. Since then, he has gone 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. He threw last Saturday, taking the loss in a 5 inning, 5 hit, 5 walk, 5 K performance (giving up 3 earned runs). Veal's ERA is now 4.27 on the year and has a WHIP of 1.55, thanks in large part to 72 walks in 25 games (averaging almost 3 walks per start).

Bonus-Sam Fuld (10th round, 2004) was expected to compete for the starting CF spot this year. After not making the team, he struggled out of the gate in Iowa, and in May was shipped to Tennessee. He was hitting .236 as he entered August, including a month of July that saw him hit .219 despite a .383 OBP. Since the calendar changed, he is taking a more free-swinging approach and he has produced. He's hitting .333 for the month while maintaining a healthy OBP of .407. He has already struck out more this month than any previous month with the Smokies, but it has resulted in more balls being safely put in play.


Tony Thomas-Thomas returned to action on Sunday after about a week off. You have to wonder if things are still bothering him, as he has gone 1 for 13 since his return. The highlight for Thomas' week was swiping his 20th stolen base of the season, coming on his 27th attempted steal (and 74% success rate). A 3 K performance last night moved him up to 99 on the year in 100 games played.

Bonus-Ryan Harvey was the 6th overall pick in the 2003 draft. This year, he has taken a similar path to that of Sam Fuld, except on a lower level. He began the season at Tennessee, where he hit .216 before being demoted. Things didn't get much better for him at Daytona, where he was hitting .222 coming into the month of August, including a dreadful .162 in July. While he hasn't thrown up huge numbers, he has managed a .280 batting average for the month of August and already has more hits and as many RBI's as he did in July. This may be the end of the road for Harvey in the Cubs organization, but at least he's showing some signs of life.


No Top Ten Prospects

Bonus-With stories on Fuld and Harvey, I felt I needed to give the organization a boost in this Bonus slot. In 2005, the Cubs used their 8th round pick on Jake Muyco, a catcher out of North Carolina State. After a couple of seasons muddling in the low A ball, the Cubs decided to make him a reliever. That decision has worked out perfectly. Muyco is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA at Peoria. Half of his runs have come via the dinger, all of them solo. He has a 1.06 WHIP and strikes out 3 and a half batters per walk allowed.


Josh Vitters-The Cubs must be focused on keeping Vitter's confidence high, because there is no reason for him to still be facing Northwest League pitching. Vitters hitting streak now stands at 20 games. He collected multiple hits in 4 of the 5 games he played in this week. He has a .343 batting average at Boise with a .899 OPS.

Bonus-Andrew Cashner, the Cubs top pick from June, had struggled out of the gate at Boise, giving up 8 earned runs over 5 and 2/3 innings pitched in his first 3 appearances. He had walked 12 men. But hopefully Wednesday night's performance was a sign of what's to come. He started the game for Boise, going 4 innings. He didn't allow a hit, walked 2 (obviously still a concern) and struck out 4.

Comments (2)

Jacob Detroy

August 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM


I was wondering why Cashner is starting games for Boise (3 starts in 4 games)? Are they trying to build up his arm strength and durability as a reliever/closer or are they projecting him as a major league starter?


August 17, 2008 at 9:10 PM

I would guess it's a matter of arm strength, rather than projecting him as a starter. If you read ATAtM regularly, you will note that the Cubs had Jose Ceda starting at Daytona to begin the season. Additionally, most guys who start at Boise, whether they project as a starter or reliever long-term, only pitch around 3 innings.