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Around the Minors- April 8th

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Matt Swain

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

Welcome back to a new season of Around the Minors, the only Cubs minor league wrap where you get my sparkling commentary and hopefully learn something the box score doesn't tell you. But if the box score is what you're after, well, we have those too.

Check back every day to keep tabs on your favorite Cubs prospects.

As always, I'm interested in suggestions about anything you'd like to see done differently around here, so send any questions or feedback to wrigleybound@gmail.com.

AAA Iowa Cubs-
L 6-3

  • Ryne Sandberg lost in his Iowa debut as starter J.R. Mathes yielded 5 ER in 5 IP, striking out 5 and walking just 1.

  • Mathes is a 28-year-old soft-tossing lefty beginning his fourth season in Iowa. He's a career minor leaguer who would need a 2006-level disaster for the Cubs to get a major league shot. If you were wondering what the J.R. stands for, his full name is Alfred George Mathes. Go figure.

  • Not much going on with the offense, who could only muster 4 hits. Bobby Scales was the lone standout, reaching base 4 times on a single and 3 BBs.

  • Interesting to note that Darwin Barney started at 2B with Matt Camp at SS. Camp plays all over the field, so it seems weird that they would give him the nod over such a highly touted defender at shortstop. It's just one game though, we'll have to see what Sandberg does over the course of the season.

AA Tennessee Smokies- W 4-3

  • The big story out of Tennessee was Andrew Cashner, who struck out the first 7 batters he faced and wound up with 10 in his 4.1 innings of work. He was dominant until the wheels came off in the 5th inning. See my earlier post for some sweet infographics on Cashner and thoughts on his future.

  • As I tweeted during the game, the incredible speed and baserunning ability of Tony Campana really make you wish he could do some other things well. He's not terrible at getting on base I guess, with a .337 OBP, but he has absolute sub-zero power and is really just a poke and slap hitter.

  • One demonstration of how fast he is though: at one point Campana is on second with Starlin Castro on first. They attempt a double steal. The throw goes to second, as the catcher thinks he's got a better chance to get Castro, despite the longer throw and Castro's pretty substantial speed that allowed him to swipe 28 bases last season. The radio announcer says something along the lines of "they had NO chance at Campana". Castro was still safe.

  • Castro finished the game 2-4 with a single up the middle and an RBI triple that was more of a misplayed flyball than anything else. No Tony Thomas in the starting lineup today, his stock has absolutely plummeted since 2008.
Hi-A Daytona Cubs- L 3-0

  • Daytona's offense only obtained 1 hit in their opener/introduction to the FSL. If it weren't for Michael Brenly's second inning grounder up the middle, the D-Cubs would have had a pretty memorable opening day.

  • Not much noteworthy on offense. DJ LeMahieu did take 2 walks, which is cool. Brett Jackson also walked and stole second to lead off the game.

  • Rafael Dolis was very good on the mound, throwing 5 IP of scoreless baseball, allowing just 2 hits and 0 walks (!!!) and striking out 5. That's an awesome line from Dolis, as walks will be his biggest enemy going forward. He's certainly got the stuff, with his fastball reportedly touching triple-digits. Here's to hoping he keeps it up.

A Peoria Chiefs- W 5-4

  • Robert Whitenack picked up his first career win after 5 IP of 4 ER ball. His fastball topped out at 89 MPH tonight, and isn't much of a prospect at this point.

  • Justin Bour and Greg Rohan both showed a bit of power, with a 2B and 2-run HR respectively. That's good news, since their power will determine how far they go as prospects. Bour especially was a huge HR hitter in college but didn't show that in Boise last year.

  • Also nice to see some patience from the infield/top of the order. Hak-Ju Lee, Logan Watkins and Matt Cerda hit 1 thru three and each took a walk. They'll be the big three names to watch in Peoria this season.

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2 Comments

tim815 said:

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Is there a good reason Mathes started the opener? Seems to me Atkins, Jackson, Coleman, or ever Parisi would have made more sense. Experience, I guess?

Matt Swain said:

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Parisi was actually penciled in as the starter but was scratched for unknown reasons. But yeah, I think you nailed it Tim I'm sure it was experience related. Plus he did have a pretty good year for Iowa in 09. And I guess the order doesn't really matter anyway.

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