A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on May 22, 2009.
I remain confused why the Cubs feel the need to have Clevenger and Castillo split time instead of putting them at two different levels. The Cubs seem to have decent catching prospects throughout their system, but Castillo and Clevenger are the two "prized" prospects. Clevenger is handling it better than Castillo, as we'll see in this ATAtM...

Iowa

Jake Fox-On a list chalk full of top prosepcts, BA has Fox ranked as the #11 hot prospect and admits he'd be higher if it weren't for his age. In addition to his noted power, Fox now has a 12 game hitting streak, but saw his 8 game extra base hit streak snapped. His BA sits at .425. He "only" hit two HR's this week, bringing his season total to 17. Updated extrapolated numbers: 76 HR's (down 4), 224 RBI's (down 12) and 175 runs (down 2). He must be slowing down.

Kevin Hart-Hart only pitched twice this week, although both were in extended outings. Why? Well, he was being stretched out to return to the rotation, which he will do tonight. His long relief numbers were outstanding: 5 and 2/3 innings pitched, 2 hits allowed, no walks, 8 K's. His three inning outing on Monday was 3 innings, 5 K's, no runner's allowed, and he earned the save to boot.

Jeff ND-Samardzija only made one start this week, but it was solid. 5 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 walks, 1 earned run, and 6 K's. He got the W, his first decision of the year. At Iowa, he has a 3.5 K/W ratio and righties are hitting .180 against him. Overall, batters are hitting only .221 against him, compared to .380 when he was with the big boys.

Bonus-Last year's Cubs Minor League pitcher of the year doesn't look like he'll be going back-to-back. Mitch Atkins has a 2-5 record with an 8.38 ERA in 9 starts. Think it's a bad start or two? No. He's given up 7 earned runs in 5 of his starts. Batters are hitting .291 off him. The I-Cubs seem content on letting him get his work in, as he's gone at least 4 innings in every outing and pitched 7 innings plus in his two wins.

Tennessee

Welington Castillo-Not much good news to report from the Castillo Camp. 3 starts this week, 11 AB's, 3 K's, no hits, no walks. I was hopeful that his mini 5 game hitting streak was turning him around, but that doesn't seem to be the case. He now has 18 K's in 19 games and is hitting .181. I feel like a broken record in saying this, but Castillo is more known for his defense.

Steve Clevenger-4 starts for Clevenger, 5 hits in 15 AB's, 1 walk, 3 K's. His 3 K's were a surprise (again, a broken record), as he only had 5 on the season prior to this week. Despite that, he still has more walks than K's on the year and has a .916 OPS.

Jay Jackson-Jackson started on Tuesday night and while the end result was pretty, he was far from dominating. He recorded 6 shutout innings, but allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in doing so. The positive is that Jackson knows how to work himself out of trouble. At least one baserunner was abroad in every inning and there was a runner in scoring position in four of his six.

Bonus-The Cubs moved 2007 7th round pick Casey Lambert from the 'pen ot the rotation heading in to this year, and I think they're happy with the results. The leftie has a 1.91 ERA and a sub 1 WHIP in his 7 starts. Despite that, he's only 3-2, losing two games where he allowed only 2 runs. In his last two starts, he's pitched 13 innings, allowed 4 hits, 1 walk, no earned runs, and struck out 7 (doubling his total for the year).

Daytona

Tyler Colvin-Colvin came off the D.L. on Tuesday with a 1 for 4 performance that included a double and an RBI, but also included 3 K's in his other 3 AB's. Then the rains came, shortening that game to 5+ innings and the D-Cubs haven't played since. While I'm glad to see Colvin back, I don't mind seeing the rainouts, which will hopefully give him a little more time to be 100%.

Starlin Castro-Castro might not be too fond of the rain, as it has interrupted him in the middle of an 8 game hitting streak. During the streak, he's hitting .441 with 8 runs, 7 RBI, and 5 extra base hits. On the season, he's now hitting .302 with an OPS of .728. Two weeks ago, he was hitting .250 with a sub .600 OPS.

Andrew Cashner-I'm sure Cashner threw more pitches than his previous outings (while he builds arm strength), but his last start was technically his shortest of his brief season. Only two innings pitched, giving up 4 hits and 2 walks, allowing 2 earned runs. He has a solid 2.63 ERA, but you have to wonder how long it's going to take before he gets stretched out to be a "real" starter.

Bonus-There isn't much that jumps out at you about Nate Samson's stat line. A .250 hitter on the season, only 3 extra base hits, and a terrible 1 for 5 in the stolen base department. But his patience at the plate is remarkable. 19 walks compared to 4 K's. He has more walks than RBI or runs and his .250 BA jumps to a .356 OBP.

Peoria

Josh Vitters-All season, I have been mentioning that Vitters hasn't "stuffed the stat line," as most of his hits had been singles. So, I'll take full credit for motivating him this week, as I'm sure he reads ATAtM. Last Saturday, he went 3 for 4 with an HR. Sunday, 3 for 5 with an HR. Monday, 3 for 5 with an HR. Tuesday, 3 for 5 with an HR. Wednesday, o for 4 (where did that come from?). Thursday, 1 for 4 with an HR. Totalling the week's effort: .481 BA, 5 HR's, 3 doubles, 10 RBI, 9 runs, and a stolen base to boot (and I've reached my limit of using "to boot" this week). He went from 3 HR's to 8, 13 RBI to 23, and 15 runs to 24.


Ryan Flaherty-Flaherty will take a 4 game hitting streak into today, which would be 7 if not for an 0 for 5 performance last Saturday. For the week, he had 4 runs, a double, an HR, 2 RBI, 2 walks and 4 K's. His 4 K's pushed the number of strikeouts on the season to one more than his walks. He has a solid .815 OPS on the year, despite a BA that only sits at .264.

Bonus-Josh Vitters is third in the Midwest League with a .357 BA, but his infield teammate Josh Harrison is leading the Midwest League and sixth in all of minor league baseball. Harrison's six game hitting streak has brought his BA up to .389, over 30 points better than anyone else in the league. On the week, he's hitting .462 with 5 doubles, 2 HR's, 5 RBI, 6 runs, and a stolen base.

The Rest

No news on Dae Eun Rhee or Hak-Ju Lee.

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