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Around the Minors- May 18th

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Matt Swain

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

AAA Iowa Cubs- W 6-1

Player(s) of the Game:
SP Thomas Diamond- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

  • Sam Fuld had a little bit of a rough start to the year, battling injuries and a slump in April, but he's come around and is back to doing exactly what he does best-- get on base. After a triple and double today, he's hitting .278 with an excellent .391 on-base percentage. Sam's playing this year at 28 and needs an injury to even get a 5th outfielder role on the Cubs. His MLB career is not looking so promising.

  • This was the best outing of the season for Diamond, who actually has a lower contact rate on strikes for the season than ballyhooed teammate Andrew Cashner. The key is really if he can hit his spots, and on the days when he's in and around the strikezone he's excellent. It's about a 50/50 proposition whether he will be or not on a given day though, which holds him back.
AA Tennessee Smokies- L 2-1

Player(s) of the Game:
SP Hung-Wen Chen- 6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K; 1-2, 2B

  • It's these kind of losses when I typically highlight someone who's struggling, so today I'll pick on SS Marwin Gonzalez. He was Starlin Castro's replacement both at shortstop and in the 2-hole, and I don't know what Bill Dancy was sniffing when he made the decision on where he would hit. Gonzalez is a fine defender, but he had a .596 OPS last year for Daytona, and sure enough his overall mark this year is a .603. That sounds more like an 8 hitter, or even a 9 when you consider the Tennessee pitchers tend to be able to swing it a bit.
A+ Daytona Cubs- W 4-1

Player(s) of the Game:
SP Chris Archer- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

  • File this Archer performance in the "Great News" category. After allowing a home run and double in the first inning, Archer recovered to retire 16 straight batters, 10 by strikeouts and 5 by groundouts. It's definitely in the top 3 starts of the season so far for Cubs minor leaguers (along with Jackson's 8 IP, 2 H performance and Cashner's 6 IP, 2 ER, 10 Ks), and perhaps the best overall. It also completes the recovery from his bad start, and his overall numbers now look pretty impressive, with a 3.34 ERA and 39/15 K:BB in 35 IP.

  • Ryan Flaherty reached base 3 times and continues to be hot since his demotion. Brandon Guyer did this same thing last year, failing in AA before dominating the Florida State League. He had to wait until the last month or so of the season to get another crack at it, and Flaherty's spot's been taken by Josh Vitters, who may not relinquish it until he earns another promotion. Hopefully Flaherty gets back sooner rather than later, his biological clock is ticking.
A Peoria Chiefs- L 14-1

Player(s) of the Game:
RP Larry Suarez- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

  • Rarely is a team so thoroughly dominated. They yielded 13 hits and 12 earned runs, plus 2 more that scored off errors. Offensively they mustered just 1 hit, a double off the bat of Nelson Perez.

  • Amidst some serious struggles, Larry Suarez has been a big bright spot for the Chiefs. He has unexpectedly turned things around, finally figuring out his command. At just 20 years old and with a big body and even bigger fastball, Suarez could have some helium as a relief prospect if he can continue to minimize his walks.

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