A Trip Around the Minors


Posted by Lionel on July 17, 2009.

Short weeks for a lot of the players, between the AA and AAA All Star Breaks and the Future's Game for Vitters and Castro. But check out the hitting battle at Boise in this week's ATAtM...

Iowa

Steve Clevenger-Clevenger's BA ended at 8 games on Sunday with an 0 for 4, 2 K performance. Those 2 strikeouts were his first two 27 AB's. He started off slow following his promotion to Iowa in May, but has raised his average 10 points in July.

Bonus-Since being traded back to the Cubs on July, Matt Craig has shown why the Cubs wanted him back. The former 3rd round pick who became a 6th year free agent before the season has a .288 BA with 10 RBI's in 13 games. He's only K'd once in his last 32 AB's.

Tennessee

Welington Castillo-Maybe the All Star break gave Castillo a chance to relax and refocus. Last night, he went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI's. His 3 hits were more than the total for the month and his 3 RBI's were his first 3 of the month. He also scored his second run of the month.

Tyler Colvin-Colvin may have only hit .200 for the past week, but he was productive in those 4 games. He had 2 runs, 2 RBI's, a triple and a walk. Colvin's numbers on the year nearly mimic the numbers he put up last year at Tennessee. Granted, he had offseason surgery, but I think a little of the shine has come off his star.

Jay Jackson-Hasn't pitched since July 7th, due to the All Star break.

Andrew Cashner-Cashner pitched Wednesday night, going 4 innings and giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 5. Cashner was mentioned in this week's Ask BA (last question), which explains the pitch count he has been on all year, limiting the innings he's thrown.

Bonus-Maybe Jim Adduci picked up a tip or two at the All Star game, because he returned with a bang. On Wednesday night, he was a triple short of the cycle in a 3 for 5 effort. Last night, he had 2 singles, a walk, and a stolen base. If you throw in his performance the day before the AA All Star break, he has gone 7 for 12 with 6 runs and 2 RBI's, including a double, triple, HR, 2 walks, and a stolen base. In the past three days, he's raised his OPS for the season 37 points.

Daytona

Josh Vitters-Vitters added 28 points to his Daytona BA, which only puts him at .222. It's still a small sample size, just 45 AB's. The good news is that Vitters has cut down on his strikeouts (again, a small sample size); he's K'd just 4 times since joining the D-Cubs (one per 11.25 AB's) after striking out one in less than 6 AB's.

Starlin Castro-On Wednesday night, Castro went 4 for 4 with a double, 2 runs, and an RBI. In his 4 games this week, Castro hit .385 with 4 runs and he was a perfect 3 for 3 in stolen bases. Castro's stolen base percentage is back up over 70%. If you threw out April, Castro has a .335 BA.

Bonus-A year ago, Dan McDaniel was dominating the Northwest League with a 1.67 ERA and 7 saves as the Hawks closer. A year later, he's been up and down as a starter at Daytona. He went 2-0 with a sub 1 ERA in April and had a 3.86 ERA for the month of May. But June was unkind to him, going 1-4 with an ERA over 6. He's bounced back to a 3.60 ERA for this month. While his biggest issue is that he's getting hit (he's given up over a hit per inning), he is keeping them in the ballpark. 73 and 2/3 innings pitched, 1 HR.

Peoria

Ryan Flaherty-Flaherty's hitting streak ended at 7 games on Monday and so did his 7 games with a run scored streak. Thankfully for him, his 6 games with a strikeout streak also ended that night. Nonetheless, Flaherty's hitting .283 for the month, his best month of the year. Despite a low BA (.246), Flaherty has a very respectable .738 OPS.

Bonus-Manolin De Leon joined the Chiefs in May and was above average, grabbing a win and striking out 11 in 8 and 2/3 innings with a 3.12 ERA. He gave up his fourth run of the year in early June, pitching sporadically. Since then, he's given up just 1 earned run in 17 and 1/3 innings (a 0.52 ERA). Righties are hitting less than .100 off him.

Boise

Hak Ju Lee-Lee was a HR short of the cycle last night, and has posted numbers similar to Adduci's over the last three games. 8 hits in 14 AB's, 6 runs, 5 RBI's, a double, a triple, and 3 stolen bases. Lee still leads the league in stolen bases, is 2nd in the league in runs, and is tied for 3rd in doubles. But he is 2nd on the team in hits (see below).

Bonus-Not to be outdone by Lee, Logan Watkins went 5 for 6 last night with 3 runs. He's 11 for his last 15 and has an 8 game hitting streak in which he's batting .576 with 11 runs. Prior to this hitting streak, he was batting .217 with 7 runs. He's now 5th in the Northwest League in hitting and has 2 more hits than Lee.

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

All Star Report


Posted by Lionel on July 16, 2009.

The upper three division of baseball had their All Star games this week, so let's take a look

AA (Tennessee)

Blake Lalli got the start at the 1-sack, going 0 for 4 in the game but getting an RBI on a sac fly. He also struck out twice. Jim Adduci entered the game in the 4th as a defensive replacement. He came up with an RBI single in the 5th and flew out in the 7th. He also had an active game in the field. He caught three balls in right and recorded an assist on a forceout out second base. Tony Thomas came in as a pinch hitter, flying out in his only AB, but remained in the game at the 2-sack position for the rest of the game.

Casey Coleman was the first guy out of the 'pen, pitching a scoreless second. He struck out two and gave up a bloop single. Because of the weird way the game went, Coleman was the only pitcher credited with a hold (he entered and let the game with a lead of 3 or less). Jay Jackson pitched just one inning, the fourth, and only threw 8 pitches, but he went 3 up, 3 down with a strikeout. But with the year he's having, it was fitting that he was the winning pitcher of the All Star game. Smokies closer Brian Schlitter came in in the ninth inning, promptly recorded two outs (one via the strikeout) and was lifted with 2 outs in the ninth to assure all the team's pitchers got into the game.

Darwin Barney was selected to play, but promoted to AAA before the All Star game, making him ineligble

MLB (Chicago)

I know it looks like a weird order, but this was the order in which the games were played. Ted Lilly was the Cubs lone representative and per the Cubs request, was placed in the group of pitchers to be used last, so when the game went final in 9 innings, Lilly didn't get to pitch. Which was fine...I get to watch Lilly pitch every fifth day, I don't need to see him out there in the All Star game. As for the game, the Cubs will now have to steal home field advantage by winning a road game in the World Series.

AAA (Iowa)

Chris Robinson got the start behind the plate for the PCL All Stars and played 5 innings. He flew out in the third, but singled and scored in the fifth. He caught five different pitchers in a PCL loss.

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

Cubs Bits


Posted by Lionel on July 13, 2009.

After getting 18 innings of pro baseball plus a couple of potential future Cubs in the Futures game yesterday, the only Cubs you'll be able to see for the next three days are Ted Lilly (in the All Star game), Chris Robinson (an I-Cub in the AAA All Star game, Wednesday on the Deuce) and Sammy Sosa (in all the old HR derby's that the ESPN family of networks will be showing), so here's a few nuggets for the next few days:
  • I still can't believe that the Cubs are going with the plan of having Jake Fox be the team's #2 catcher until Geo comes back. I think recalling Fuld was just an opportunity to get another bat on the roster for the twinbill yesterday. I suspect they'll call up Chris Robinson, but wanted to wait until after the AAA All Star game. I know that sounds a bit weird, but team's realize that these guys have feelings too and they want them to get recognized for their accomplishments, instead of calling them up a few days before their All Star game.

  • The Cubs still have faith that some of those bad drafts I wrote about could still turn around. First, they re-signed Joe Simokaitis, a tenth round pick from 2005 who they released a year ago. Simokaitis, a former light-hitting SS, is trying his hand at pitching. Now the Cubs have acquired Matt Craig from the Marlins AAA system for future considerations (i.e. money) and put him in Iowa. Craig was a 3rd round pick back in 2002 who declared free agency after last season (minor leaguers who have six years service time and aren't added to the 40 man roster can declare free agency). I assume they brought him back to provide a little more depth (he can play 1st, 3rd and OF).
  • In former prospect news, the Padres received Sean Gallagher as the PTBNL in the deal that sent Scott Hairston to the A's.
  • B.J. Ryan is expected to clear waivers today and reports say that the Cubs are the leaders to land him. In fact, the Cubs are the only team I've heard showing any interest. It may allow the Cubs to have two lefties in the 'pen or could allow them to move Sean Marshall back into the rotation as the fifth starter until Dempster returns.

  • The Non-BJ Ryan Rumor Mill is starting to heat up as well. The Cubs are supposedly kicking the tires on a couple of 2-sacks. This is starting to feel like LF in 2005, when the Cubs started the year with a Todd Hollandsworth/Jason Dubois platoon, traded Dubois to the Indians for Jody Gerut, traded Gerut to the Pirates for Matt Lawton, then traded both Lawton and Hollandsworth and used Matt Murton and Jerry Hairston when they were 20+ games out of 1st place. But I digress...the Cubs have supposedly shown interest in Freddy Sanchez, Mark Teahen, and Felipe Lopez.

  • Freddy Sanchez seems like a longshot. For one, he is one of the "hotter" names out there. You'd also have to believe the Pirates still have the ARam and Kenny Lofton for Bobby Hill, Matt Bruback, and Jose Hernandez thoughts in the back of their mind, even if this is a different regime and Sanchez is 31, not 25. Then again, the Pirates fire sale is obvious and Sanchez is making $4M+ this year.

  • Mark Teahen is a guy who the Cubs have previously inquired about this offseason. He is a "super-utility" left-hander who, unlike the rest of the super-utility crap the Cubs have been acquiring, is actually healthy (he's played in all but 2 games) and having a solid season. He's hitting .294 with 9 HR's and 5 stolen bases, playing mostly the 3-sack, but also's played 1-sack, 2-sack and RF. He's 27 and making over $2M this year. I could see the Cubs making this move because they notoriously stay after players they want (is Brian Roberts still available?).

  • Felipe Lopez was an All Star and Silver Slugger as a 25 year old SS in 2005. The next year, his HR total was cut in half, but he stole 44 bags. Then spent a year and a half wasting away in Washington, but batted .385 for the Cards down the stretch last year and has a solid .302 average in Arizona this year. He has played exclusively at the 2-sack this year after playing at 6 different spots last year. He is a switch-hitter and could play SS in a pinch, something the Cubs are missing unless/until Aaron Miles comes back.

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