TD's Top Prospects-#20 Pitcher

Posted by Lionel on April 18, 2009.

John Gaub

Rank: #20 Pitcher (TD), #29 Prospect in Indians System (BA)

Age: 23

Position(s): RP

Team(s): Lake County (Low A affiliate of the Indians)

Acquired: trade with Indians for Mark DeRosa

'08 Key Composite Stats: 3.38 ERA, 34 appearances, 64 IP, 100 K's

Breakdown: The second member of the DeRo trade on the top 25 pitcher list, John Gaub seemed to be part of JH's plan to acquire more strikeout pitchers. Upon arrival, the lefthander moved to the top of the list in K's per IP (or the more common K/9) in the Cubs organization. Granted, it was for a different team in a different league, but 1.56 strikeouts per inning? If his WHIP (1.19) and ERA (3.38) were lower, he'd be a terrific prospect. The other thing I like is the 1.88 innings per outing, meaning he often faced the majority of the opposing team's lineup.

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A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on April 17, 2009.

ATAtM's back...with the minor league season underway, it's time to once again see what's happening among the top prospects according to BA and BP.

Iowa

Jeff ND-The big question for Samardzija was whether he'd be starting or relieving in Iowa. Week one of the season hasn't provided any answers, because he started and relieved. He came in in relief on Opening Day, giving up 3 runs on 2 HR's in 2 innings pitched. His start 4 days later was more promising. 4 innings pitched, 2 hits and a walk, 4 K's, no runs allowed.

Kevin Hart-Hart is off to a bad start. He pitched two scoreless relief appearances before Wednesday, but yielded a hit in each and a walk in one. Things unraveled on Wednesday...5 earnies in 1/3 of an inning on 4 hits and 2 walks. A 4-2 Iowa lead became 7-4 in a "Hart"beat (sorry, it was too easy). If you are looking for silver lining, his one out was recent MLB demotee Blake DeWitt.

Bonus-When Micah Hoffpauir broke camp with the Cubs, he must've handed his Iowa magic bat to Jake Fox. Granted, it's only been 8 games, but Fox is currently hitting .516 with a 1.676 OPS, thanks in large part to his 4 HR's, but I should also mention he's tripled. Not only has he started the year on an 8 game hitting streak, he's started the year on an 8 game streak of scoring at least one run. He has at least one extra base hit in 6 of the 8 games he's played in.

Tennessee

Welington Castillo-Castillo is off to a slow start with the bat, hitting just .143 in 4 games. Right now, he's splitting time with Steve Clevenger, the 11th best prospect in the organization according to BA, so we'll have to see what the Cubs do to get both enough PT.

Jay Jackson-Jay Jackson struggled in his season debut, allowing nearly every batter would reached first base to score. In 4 innnings of work, he yielded 7 hits, 2 walks, and 6 earned. The 7 hits result in a .438 BAA to start the season.

Bonus-After a solid '08 campaign landed him on TD's top 25 pitchers (at #24), Hung-Wen Chen has come out of the gates on fire. He is 2-0 in his two starts with a 2.31 ERA. He has struck out 9 in 11 and 2/3, but most impressively, he has walked only one batter.

Daytona

Tyler Colvin-When I got through the Iowa and Tennessee stats, I went back to milb.com to find out why I'd missed Tyler Colvin, because I figured he was definitely going to be in either AA or AAA to start the season. Instead, he's in Daytona. While that seems odd, it may be more a matter of letting him play everyday in warm weather rather than dealing with the unpredictable spring weather in Tennessee or Iowa. In any case, Colvin is off to a slow start. Usually a hot/not hitter, he's not right now, batting .182 in 7 games. He has managed to coax 7 walks, so his OBP is a solid .379, leading the team. I think once the weather warms up a little, he'll be playing for Ryne Sandberg in Tennessee.

Starlin Castro-Castro is a SS who just turned 19 and is already playing in Daytona. He is a potential 5 tool player (I know, we've all heard that before). He impressed enough this spring to leapfrog over Ryan Flaherty (see below) and start the season in Daytona. He's hitting .304 with 2 stolen bases in 3 attempts in his 7 games. It would seem to me that he'd be a little out of his league, going from rookie ball to advanced A ball, but we'll see. The Cubs SS logjam is probably the reason you see him at Daytona.

Bonus-Dan McDaniel started the third game of the year for the D-Cubs, and it was quite a performance. 6 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk. Drafted last year, McDaniel was making his first professional start after 22 relief appearances last year.

Peoria Chiefs

Josh Vitters-Vitters picked up where he left off last year. In 5 games, Vitters has 7 hits, giving him a BA of .368, with only one K in 19 AB's. So far, all 7 have been singles.

Ryan Flaherty-The second of the three SS's on the Cubs Top 10 list, Flaherty was a supplemental 1st rounder from last year. Flaherty is off to a great start, one upping his Chief teammate Vitters by hitting .391 with a .491 OBP and an OPS over 1.000.

Bonus-Aaron Shafer, the Cubs 2nd round pick from last year, is another pitcher off to a great '09 campaign. 2 starts, 12 innings pitched, 2 earned runs (a 1.50 ERA), 9 K's, 1 walk. On Wednesday night, he threw 7 innings and struck out 7. So much for bringing guys along slowly to start the season.

The Rest

Hak-Ju Lee (the third of the SS triumvirate) is still in Arizona. Andrew Cashner and Dae Eun Rhee have started the season on the D.L.

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What it takes to be a Cubs Fan...Part II

Posted by Lionel on April 16, 2009.

If you read Arthur's post from March 9, you will discover how he became a Cubs fan. Not being born or raised in the greater Chicagoland region, I have been asked the same question: How did you become a Cubs fan? My story begins with a single-engine plane...

I was just a pup when my friend's uncle invited me to tag along on a trip to Chicago to see a Cubs game with them. He owned a single-engine four seater which we landed at Meigs Field (the former single-strip airport on Northerly Island). My memory recalls a 1-0 game, won on a Ryne Sandberg solo HR. If my memory of that day is correct and I was told accurately told what was transpiring in the game, it was likely September 20, 1986 (thank you, Baseball-Reference). It was exciting...Ryne Sandberg, a second baseman just like me, scored the only run of the game on a HR. I felt like he'd hit the HR for me. What I didn't realize is that if that date is correct, that big win moved the Cubs to 63-85, only 34 games out of 1st place. As a side note, Barry Bonds lead off for the Pirates and went 0-5, dropping his season BA to .222, Jamie Moyer threw 7 shutout innings for the Cubs, and former Cubs GM Ed Lynch pitched an inning of relief.

I was hooked on the Cubs and hooked on Ryne Sandberg. I soon discovered that the local Fox station (Fox television was in its infancy at the time) carried the WGN feed on some weekends, allowing the love of all things Cubdom to blossom.

Since Arthur's post provided some fan suggestions, I thought I'd provide my own additions to his list:

1) If you are out of "little league," don't bring your glove to the game. Man up and try to catch the ball barehanded. If you can't, well, you don't deserve the ball. It's not bloody likely that you are going to catch a ball, anyways, and it's just embarassing to everyone to see you carrying around some brand new shiny glove you bought just for the Cubs game.

2) Speaking of catching balls, show some respect during batting practice. I watched BP yesterday and I think some fans lost their voices before the game even started. Do you really want a practice ball that bad? Are you going to tell your grandchildren "yep, I caught this ball from Edgar Tovar (bullpen catcher) back in '09. I had got to the game 3 hours before the gates opened so I could scream until my throat was raw, and had to knock over 8 people, but I got a BP ball at Wrigley Field." It's unlikely that I'll ever grab a BP ball, in large part because I won't be knocking people over for one, but if I did, I'd find a kid and give it to him. That ball would be worth more to an 8 year old than you. I promise. Finally, if the player, whether he be in the blue pinstripes or not, decides not to throw every ball he gets into the stands, I don't think he deserves a profanity-laced tirade. I clearly heard someone ride David Patton yesterday for not throwing a ball into the stands, despite the fact that he'd already thrown 3. Again, is it that important to you?

3) I'm sorry that Mark Prior turned out to be a bust, and I'm sorry that you plunked down over a benjamin to get that authentic jersey, but it's time to take it off. Seriously. Same for Wood, DeRo, etc. When you go into your closet to pull out your Cubs gear for the game, you should only pull the jersey out if a) the guy currently plays for the Cubs or b) the guy is retired and a legend around Wrigley. If it's a Wood jersey, you can probably hang on to it. In 15 years, it'll be cool again. But not now. And I don't see any appropriate time for the Prior jersey...you probably should've burned it in effigy years ago.

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