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Around the Minors- April 11th

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Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

You thought the Cubs couldn't hit? After a combined 16 games of action and 539 at-bats, the Cubs minor league system as a whole is hitting .219/.300/.304 right now with just 8 HRs.

In other words, if the Cubs minors were a major leaguer, they would have just completed a full season and finished at the Yuniesky Betancourt/Aaron Miles level of futility. Ugh. 

Normally you might blame cold weather, but that hasn't been an issue so far. Just slow starts all the way around. What an organization.
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AAA Iowa Cubs- L 4-2

  • Ryne Sandberg is still winless. Pff. And people wanted him to manage the Cubs.

  • Most of the blame falls on Iowa's anemic offense, where Jason Dubois is really the only guy off to a good start. He hit his 2nd bomb of the year in his first at-bat to score the first Iowa run, and the other was provided by a Micah Hoffpauir RBI double.

  • Casey Coleman had his first start of the year and yielded 3 runs (2 earned) over 6 innings. He added 4 Ks and 0 BBs.  Overall a successful debut, though he did give up a home run, which is one of the stats to watch I pointed out prior to the season.

  • Interesting to note that Sam Fuld has just 2 at-bats in the first 4 games. He must have fallen out of favor with Sandberg or something, because it's unusual for a guy so close to making the major league roster to find himself in a bench role behind guys like Dubois and Brad Snyder. I would imagine the front office will encourage Sandberg to find some more innings for Fuld, who at least should be kept sharp in case an injury makes him an option for the Cubs.
AA Tennessee Smokies- W 4-1

  • The I-Cubs keep losing, and the Smokies keep winning, moving to 4-0 after this one.

  • Recent interviewee Jake Opitz made his second start of the season, and essentially repeated his first at the plate, going 1-3 with a BB. He's not flashy and won't be a star but Opitz does a good job getting on base.

  • 24-year-old control specialist Hung-Wen Chen pitched well in his season debut, allowing just 1 earned run over 5 innings. His fastball sits in the high-80's, but his arsenal is pretty deep with a curve, slider and a nice splitter. He has the slightest of prospect status at this point, based pretty much on his ability to not walk people often.

  • Brandon Guyer is one of just a few Cubs prospects off to good starts, and he continued it with a 1-3 day with a 2B and a BB. It's encouraging for Guyer, who was just terrible to start the season in Tennessee last year and was demoted shortly after to Daytona, where he killed it. He's kind of a tweener, with not enough power for a corner spot and questionable range in centerfield, so he'll have to make some kind of progress in the next couple years.
A+ Daytona Cubs- W 10-5

  • The D-Cubs busted out the first double-digit score of the year behind Josh Vitters, who went 3-5 with a pair of RBI doubles in his first two at-bats.

  • Remember when I talked at length about how DJ LeMahieu hits too many groundballs? He hit just 1 in his 6 at-bats tonight, winding up 3-6 with a 2B and an RBI. Good sign for DJ, who seems to have settled in as the everyday second baseman for Daytona.

  • Brett Jackson's patience at the plate has really been impressive so far, and he sports a .350 OBP despite a .133 AVG. Keep reaching base, Brett. It's good for scoring runs and stuff.
A Peoria Chiefs- W 2-0

  • Impressive outing by Trey McNutt, who struck out 7 hitters in just 3 innings, though he did walk 2 and allow 2 hits. He's got a great fastball that's just too good for the hitter's he is facing. Control is going to be his major hurdle, and 2 BBs in 3 IP isn't exactly promising on that front. But it's good to see the Cubs picking up some electric arms like his in the 32nd round of the draft (2009).

  • Su-Min Jung picked up the win in relief, pitching 4 scoreless and allowing just 3 baserunners to reach. He's not overpowering, but works with a good mix of pitches and at 20 is still projectable.

  • Matt Cerda watch: 17 plate appearances, 4 hits, 5 walks. On base percentages above .500 are cool.

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