Cubs Minor League Recap: Castillo has big day, Vitters still hot, McNutt with 4 scoreless innings

Cubs Minor League Recap: Castillo has big day, Vitters still hot, McNutt with 4 scoreless innings
Welington Castillo with Randy Wells

The Cubs affiliates split their games today. Iowa and Peoria won their games while Tennessee and Daytona lost theirs.  Here are some of the highlights...

Iowa 5 - Albuquerque 1

  • Casey Coleman started and threw well but had to leave the game with an apparent injury.  Nothing is known at the time of this writing but I'll update it when I have more information.  As for the game, Coleman pitched well despite some occasional command problems.  He went 5 innings, gave up 3 hits, 3 walks and 1 run.  He struck out 3.  He also pitched in with 2 hits and an RBI.
  • Veteran LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith came in and looked sharp in 3 scoreless innings in which he walked none and struck out 3.  His ERA is 1.93 in the early going.
  • Blake Parker is continuing to pitch well after impressing this spring.  He threw a 1-2-3 inning in which he struck out one.
  • The offense pounded out 10 hits and drew 4 walks.
  • Welington Castillo was the main star going 3 for 3 with walk.  He hit a HR and a double.  He also scored 3 runs.  He's at .357 for the year. On defense he saved Brett Jackson a throwing error but also dropped a pop-up in foul territory.
  • Josh Vitters continues to hit well.  He was more aggressive today, swinging early and often, but the results were good.  He had 2 singles and a sacrifice fly to drive in 2 runs.  He's batting a robust .450.
  • Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo did not partake in the fun.  Both went hitless although Jackson drew a walk.  Jackson has actually scuffled in the last 3 games and his average has dropped to .286.
  • Tony Campana got 2 more hits including a perfectly placed drag bunt single.
  • Adrian Cardenas played SS today and is still locked in at the plate. He got his 6th extra base hit of the year with a triple.  He now has4 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 HR.  He's batting .320 overall.

Jackson 2 - Tennessee 1

  • I have my full scouting report of the 3 pitchers who threw today (McNutt, Antigua, Rhoderick) on  Click here to read them.  The 3 pitchers combined to strike out 12 batters.
  • Trey McNutt threw 4 scoreless innings although it wasn't always pretty.  He gave up 2 hits and walked 3.  When he was on, he showed 3 above average pitches.  His fastball velocity and movement was very good, his curve ball had tremendous sharp break, and his change-up was the best I'd ever seen him throw.  He used it as an out pitch on two separate occasions.  McNutt had 5 strikeouts in all.
  • LHP Jeffrey Antigua came in and was impressive.  He mixed speeds and threw strikes.  Antigua went 3.1 innings and gave up just one run.  He struck out 4.
  • Kevin Rhoderick took the loss when he gave up a HR in the 9th inning.  His slider has wicked downward movment.  The best way I can describe it is it looks like he's throwing a whiffle ball up there.  He pitched 1.2 innings and struck out 3.
  • Logan Watkins and Jae Hoon Ha laid down consecutive bunt singles while Michael Burgess also had a single.

Dunedin 7 - Daytona 1

  • LH finesse pitcher Eric Jokisch threw 7 innings but had less than mediocre results.  He have up 5 runs (4 earned).  He gave up 7 hits, including 2 HRs and walked 3.
  • Hard throwing Larry Suarez struggled in his one inning of work.  He gave up 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs to put the game way out of reach.
  • Matt Szczur was hitless but it was encouraging to see him draw 2 walks.  He seems to have made a concerted to get on base and now has 4 walks on the season.  He has a .333 OBP despite hitting  just .182 so far.
  • Ronald Torreyes went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts.
  • LF Rubi Silva supplied almost the entire offense today.  He had 3 hits, including the team's only extra base hit (a double) and scored the only run.  He's at .476 to start the year.

Peoria 5 - Quad Cities 3

  • Michael Jensen had his second straight strong outing although it didn't start off that way.  He gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in the very first inning but then settled down to throw 5 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball to give his team a chance to come back and win the game.
  • Yao-Lin Wang looks dominant in his new role as a reliever.  He pitched 2 perfect innings in which he struck out 3.
  • LH Closer Andrew McKirahan got the save despite giving up 2 hits in the 9th.  He did not give up a run, however.
  • 2B Zeke DeVoss had 2 hits, including a double.  He has held his own with a .280 average so far.  He and Paul Hoilman (who was drafted as a college senior) are the only 2011 draftees in the everyday lineup.
  • DH Hoilman had a double and a walk, but has struggled so far at .182.
  • Wes Darvill, who impressed a couple of our readers with his approach in a spring training game, is off to an encouraging start.  He played SS today and went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .318.  He also drew a walk.
  • Reggie Golden had a single and a walk, but the raw prospect is still adjusting to more advanced pitching.  He's off to a .182 start.
  • 1B Ryan Cuneo is in his second year at Peoria and had the big hit of the day, a 3-run HR in the 6th that put the Cubs up 5-3.


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    John do you think Bjax might just be pressing a little or is their some kind of mechanics in his swing that need ironing out? Or Just a bad week maybe? Anyhow I'm not worried about him.

    Vitters and Cardenas raking is good to hear and for me expected. I'd rather hear how they were defensively.
    Mcnutt is a wild card for me bc if he gets it together the future rotation is strong. Shark, wood, mcnutt, volstad. and either a big free agent signing or keep Garza as your number 1. Sounds like money to me.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't think he's pressing. Just a bad week. He does have a lot of swing and miss to his game so he might be prone to slumps now and again. I don't believe he'll be a .300 hitter in the majors so maybe he's just settling into a more realistic batting average for himself at .286!

    No challenging plays for either Vitters or Cardenas so not much to report there. Cardenas probably won't play much SS in the bigs but Cubs always have their middle infielders move around. If either one of them do something to stand out and I catch it, I'll certainly include it in the recap.

    McNutt looked very good and very frustrating, all in the same game. If he can pitch like the good McNutt, he'll be a fixture in the rotation for years.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Alright thanks John I know you hear this all the time but this is the place to go for cubs news daily. Thanks a bunch.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Your welcome and thanks for those kind words!

  • John, i'm stoked about Vitters...I wonder if his being buds with BJax and Rizzo have helped fuel his turnaround..Those guys are hard workers, it would be nice if some of it rubbed off...I'm hoping Castillo keeps putting it together, i'm done with Soto....

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Castillo just seems to keep improving. Even his approach is much better than it was just 2 years ago. Will control the running game better than Geo as well.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Hopefully some of Vitters has rubbed off a bit. Did get a couple of hits but looked a bit like the old Vitters last night. They were just foolish enough to throw him strikes early in the count.

  • I'm with you on Soto, he is not even recognizable as the player he was as a rookie, he really let his skills and game decline. I'm liking what I see about Vitters, it's early still but I am hoping this is the year he finally puts it together.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Remember everyone, it's early. Soto was hitting the ball well late in the spring so I don't want to jump to conclusions with him yet. When he's on, he's a better hitter than Castillo. Unfortunately, he hasn't been "on" enough lately.

  • I hate to quibble with Vitters' success, but it sure would be nice to see him hit for extra bases. So far his 9 hits have all been singles.

    I wonder if that's an indication Cubs coaches have shortened Vitters' swing -- at least with two strikes. It's great that Vitters is striking out less. But if it turns him into Darwin Barney (ca. 2011), then he doesn't have the other tools he'd need to stick in the majors. He'll need to hit for power.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I was thinking the same thing. He has hit a few ropes but no extra base hits. The approach has been inconsistent too, so I'm not getting excited yet

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