Cubs Minors Recap: Rusin, Rosario shut down opposition

Cubs Minors Recap: Rusin, Rosario shut down opposition
Chris Rusin

There were only two games today as Daytona had the day off and the Tennessee game was postponed.  The two teams that did play were both victorious, led by strong pitching performances from their starting pitchers...

Iowa 4 - Sacramento 3

  • Chris Rusin is a lock to be put on the Cubs 40 man roster at the end of the season but if he keeps pitching like this, it may happen sooner.  The LHP had yet another strong outing, perhaps his best one yet, as he pitched 8 innings of shutout baseball.  He gave up just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.   He's at 4-2 on the year with a 2.82 ERA.  He has a 2.62/9IP walk rate with 5.28 strikeouts per 9 innings.  Rusin works with an 88-90 mph fastball, good command, and one of the better change-ups in the organization.
  • Scott Maine had another tough outing, retiring just one batter while allowing 3 hits, 1 walk and 3 runs.  After a great start, his ERA now stands at 5.73.
  • Blake Parker came in and got the last 2 outs for his 5th save.
  • Brett Jackson continues to struggle. He had 3 ABs and struck out 3 times.  He walked once.
  • Anthony Rizzo had 2 doubles and a single while scoring one run.  He's at .351/.416/.673 on the year.
  • 27 year old Ty Wright had a HR and 2 RBI.  He also had a single.

Peoria 5 - Burlington 3

  • Jose Rosario is a slightly built, but hard-throwing right-hander, having touched as high as 97 mph.  He'd struggled for most of the year but really put it together today with 6 scoreless innings.  He allowed 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7.  Rosario has been hit a bit harder than expected this season.  He's surrendered 55 hits in 42 innings, but he does have swing and miss stuff with 7.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.  I believe he eventually ends up in the pen, but the Cubs will keep him as a starter for now -- especially if he continues with outings like this one.
  • RHP Luis Liria pitched 2 innings and gave up one run.   He walked none and struck out 3.  He's performed well out of the bullpen with a 2.30 ERA on the season.
  • Converted power hitter Charles Thomas got hit hard after a strong debut the last time out.  He pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 ERs.
  • LHP Jeffrey Lorick came in for one batter and struck him out for his 5th save.
  • Wes Darvill is an athletic 3B with a good approach at the plate but so far hasn't gotten the results you would expect from such a profile.  Today he walked 3 times and scored 2 runs.  He's hitting .256 on the season but his OBP is a more respectable .347.
  • Catcher Rafael Lopez was the DH today and had a single, walk, and scored a run.
  • 1B Paul Hoilman has 2 hits and an RBI to get his average back over .300 at .302.  Hoilman probably won't .300 when the year is over, but he should add to his power numbers.  He has just 3 HRs on the year.
  • SS Marco Hernandez had another hit and scored a run.  He's at .197 on the year.  He hit .105 in April but has hit .366 so far in May.
  • Luis Liria pitched 2 innings and gave up a run


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  • Don't look now, but the Cubs are amassing a very good group of left-handed pitchers. I'm not sure how much of an advantage this is considering that the majority of hitters are right-handed, but at the very least they become valuable trade-pieces.

    I honestly believe that the changeup is the most valuable pitch in baseball right now. Not many young pitchers throw it, not many see it regularly, and so it becomes very valuable.

    That Delgado kid for ATL threw a few that were pretty filthy and the Cubs hitters have no change, and even Estrada today, Cubs hitters had a hell of a time due to not being familiar with it.

    I believe that with how the slider has become so ubiquitous, the changeup and splitter will become the premier breaking pitches.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    True..but there's a lot of good lefty bats in the NL Central. I think the Cubs could use another solid lefty in their rotation. And if Maholm isn't in there for the long term, it may have to be Travis Wood and Chris Rusin if the Cubs don't fill the gap with a free agent.

    Have always thought the changeup was an underrated pitch, but not too many guys have mastered it. You have to sell it with good arm speed and Rusin is one of the few in the organization who truly has a plus change. It makes his so-so fastball play up a bit as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That first changeup that Estrada threw today was filthy. It looked like a fastball out of hand but took FOREVER to get to the plate and died.

    Rich Harden , although described as a 5 pitch pitcher by some, basically only threw 4 seam/change, and his would just dive bomb towards the plate. But his mechanics looked completely indistinguishable.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    Harden had a great change. Like you said, he got by on that and his FB alone.

    Trying to think who else has a good change in this system. Rhee is obviously one of them.

  • John, I read alot if comments about who is going to be on the 40 man roster next about some comments on who will most likely
    be taken off

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    It's a good idea. I'll probably wait on that one, though, since it's early in the season. I'll have a better idea in July or so.

  • It's great to see Rusin pitching so well. What is the deal with Brett Jackson? That guy has gotten as much pub as Rizzo, but his #'s over the recent years haven't been close. And this year, he's struggling pretty bad. Could he by overhyped? I hope not, just asking..

  • In reply to JR Cubbies:

    I think Cubs fans always overhype their prospects to some degree, but Jackson should still be a good player who runs and defends well, hits for some power, and gets on base. Contact rate will always be a problem but it shouldn't prevent him from being a solid to good MLB player at a premium position. It could prevent him from being a star, however.

  • I saw the Iowa Cubs play two games in Salt Lake City last year and was impressed with Chris Rusin in his start. He pitched well and went late in the game. Brett Jackson, however, was a disappointment in the two games. He struck out 3 times in the first game and didn't show much in either game. I frankly thought at the time that he reminded me in how disappointing the highly-touted, at the time, Bobby Hill was several years ago when he came to Salt Lake City as a member of the Iowa Cubs for a series and was totally outplayed by his 2B counterpart for the Bees Chone Figgins.

  • In reply to eksunny:

    I remember Jackson really struggling when he first came up to AAA last year. He was able to turn it around, but now appears to be struggling again. I think he'll rebound and play well, but I have my doubts that he'll be anything more than an average to above average regular -- but certainly not a star at this point. That could change, of course, but I'll settle right now for a solid, true everyday CF'er, there's not a whole lot of those out there in baseball

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