A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on June 12, 2009.

A late posting of ATAtM last week plus a busy weekend equals a new ATAtM with only a few games...


Steve Clevenger-So far, Clevenger has played 1/2 the number of games at Iowa that he did at Tennessee, so his stats should be half what they were, right? Not quite. He had 42 total bases at Tennessee, he has 12 so far at Iowa. He had 10 RBI's, he has added only three more. Not surprisingly, he's hitting only .100 with runner's in scoring position. Oddly enough, the lefthanded batting Clevenger is hitting .273 against lefties but only .167 against righties.

Kevin Hart-Hart started last night's game and was solid. 7 innings pitched, 2 earnies, 4 hits, 3 walks, and 5 K's. But those two earned runs doubled his earned run total as a starter and brought his starter ERA up to 1.38. Hart would be in line for a promotion, but given the disparity between starting and relieving, he's probably only going to be called up if there's a starting need and Lou doesn't want to go to Marshall.

Jeff ND-Samardzija has been on a starting rollercoaster since mid May...a good start, then a bad start, then back again. Tuesday night was time for the good start. 6 innings, 5 hits, no walks, one earned run. He got the win in his fifth consecutive start with a decision. Samardzija also managed a run-scoring triple.

Bonus-Since being sent down, Neal Cotts has pitched like a man trying desparately to get back to the Show. After giving up a run on a hit and two oh-so-predictable walks in his first outing, he has thrown up zero's in his last four, totaling 4 and 2/3. Over that span, he has allowed 2 hits and zero walks.


Welington Castillo-A pair of 1 for 3's since the last posting has Castillo's BA for June up to .154 and his overall BA up to .198. Castillo has struck out in each of his last 4 games and has more K's (29) than hits (25). Things haven't turned around for Castillo after being handed the majority of the starts behind the dish.

Tyler Colvin-Colvin's return to Tennessee has too small a sample size to truly determine if he's getting closer to 100% after the off-season surgery, so it's better to focus on a few small items. First, it appears the plan is to rest him about every third or fourth game, although he usually gets an AB off the bench. Strikeouts continue to be his major bugaboo. After striking almost once per game at Daytona, he's only struck out about once every two games for Tennessee, but remains on pace to strike out over 100 times this year.

Jay Jackson-On D.L.

Bonus-There aren't many batting numbers that jump out at you when looking at James Adduci's line. A .282 BA, 21 RBI's and 21 runs in 54 games. But when you get to the running game, it's a different story. He's 12 for 12 in the stolen base department, ranking him 7th in the Southern League and being the only one in the top 15 who hasn't been caught.


Starlin Castro-Castro has a 4 game hitting streak and has hit safely in 6 of his last 7 games. His lone 0'fer was during the first game of a doubleheader (in which he played both games). Over that stretch of 7 games, he's batting .308 with 5 runs and 3 stolen bases. He's now has a 73% success rate in stealing.

Andrew Cashner-It would be hard to characterize any of Cashner's outings as bad, as he hasn't given up more than 2 runs in any start. But the problem is he isn't going deep into games, so sometimes 2 earnies looks big. Like last night, when he gave up 2 earned runs in 4 and 1/3. His second run came after he'd left the game and the bases loaded. Because he hasn't given up a ton of runs and because he has only pitched 5 innings once, it's not surprising that he has started 9 games and doesn't have a record.

Bonus-I generally try to keep from repeating the same name two weeks in a row in the bonus section, but since I used Robinson Chirinos in a double bonus, I decided it was OK. Chirinos continues to crush the ball. Chirinos hit a HR on Tuesday, didn't play on Wednesday, and hit another HR last night (in a 3 for 5 effort). On the season, he has 10 HR's and 31 RBI's. In his last 10 games, he has 7 HR's and 18 RBI's.


Josh Vitters-Vitters has always been a streaky hitter. After hitting .386 with 12 HR's in the month of May, he's off to a .152 start in June, thanks in large part to an 0 for 16 in his last 4 games. The good news is that he only K'd in one of those AB's and still managed to drive in two RBI's. He now has 37 RBI in 56 games, which would be over 100 over the course of a 162 game season.

Ryan Flatherty-Flaherty's minor 5 game hitting streak came to an end on Tuesday. After going 0 for 6 in his last two games, the promising start to the month of June has stalled. Flaherty is hitting .235 for the month after hitting exactly the same in May. In a weird stat, he's hitting .291 with runners on base but only .196 when those runners are in scoring position.

Bonus-With 6 Chiefs on the All Star roster, it's not surprising that there were probably deserving guys left off. One of those guys is Christopher Huseby. Maybe it was Huseby's 1-4 record that kept him off, but the rest of the numbers are outstanding. The 6 foot 7 inch reliever has a 2.31 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He's also struck out 1.41 batters per inning. But here's the mind-blowing number: a 16.5 to 1 K/W ratio. He has struck out 33 batters and only allowed 2 hits all season. If you are trying to remember where you've heard the name before, it might be because the Cubs dished out a reported 1.3 million dollar bonus to lure Huseby from heading to Auburn.

The Others

No news on Dae Eun Rhee or Hak Ju Lee.

Want to comment? Just click the post title above to join the discussion.

Draft, Day 2

Posted by Lionel on June 10, 2009.

I won't be going round-by-round, but giving highlights throughout the day...
  • The Cubs 4th round pick is lefthanded pitcher Christopher Rusin from the University of Kentucky. He's a senior who ranked as the #192 prospect according to BA. He had a 4.20 ERA, but struck out 108 in 94 innings pitched and had a WHIP of 1.30. He was a 23rd round pick of the A's last year.
  • The Cubs took Brooks Raley in the 6th round (the 200th overall pick). Raley is a leftie from Texas A&M. He is ranked as the #82 overall prospect by BA. In 2008, he was a second team freshman All American. This year, he went 7-2 with a 3.74 ERA. Raley struck out over a batter per inning and had a WHIP of 1.08. He also played OF, where he was known for his speed. BA says he's one of the best two-way college players in the draft. MLB.com has him as a safe pick, a guy who will probably make it to the majors, and could be as high as a #3 starter. He is the third left-handed pitcher the Cubs have drafted and all three had better than a K per inning. He is supposed to be a tough sign.
  • In the 8th round (no, I'm not just skipping the odd numbered rounds), the Cubs selected Robert Whitenack, their fourth pitcher but first righthander. He's listed at 6-5 and according to BA, has the best or second best curveball in the Northeast. BA also says it was a value pick for the Cubs.
  • With the 380th pick (12th round), the Cubs drafted Burundi Davis. Davis was an 11th round pick by the Pirates coming out of high school in 2007. He is also the ninth college player drafted out of the 12 picks the Cubs have made.
  • The 500th selection (in the 16th round) in the draft was the Cubs selection of Keenyn Walker. The high schooler was also a football recruit, ranked the 80th best safety in the nation by Rivals.com.
  • In the 17th round, the Cubs selected Brandon Dail. It has to be a nice day for Dail, who was in a hospital in serious condition after a car accident during the Cap Cod League almost one year ago today. He jumped on the hood of his teammate's truck and when his teammate hit the brakes, he fell off and was pinned underneath.
  • Local propsect Gerardo Esquivel was drafted by the Cubs in the 24th round. He attended De La Salle Institute and has a scholarship to play at Kansas State.

Want to comment? Just click the post title above to join the discussion.

Draft Recap, Day #1

Posted by Lionel on June 9, 2009.

With the 31st pick in tonight's draft, the Cubs selected Brett Jackson, a left-hand hitting CF from Cal Berkeley. BA had Jackson ranked as the second best athlete among college position players (you may have to re-read that one to understand what it means) and the #34 prospect overall. The question becomes whether the 6-2, 210 lber will have enough speed to stay at center. According to Bob Brenly (who saw him play against his son and with his son in a summer league), he can. If he has to move to a corner, there's some concern that the 20 year old won't have enough power. The other knock on Jackson is that he lacks a little plate discipline. Jackson hit .321 with 8 HR's and 11 stolen bases this year.

In the second round (79th overall), the Cubs selected David LeMahieu, a righthanded hitting infielder from LSU (yes, another infielder from LSU). But LeMahieu doesn't suffer from the same height deprivation that The Riot and lil Mikey suffer from, as he goes 6-4, 200 lbs. Why is he labeled a infielder, instead of a specific position? Well, he started as LSU's starting shortstop, but was moved to second in late April. And at 6-4, 200 lbs, he will probably fill out and if so, would be better suited at third. LeMahieu was a bit of a "value" pick, because he came out of last year's prestigious Cape Cod league as BA's #6 prospect and was picked pre-season as a mid-first rounder. Before the draft, BA had him ranked 73rd overall. He hit .335 with 4 HR's and 8 stolen bases this year. He was drafted in the 41st round in the '07 draft by the Tigers.

In the third and final round of the evening, the Cubs selected Austin Kirk as the 109th player selected in this year's draft. Kirk is a left-handed pitcher out of high school, but is actually 19 years old. He was ranked as the 151st best player overall by BA. As most high schoolers who get drafted high, he dominated. He went 9-1 with a 0.45 ERA and 111 K's in just 62 innings of work. He had better than a 5 to 1 K/W ratio. He also plays first base. Kirk has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Oklahoma this fall.

Want to comment? Just click the post title above to join the discussion.

A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on June 8, 2009.

Low level All Star teams announced (6 for the D-Cubs) and as the new draft class gets announced (starting tomorrow), news on 7 from the '08 class.


Steve Clevenger-Iowa hasn't been quite as kind to Clevenger as Tennessee pitching was. In 13 games, he's hitting .227 (he hit .364 at Tenn.) with a .517 OPS (.976 at Tenn.). He's playing nearly everyday at Iowa, either behind the dish or as the team's DH (a luxury not afforded at Tennessee, where the pitcher's bat). In fairness to Clevenger, he was logging most of his PT at Tennesee against righthanders compared to an almost even number of AB's against both at Iowa.

Kevin Hart-What a difference it's been since Kevin Hart moved to the starting rotation. In 4 starts, Hart has pitched 19 innings and given up a total of 2 earned runs, giving him a sub 1 ERA (compared to a 5.75 ERA in relief). He's only allowed 7 hits and 8 walks (a 0.79 WHIP), but 5 of those came in his latest outing. I'm guessing they keep Hart in the rotation for the time being.

Jeff ND-For every solid performance Samardzija has put up in AAA, he has a bad one to counter it. As a result, he is 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA. He's started twice since the last ATAtM, and kept his rollercoaster going. In a shortened 7 inning game (as is the custom when you play a doubleheader in the minors), Jeff ND threw a complete game, giving up 2 earnies over 6 hits and 3 walks. But then he came back on Thursday and gave up 4 over 5 innings with 9 hits and 2 walks. He's no stranger to seeing the ball leave the playing field from the mound...he's given up 7 HR's in just over 40 innings.

Bonus-Blake Parker was promoted to AAA after a solid month at Tennessee where he posted a 1.46 ERA in 12 innings of relief with 19 K's. In his first outing with the I-Cubs, he gave up an earned run. A month later, that remains the only blemish on his ERA, which now sits at 0.82. He has 6 saves in his 11 appearances, and while he hasn't posted the 13.86 K/9 ratio he did at Tennessee, he is still over one per inning (9.82).


Welington Castillo-If you remove a 3 for 4 performance on May 30, Castillo is hitting a buck twenty five since the last ATAtM posting. But with that 3 for 4 performance, his BA jumps all the way to .214. Since the calendar turned to June, he has 2 hits in 20 AB's with 6 K's and nary a walk. Then again, he only has 5 walks on the season. In comparison, Koyie Hill has managed 9 walks in half the AB's with the big club.

Tyler Colvin-Colvin was bumped back up from Daytona as he slowly progresses from offseason Tommy John surgery. After struggling to a .250 BA at Daytona, he's off to a good start at Tennessee. He's hitting .316 in 8 games with 3 extra base hits, including an HR. He had a 4 game hitting streak end yesterday.

Jay Jackson-For the first time all season, there's something in which to be disappointed regarding Jay Jackson. After posting another strong performance on May 29 (5 and 2/3, 1 earnie on 2 hits and 3 walks), Jackson headed to the D.L. with a bruised right leg. Jackson has a 3.35 ERA on the season.

Bonus-One of Oneri Fleita's strengths is finding talent in the later rounds of the draft, and last year was no exception. While top pick Andrew Cashner stole the headlines and Jay Jackson has been annointed with the early title of great find, his teammate and draftmate Casey Coleman can't be overlooked. The 15th round pick from last year is arguably pitching better than Jackson. He has a 5-2 record with a 2.89 ERA, topping the team in both wins, IP, and ERA (among starters). In his last four starts, he has a 1.93 ERA.


Starlin Castro-Castro has hit safely in 8 of his last 9 games, hitting .343 over that stretch and raising his BA from .291 to .302. In addition to the hits, he's stolen 3 bags in 4 attempts during that stretch and is drawing walks. Prior to this 9 game stretch, Castro had a total of 4 walks on the season. He has walked 3 times in the last 9 games and 4 times in the last 10. The combination of speed and hitting has landed him a spot on the Florida State League All Star team.

Andrew Cashner-In the 1st inning of Cashner's May 26th start, he gave up a run before shutting the opponent down over 5 innings of work. Since then, he hasn't allowed a runner to cross home plate; a span of 11 and 1/3 innings. He still isn't going deep into games, witnessed by the 7 total innings in his last two starts, but the results have been great. He has a 1.75 ERA for the season and has struck out nearly a batter per inning.

Bonus-It's a double bonus, as catcher Robinson Chirinos and pitcher Ryan Searle will join Castro on the FSL All Star team. After advancing to Tennessee last year, Chirinos found himself back at Daytona this year with the catcher logjam the Cubs have. He has responded by hitting .344 with 8 HR's in 27 games (assuming a catcher only gets in 140 games a year, he'd be on pace to hit 41 over the course of a full season). He has become noted for his two grand slam game on May 31. As for Searle, the 19 year old Australian was selected prior to his last outing, which is a good thing. He was 4-3 with a respectable 3.13 ERA in 10 games (9 starts). But yesterday's stat line for Searle was ugly. 3 and 1/3, 6 earned, 7 hits and 3 walks. His 3.13 ERA jumped to 4.01.


Josh Vitters-Vitters has cooled off after being named BA's hotest prospect. In his 9 games since the last ATAtM, he hitting a mere .257. But he closed the month of May with a .386 BA and 12 HR's and 27 RBI for the month. Vitters is second in the Midwest League in HR's and fourth in batting average, which made him an easy choice for the Midwest League All Star team.

Ryan Flaherty-Flatherty has a 4 game hitting streak and has hit safely in 5 of the last 6, giving him a .292 BA since the last ATAtM. He also added 3 HR's, including in back to back games Saturday and Sunday, almost doubling his HR total for the year. While his BA still sits at .243, his OPS is up to .749.

Bonus-This bonus is times 5. Let's take a look at all the D-Cubs All Stars:

Kyler Burke-(OF) .278 BA, .812 OPS, 5 for 5 in stolen bases
Josh Harrison-(DH) .346 BA, .880 OPS, only 21 K's in 208 AB's, 8 for 15 in stolen bases
Rebel Ridling-(reserve INF) .270 BA, 6 HR's
Chris Carpenter-(P) 3.04 ERA in 11 starts, 49 K's in 50.1 IP, .204 BAA
Ryan Buchter-(P) 2.35 ERA in 23 innings of relief, 28 K's, 4 saves

The Rest

No news on Dae Eun Rhee or Hak Ju Lee

Want to comment? Just click the post title above to join the discussion.