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Around the Minors- April 17th

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Matt Swain

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

Link of the day today is this ridiculously cool picture of the volcano eruption in Iceland.

AAA Iowa Cubs- L 1-7

Player(s) of the Game:
C Chris Robinson- 1-3, BB
RP Jeff Stevens- 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 K

  • As you can probably tell from the uninspired selection of POGs, this wasn't a banner game for Iowa. The offense struggled with just 6 hits, and starter Mike Parisi was roughed up a little bit, giving up 7 runs (5 earned) in 4 innings of work. He hasn't looked very good yet, and he's much further away from the Cubs than when he got here
    .
  • One guy who is not far from the Cubs is Stevens, who has had a nice start to the year, with 1 ER and 7 Ks in his first 4.1 innings. Unfortunately, his command hasn't been very good, with 5 walks, and that's the big question for him. Still, he's got some MLB experience and throws with his right hand, so he may be an option for the Cubs in the coming weeks and months.

  • The Iowa offense is not very good. I suggest firing hitting coach Von Joshua and bringing in Rudy Jaramillo as a replacement. I hear he's bilingual.

AA Tennessee Smokies- W 8-6

Player(s) of the Game:
C Robinson Chirinos- 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, BB

  • This will sound familiar to Cubs fans: the losing pitcher was John Koronka.

  • Hung-Wen Chen threw a nice game for the Smokies, allowing just 6 hits, 1 walk and 1 earned run in his 7 innings. The 24-year-old is a fringy prospect at best, but he's a workhorse as far as minor league pitchers go, racking up 142.2 innings last season. You don't often see teams leave pitchers out that long.

  • With Starlin Castro resting today, Chirinos carried the offensive load with his big day. He's shown some Ruthian power early in the year, with 3 home runs in 25 at-bats. The converted infielder has also turned himself into an excellent defender behind the plate, and actually may be the next catcher to get a call if one is needed.

A+ Daytona Cubs- W 9-0

Player(s) of the Game:
3B Josh Vitters- 3-4, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs, BB
SP Brooks Raley- 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

  • Kudos, Josh. Power and patience in the same day? I didn't think you had it in you.

  • I love the outing from Raley, who has had a monster start to the season. He's got 13 Ks in 9.2 IP, hasn't allowed a run, and has just 3 walks. Raley isn't a high upside pitcher who's going to be a star, but he's an athletic lefty with a deep repertoire who should slot in the back end of a rotation nicely.

  • Marwin Gonzalez didn't do much of anything last year for Daytona, but the 21-year-old infielder is making the most of his second chance to date. He's put together a .371/.450/.429 line in his first 35 at-bats, and it could be a signal of a breakout season...or it could be a fluke, it is pretty early.

A Peoria Chiefs- W 7-6

Player(s) of the Game:
2B Logan Watkins- 3-5, 2 Rs
SS Hak-Ju Lee- 2-5, R, RBI, SB

  • The top 3 hitters in the order come through again, with the Lee-Watkins-Cerda combo combining to reach base safely 7 times. Even with their lack of power, Peoria will have a chance to score runs with those high OBPs at the top of the lineup card.

  • Su-Min Jung had a weird game. He allowed 3 hits and 0 ER in 5 innings while striking out 5.to get the W, but also walked 4 and allowed 5 unearned runs. I like his stuff, and will be watching him closely throughout the season.

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