A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on May 15, 2009.

Obviously, a busy week for TD (let's be honest, a busy week for me) as we (I) will go with back to back ATAtM posts...


Jake Fox-I rarely feel sorry for anybody, but you have to feel a little sorry for Fox. He has watched Scales, Chad Fox, Randy Wells, and Jose Ascanio bags their bags and leave the cornfields while he remains in Iowa. Fox has a 6 game hitting streak, where he's hit .522 with 3 doubles, a triple, 3 HR's, 9 runs and 13 RBI's. That's barely affected his .420 BA or his 1.455 OPS. In 112 AB's, he has 107 total bases, or almost a base per AB. Extrapolating his numbers over 600 AB's: 80 HR's, 236 RBI's, 177 Runs. He's even hitting .379 when he's behind in the count.

Kevin Hart-Anyone wonder why the Cubs called up Jose Ascanio while leaving Hart at AAA? Well, here's why. He has given up at least one run in 4 of his last 5 outings and has a 7.98 ERA. Oddly enough, it's that he's getting hit rather than walking a lot of batters. In 14 2/3, he has yielded 20 hits and only 6 walks. He has nearly a 3 to 1 K/W ratio, so that's not been a problem. He just has been getting hit.

Jeff ND-After spending a little time in the Bigs and off the ATAtM list, Samardzija is back starting at Iowa and working on his arm strength. He pitched 3 innings last Saturday, with a 2 run HR being his only 2 runs allowed. Last night, he pitched 4 innings, again giving up a 2 run HR as the only runs he allowed.

Bonus-A waiver claim last fall, Brad Snyder is off to a nice start at Iowa. He is currently on an 8 game hitting streak, which has included 13 RBI's. He hit 5 HR's in his last 5 games, including 2 last night. That has brought his BA up to .323 with 11 HR's and an OPS above 1. If a man named Jake Fox wasn't on the I-Cubs, Snyder would have the team lead in HR's by 5.


Welington Castillo-Castillo only started twice since last week's ATAtM, but he kept his minor hitting streak alive, which is now at 5 games. He's now hitting .286 in the month of May. It doesn't appear that he'll ever be a big time hitter, so it's more important that he keeps working on his defense.

Steve Clevenger-Clevenger had the other 3 starts for the Smokies this week, going 3 for 11 without a K. He is now up to 5 K's in 52 AB's. His week included a triple, his third of the year. He is a catcher and he only starts half the games, but he's managed 3 triples when no other Smokie has more than 1. He's hitting .327 this year.

Jay Jackson-As an aside, I am glad Randy Jay Jackson decided to go with Jay. I prefer not to have to think about Randy Jackson the singer or Randy Jackson the American Idol judge every week. Jackson had one start this week: 6 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned runs, and 5 K's. His first three starts he had a 9.45 ERA, his last three he has a 1.35.

Bonus-#20 on TD's list of top pitching prospects, John Gaub has not disappointed. In 9 games for the Smokies this year, the lefthander has 6 hits, 5 walks (a 1.06 ERA) and 2 earned runs allowed (a 1.74 ERA). But the most impressive part of his start is the same as the reason the Cubs acquired him...he is a strikeout pitcher. 19 of them in 10 1/3 innings pitched, or a 16.55 K/9 ratio.


Tyler Colvin-Did anyone hear Len Kasper mention that it would be dangerous if Lou had Freel and ReJo in the outfield together. Well, welcome to last Saturday night. In the sixth inning, Colvin and 13th round pick from last year Tony Campana collided. It was severe enough that it took medical personnel to get both on stretchers and off the field. Colvin was placed on the D.L. with a bruised hip and a concussion, while Campana is day to day with a concussion and has yet to play.

Starlin Castro-Castro's hit safely in 6 of his last 7 games, and his BA continues to creep up. He's now hitting .269 and his OPS is up to .662. He's hitting .333 with runner's on and .409 with runner's in scoring position. He's was 1 for 2 in stolen bases this week, bringing his total up to 7 of 9 on the year. He also has 12 errors, so there's some defensive work to be done.

Andrew Cashner-Some wondered why the Cubs would turn Cashner into a starter after being a dominant reliever in college. Maybe his start to the season will quiet some of those criticisms. While he still doesn't have the arm strength after starting the season on the D.L., he has a 1.54 ERA in 4 starts, but has only pitched 11 2/3 innings.

Bonus-If the Cubs are deep at a position in their farm system, it's catcher. Robinson Chirinos is hitting .333 with only 4 K's in 57 AB's. 11 of his 19 hits have gone for extra bases, giving him an OPS of 1.079. He's also got the lead in the Cubs farm system catchers' triples race with 4, one ahead of Clevenger. Like Clevenger, he's the only member of his team with more than 1.


Josh Vitters-Vitters is hitting .350 since the last ATAtM posting, but the power is still absent. All 7 were singles and he managed only 1 RBI. He managed a walk this week, which is a positive, given that he's had weeks this year without a walk and only 3 on the season. It's important to remember that he's still 19 years old.

Ryan Flaherty-Flaherty hit .190 this past week with only 4 hits, but managed 4 RBI's. While he 4 times this week, he still has more walks than K's on the year. His .257 BA doesn't look to impressive, but when you combine his extra base hits and walks, he has managed to record an OPS of an even .800.

Bonus-Christopher Carpenter's 1-2 record belies how well he's pitched this year. Granted, he's given up 8 runs in 8 1/3 in those two losses, but has only given up 3 earned runs in his other 5 starts, spanning 28 innings. He has a 2.72 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and he's only allowed 1 HR in 36 1/3 innings pitched. Lefties are hitting .115 off him.

The Others

No news on Dae Eun Rhee or Hak Ju Lee.

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