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Around the Minors- May 15th

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Matt Swain

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

AAA Iowa Cubs- W 11-1

Player(s) of the Game:
C Welington Castillo- 2-3, BB, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
SP Mitch Atkins- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K; 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI

  • Chad Tracy was 4-4 today, and now is 17-28 for a .607 batting average with 2 BBs and 4 2Bs in his first 6 games. He's incredibly hot, and has had three 4-hit games in a week. Shame he didn't do this with the Cubs, or he may still have a big league job.

  • Welington Castillo is realizing the raw power he's always had. Coming into the season with 38.1 AB/HR and a .129 ISO, his 5th home run Saturday puts those numbers at 13.4 AB/HR and a .298 ISO. He doesn't have the polished bat he would need to start, but his power could be useful in a backup role. On a similar note, the Cubs system is lousy with backup catchers. If only there was a trade market for them.

AA Tennessee Smokies- W 8-2

Player(s) of the Game:
1B Blake Lalli- 2-4, BB, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
SP Austin Bibens-Dirkx- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K

  • Tony Campana started this game off with a ground ball single to RF, swiped second and third base, and scored on a double by Ty Wright. He needs to keep up his batting average to have value, but right now he's playing like Juan Pierre in his hey-day. He'll need to sustain this throughout the year before I'll give it any credence, and that seems unlikely given the .402 BABIP.

  • ABD has been an incredibly pleasant surprise, and he just doesn't give up many hits. It's probably karma from his 2008 season in the hitter friendly California League, when everything fell in for a hit and a high percentage of fly balls cleared the fence. He finished with a 7.95 ERA, which led to him being jettisoned from the Mariner organization. You know what they say, one man's trash could look much better if he had some luck for another man. Or something like that.
A+ Daytona Cubs- L 6-2

Player(s) of the Game:
RF Kyler Burke- 2-4, 2B, 2 R

  • A second consecutive two-hit day for Burke pushes him above the Mendoza line, but he also had 2 more Ks, which is extremely concerning. His 2009 season may turn out to be a fluke based on repeating the league, as many insinuated during the off-season. It's still early, and he's got plenty of time to turn it around still, but it has to start with him making more consistent contact.

  • I warned you about DJ LeMahieu before this season, and he's proving me right so far with a .235/.269/.265 line. His groundball rates (62% this season) are just too high for him to hit for power, and they'll suppress his batting average as well. He may need a swing overhaul if he's going to ever improve.
A Peoria Chiefs- L 4-0

Player(s) of the Game:
SS Hak-Ju Lee- 2-4

  • Peoria has stopped winning, and this was kind of a stinker. Lee was the lone bright spot, and he's now 7 of his last 20, raising his averages to .252/.313/.336. Of all the bad starts among Cubs prospects, Lee's is the one I'm least worried about. As much as anyone else, he's been the victim of bad luck in the early going. He'll come around.

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