A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on May 29, 2009.

Jake Fox comes off the ATAtM board, Josh Vitters is hot, and my bitching finally pays off...

Steve Clevenger-Welcome to Iowa. After weeks of my bitching about why the Cubs had their two best catching prospects on the same team, the Cubs finally promoted Clevenger. It was a well-deserved promotion, as he was hitting .364 with a .443 OBP and an OPS nearing 1.000. He got his first taste of AAA last night, going 0 for 3 with a walk and two K's.

Kevin Hart-As mentioned in last week's ATAtM, Hart has made his return to the rotation after struggling mightily in the 'pen. He got 2 starts this week and showed why this was a smart move. He only pitched 4 innings in each start because he's still being stretched out, but the results were outstanding. Last Friday, 1 earnie on a hit and a walk. The run scored on a single, a stolen base, a groundout moving the runner to third and a wild pitch. On Wednesday, no earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, including 5 K's. The only bad part was that he had no clean innings.
Jeff ND-Samardzija had his worst start of the season on Monday, giving up 4 earned runs over 4 and 2/3 innings pitched. He gave up 8 hits and 5 K's. Former teammate Eric Patterson had one of each. Jeff ND took his first loss of the season, while another former teammate Sean Gallagher took the W.
Bonus-With all of the movement between Iowa and Chicago, the I-Cubs rotation has had to add and subtract. Just as Hart moved back to the rotation, so did J.R. Mathes. As a starter, Mathes is 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA over 6 starts with a 1.05 WHIP and he has struck out 4 times the batters he's walked. In his latest outing on Sunday, he threw 7 innings, giving up a run on 3 hits and 2 walks.
Welington Castillo-With Clevenger gone, Castillo can get some regular PT and hopefully get his swing back in the groove. He had a modest 4 game hitting streak heading into game 2 of Tuesday doubleheader (he had a pinch-hit single in game 1), but has gone 0 for 9 since. The righthander is now batting .185 on the season, including a surprising .107 against lefties. The only good news is that he only K'd twice this week.
Jay Jackson-Jackson turned in another strong performance on Sunday, going 6 innings, giving up a run on 3 hits and 3 walks and striking out 8. He earned his third W of the year. Over his last 5 starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA. He's struck out 35 batters in 32 innings pitched and has a 1.09 WHIP. He starts tonight and with another strong performance, he could be looking at pitcher of the month honors.
Bonus-The "centerpiece" of the Cubs return in the Michael Weurtz trade, Richie Robnett, is struggling, and that's putting it nicely. He started the season at Iowa, where a .184 BA sent him to Tennessee. He still is looking for his swing. In the 8 games since his demotion, he's 3 for 21 and has 6 K's. On the season, he has more triples (3) than doubles (1).
Tyler Colvin-With the constant rain in Daytona preventing the D-Cubs from playing 7 games, Colvin essentially had an extended layoff from his D.L. stint, playing only once in 7 days since being removed. But the last three days have been clear, allowing Colvin to get into the swing of things. Over the last 3 games, he went 3 for 10 with a triple and 2 RBI's. In what's been a shortened month for him, he's hitting .298 in May.
Starlin Castro-Again, only 3 games this week, so limited stats. 3 for 12 with a walk, 2 K's and 2 caught stealing attempts. He's hitting .384 for the month of May with 8 extra base hits, after hitting only singles in April.
Andrew Cashner-Cashner started on Tuesday and pitched well. Over 5 innings, he gave up a earned run on 3 hits and no walks while K'ing 5. His 5 innings were his first start over 3 and 1/3 this year. He was in line for the win before 2 ninth inning runs crossed the plate, leaving him without a record on the season.
Bonus-Alberto Alburquerque (who prefers to go by Al, meaning his name is Al Alburquerque) has been a nice reliever for the D-Cubs this year. In 14 relief appearances, he has a 2.14 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He's given up just 2 runs in his past 13 and 1/3 innings. He has an impressive 22 K's against 8 walks in 21 innings pitched. The lone issue with Al Al seems to be the longball...he's given up 3 HR's, accounting for 4 of the 5 earned runs he's allowed.
Josh Vitters-As mentioned earlier this week on TD, Vitters is now the #1 hot prospect on BA's Prospect Hot Sheet, released last Friday (he was also the Midwest League hitter of the week last week). He's likely to stay on the list, if not at the top of the list, when it's released later today. Vitters has a 7 game hitting streak and has hit in 11 of his last 12. 3 more HR's this week, bringing his total to 11 (he is trying to go after Fox now that he's in the Bigs?). In April, he hit a respectable .302 but had 4 extra base hits (including 1 HR) and 7 RBI. In May, he's hitting .400 with 10 HR's (15 XB's in total) and 21 RBI's.
Ryan Flaherty-Flaherty is in a funk. 2 hits this week in 24 AB's (.083 BA). Both hits were singles. He didn't add any walks and he struck out 6 times. So much for his stat of getting more walks than K's. He did add a stolen base, making him 4 for 5 on the season.
Bonus-For all those who are ready to lynch JH for trading DeRosa, maybe part of the return will calm you. Chris Archer, considered the weakest prospect of the three, has blossomed in his first season in the Cubs organization. 9 starts, a 2-0 record, a 1.29 ERA, and a 1.11 WHIP. He's struck out 47 batters in just 35 innings (12.09 per 9). The righthander is equally effective against lefties (hitting .160 off him) as righties (.176). In his last 5 starts, he's given up just 2 runs total (a 0.78 ERA).

The Rest

No word on Dae Eun Rhee or Hak Ju Lee.

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