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Around the Minors- April 30th

Matt Swain

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

In honor of a no-hitter*, I'll lead with Peoria today and let them have top billing for once.

*over 5 innings due to rain

A Peoria Chiefs- W 4-0 in 5

Player(s) of the Game:
SP Nick Struck- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

  • Well it's more like a half no-hitter, but it counts in the record books, so congratulations to Nick, who's had a terrific start to the season. The 20-year-old former two-way player gets his fastball into the low 90's with good control, and has a nice 4 pitch mix. He is a definite player to watch this year after getting an above-slot signing bonus in last year's draft, and he'll certainly garner some more eyes after today's outing.

  • At the plate, 3B Greg Rohan is doing his best to make himself relevant on the prospect scene, kicking off the season with a .276/.337/.461 start in a league where the average hitter sits at .247/.323/.366. His power is more advanced than I would have expected, and 3 home runs in a month of MWL play is a moderately impressive accomplishment. Still, he's got to keep this up for at least a season before he'll get much recognition as a prospect.
AAA Iowa Cubs- L 1-3

Player(s) of the Game:
3B Marquez Smith- 1-2, BB, RBI

  • Catcher Chris Robinson, who walked 13 times all of last season, drew his 6th walk of the month today. He's also got just 3 strikeouts, so maybe he's trying to be more selective in the early part of 2010. The results are mixed, as he's getting on base and hitting for some power, but his average is at just .233. Of course, that's over a total of 10 games so it's probably too small of a sample size to waste so much time thinking about. Of course, that's what us prospect watchers do best, isn't it?

  • For whatever reason, nobody in the Pacific Coast League seems to be hitting well in what typically plays as a hitter-friendly league. The current average league OPS is .727, compared to last years total of .749. I guess that's probably the cold weather talking. As with a lot of things in the minor leagues, we'll have to see how it plays out.

AA Tennessee Smokies- W 8-4

Player(s) of the Game:
SP Chris Carpenter- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; 1-2, RBI
RF Matt Spencer- 2-3, 2 BB, 2B, HR, 4 RBI

  • Nice to see Carpenter back to his old ways on the mound, going a full 5 innings and picking up his first win of the season. Let's hope to see more of that in May.

  • George Herman Chirinos had another 2-5 day. It's awful early to be saying this, but he's doing a good 2007 Geo Soto impression so far.

  • Matt Spencer moved on after a successful rehab assignment in Daytona and started with a bang, having about as successful a game as is possible. His current OPS for Tennessee is 2167, but it's still early and I'm sure if you give it some time it will get back up to a respectable level.

A+ Daytona Cubs- L 3-4

Player(s) of the Game:
CF Brett Jackson- 3-4, BB, 2B, R, 2 SBs
DH Josh Vitters- 4-5, 2B, R, RBI

  • When you collect 14 hits as a team, you're not supposed to end up with 3 runs. But I guess it's about what you'd expect from Daytona, a team that's averaged just 3.76 runs a game this year.

  • How about the struggles Mike Brenly has had? He's not an especially good hitter, but would you have guessed .173/.271/.231 for a guy who saw significant Arizona Fall League action? If so, you're smarter than me.

  • Josh Vitters' .281/.326/.461 line may not look terribly impressive, but when taken in context of the league (which is clearly my theme of the day), that power is pretty impressive. Consider that Daytona has just 9 HRs on the season, and 3 of them belong to Josh. The league average slugging is .358, and he's destroyed that so far.



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1 Comment

toonsterwu said:

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Wanted to come around and say nice job. What fascinates me about Struck is whether or not he has a bit more left in his arm that could be developed in the next year or two. He's still a solid prospect with his current arsenal, but if he can add a tick or two on the fastball, he could really jump (if the performance maintains).

Well, that's one sleeper of mine that has done well so far. Waiting on Justin Bristow to come back to see if my breakthrough guess was accurate.

I'm sure you'll get to today's update soon, but geesh, that was a bad GO/FO for Jay Jackson today.

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