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Around the Minors- April 28th

Matt Swain

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

Today's ATM brought to you by Marlon Byrd's sick catch.

On a side note, I read a nice comment from someone about the Around the Minors recaps I write every night, and I wanted to thank him for that (you know who you are) and also thank you for reading. It's sometimes tough to write these every night, so thanks to those of you who check in every once in a while and make me feel like I'm not wasting my time.
AAA Iowa Cubs- Off Day

AA Tennessee Smokies- L 6-5

Player(s) of the Game:
2B Tony Thomas- 1-3, BB, 2 Rs
SP Austin Bibens-Dirkx- 7 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 Ks

  • Thomas probably didn't have one of the best two hitting days, but I wanted to highlight how unexpectedly awesome he's been. Coming into this year, there was little reason to expect him to do anything noteworthy, and I said some less than nice things about him in profiles this offseason. But I have to give it to him; he's been fantastic. In 13 games he's produced to the tune of .375/.535/.594 with 10 walks. He's either completely made over his approach or is just really locked in right now. We'll find out in the coming months, but here's to hoping it's the latter.

  • Teammate and fellow hot starter Robinson Chirinos sits at .351/.409/.702. Don't really have a comment, just wanted to remind you how good he's looked.

  • Austin Bibens-Dirkx really had his work cut out for him after coming to the Cubs organization as a 24-year-old failed A ball reliever last season. Somehow, he's turned himself into a legitimate candidate to pitch in the major leagues someday. No, he's still not much of a prospect, but ABD dominated in Peoria and is off to a good start in AA at 25, which gives him a shot at an MLB look at some point. Good for him.
A+ Daytona Cubs- L 3-5

Player(s) of the Game:
CF Brett Jackson- 2-4, 3B, R

  • In contrast to Tennessee, where everybody seems to be playing their absolute best baseball, nothing good seems to be happening in Daytona (aside from Jackson). Today's starter Chris Archer has been awful, and giving up 2 ER in 3.1 IP actually qualifies as his second best performance of the season. It's just a 14.1 inning sample size, and his 7.53 ERA is slightly concerning, but in my mind the 9 BBs are the worse sign for Archer, for whom control is a big issue.

  • Kyler Burke has really scuffled early, and after an 0-4 performance is .173/.253/.253. He's not making a lot of contact and seems to having trouble with the adjustment to a higher level after 3 seasons in the Midwest League. His stock has taken a hit so far, as the big doubt coming into this year was that he had needed to repeat the MWL before getting it down. Hopefully it won't take as long in the Florida State League.

A Peoria Chiefs- W 4-2

Player(s) of the Game:
LF Richard Jones- 2-4, R, 2B, 2 RBIs

  • Jeff Beliveau: 11.1 IP, 23 Ks, 6 BBs. That's about all you need to know about how his season has started. He probably tops my list of guys who need to be promoted in short order. Come on Cubs, what's he got left to prove at this level?

  • Speaking of people proving themselves at this level, Hak-Ju Lee hasn't started yet. Hopes were very high coming into the year, but some forget how raw he still is. He's shown it this year with his .243/.278/.311 line. The kid is 19 years old, so a bad month at Peoria isn't that big of a deal. Problems will arise if it turns into a bad two months or a bad half-season.



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