A Trip Around the Minors

Posted by Lionel on June 19, 2009.
A Hak Ju Lee sighting, Jay Jackson returns from the D.L., and more...

Iowa


Steve Clevenger-Clevenger will enter tonight's game with a 5 game hitting streak. During the streak, he is hitting .389 with 3 runs and 3 RBI's. His last 5 games have raised his Iowa batting average 50 points, to .258. Clevenger also had 2 doubles during the streak, giving him 8 on the year in 143 AB's.
Kevin Hart-Hart had one start this week and earned his 3rd W in a row. While the run total looks good, it was more of a struggle than it appeared. He only gave up one earned run over 6 innings, but gave up 6 hits and 3 walks. In the 6th, he gave up his only earned run (and an unearned run), but it could've been much worse. With runners on 1st and 3rd and only one out, Hart K'd the next two batters to limit the damage. The team responded with 3 in the top half of the seven to take the lead and give Hart the W.
Jeff ND-Back to the down portion of the starting rollercoaster for Samardzija as mentioned in last week's ATAtM. 6 innings, 8 hits, 4 earned, and a loss. Samardzija has now gone W, L, W, L, W, L in his last 6 outings. What's a little baffling is that righties are actually hitting better off him then lefties. Righties are hitting .274, lefties .261. The best stat for Jeff ND is that he's only walking 2.39 guys per 9.
Bonus-Former brick-crasher Sam Fuld is showing that speed doesn't slump. Fuld is 16 of 19 in the stolen base department on the year, and has 6 bags in his last 10 games. His 16 is tenth in the league, behind former Cubs Eric Patterson and Buck Coats. Fuld is also 2nd in the PCL in triples, with 8.
Tennessee
Welington Castillo-Castillo has only logged 11 AB's in the last week with only 2 hits. A pinch hit appearance in the first game of yesterday's doubleheader allowed the streak of games with a K to end, which was at 6. On the season, Castillo has just one fewer K than he does hits and walks combined. I'm guessing Castillo won't be making a return trip to the Future's Game this year.
Tyler Colvin-Like Clevenger, Colvin will take a 5 game hitting streak into tonight's action. Colvin is hitting .400 during the streak, raising his Tennessee BA 50 points. But Colvin is hotter. He has 3 HR's in his last two games, albeit 3 solo HR's. He has 4 RBI's in his last 4 games, doubling his Tennessee total.
Jay Jackson-Jackson came off the D.L. on Sunday and pretended he hadn't missed two weeks. 5 innings pitched, 4 hits, 0 walks, 1 earned run. After his first 3 outings, Jackson had pitched 13 and 1/3 and had given up 14 runs. Since then, he's given up a total of 6 earned runs over 42 and 2/3 innings (a 1.27 ERA).
Bonus-The Cubs 4th round pick in 2007, Darwin Barney, still has some work to do in the field as a SS (15 errors in 63 games), but his stick seems MLB-ready. He leads the Smokies in hits, RBI's, 2nd in total bases, and 3rd in OBP. He is 3rd in the Southern League in batting (among qualifiers).
Daytona
Starlin Castro-Castro has hit safely in 8 of his last 10 games, but has actually watched his BA drop by 4 points, in large part because he's only had 1 multi-hit game. He only had one extra base hit, a pinch hit double. He added 2 stolen bases this week, making him 13 of 17 for the year (76.5% success rate).
Andrew Cashner-Cashner dominated again this week, on Tuesday, with a 3 hit, 1 walk, no earned run performance. That is his 3rd no earnie start in his last four (a 1.17 ERA). He has a 1.85 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP for the season.
Bonus-After struggling at the start of the season at Tennessee, David Cales was demoted from Daytona. The demotion has done him well. In 18 games, he has a 1.29 ERA and 7 saves for the D-Cubs. The 7 saves are tied for fourth the in FSL, despite the fact he wasn't on the team for the first month of the season. His WHIP is an even 1.00 and has allowed only 1 HR in 21 innings pitched.
Peoria
Josh Vitters-Vitters has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 games after a prolonged drought. Along with a .308 batting average during that stretch, Vitters has 5 RBI's, giving him 42 on the season. He is tied for 7th in the Midwest League in RBI's. Despite a homerless June to date, he is 2nd in the league in HR's.
Ryan Flaherty-A 7 for 26 week means only a .269 BA for the week, but it raised Flaherty's BA by 4 points. Looking past his BA, Flaherty had a good week. 8 RBI's, 3 runs, and 3 extra base hits (a double, a triple, and an HR). He did K 9 times.
Bonus-Christopher Archer doesn't have the record to reflect it (2-2), but he's having a solid season at Peoria. Much like Cashner, Archer's record is more a reflection of his IP. He's only logged 5 innings 3 times in his 13 starts, and all three were 5 innings exactly. But Archer has a 2.42 ERA and hasn't given up a single HR in his 48 and 1/3 innings pitched this year. He has also struck out 62, or roughly 1.28 K's. per inning.
Boise
Hak Ju Lee-Finally, some news on Lee, who will be in uniform tonight for Boise's home opener.
The Rest
The rest is now just Dae Eun Rhee, and there's no news.

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Turning the Tide

Posted by Lionel on June 18, 2009.

The man who will get the Cubs going is....Pedro Martinez? According to Pedro himself, the Cubs and the Rays have shown the most interest in Pedro and he is likely to sign a deal soon. There are so many angles to this story, but I'll try to cover them all.

First, let's remember that it's a report from the player, not from any other source. The Tribune is reporting that the Cubs sent a scout to watch Pedro work out, while the St. Petersburg Times says the Rays have talked to Pedro but nothing is remotely close. In other words, it sounds like Pedro either thinks he's closer to a deal than he is or he is floating teams out there to the media to try to drum up attention and his asking price.

Second, there's the issue of whether he would be a starter or reliever. People (and by people, I mean scouts and analysts) are split on the issue. Some think he doesn't have enough left in the tank to pitch 5-6 innings anymore, while others say he's too old to get warmed up quickly or pitch in back to back games. My guess is that if the Cubs are going to bring him in, it would be as a starter. Their bullpen has jelled with the additions of Ascanio and Guzman. It's not out of the realm of possibilities that they would bring him in as a reliever, but I am going to proceed as if the Cubs are looking to add him to the rotation.

Third, if this interest is genuine, what does this signal? Well, I think it could signal that the Cubs scouts don't believe that Randy Wells will continue his sterling season and that once teams (and scouts) see more of him, they will hit him. He has a 2.55 ERA in 7 starts and an impressive 3 to 1 K/W ratio. And yes, before his callup he had a similar 2.77 ERA and 3 to 1 K/W ratio in 5 starts for Iowa. But prior to this year, Wells had spent two full seasons at Iowa with a 4+ ERA and has a minor league career ERA of 3.74.

The other possibility is that the Cubs want to make a trade that will require the loss of some pitching (Wells, Sean Marshall, etc.). It would be a perfect time to trade Wells while the iron is hot. Even if the Cubs think Wells will continue to be as successful as he is now, it's still worth the risk, because his track record doesn't show this level of success. It may also be time to move Marshall, not because he doesn't have value to the Cubs as a swing man, but rather because he still figures to be a long-term starter and is value to another team may be higher.

Fourth, there's the issue of what the Cubs would do if they trade some pitching because they have Pedro and then watch their starting staff get hurt. Well, the AAA staff is full of potential emergency/short term starters, which could allow JH to be more aggressive. J.R. Mathes has been a left-handed swing man for the Iowa club, where he has a 3.25 ERA overall and an impressive 2.50 ERA as a starter. After struggling out the gates, Kevin Hart was moved from the 'pen to the rotation and has posted a 1.41 ERA in 6 starts. And there's always Jeff N.D., whose been up and down, but has a 3.91 ERA over 10 starts for Iowa.
Finally, maybe the Cubs think they need someone who can take down the oldest coach on the opponent's team if there is a brawl.

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