Down on the Farm: Donald Veal

Donald Veal has been drawing a great deal of attention lately, as some believe he might be the second coming of Dontrelle Willis. I hope that means he will be as talented in the major leagues as Willis. I hope we don’t throw him in on a deal with the Florida Marlins, where he will become one of the hottest pitchers in the league. In all honesty, Donald Veal has a lot of similarity to Dontrelle Willis, he is a left-handed pitcher and he has the high leg kick that Willis is known for.

Donald Veal could have actually been a member of the Chicago White Sox because they drafted him back in 2003. Veal decided instead to attend the University of Arizona. He ended up injuring his labrum and after he declined to have it surgically repaired opted to transfer to Pima Community College, also in Arizona. He was then drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft by the Chicago Cubs.

Veal started his Cubs career with the Arizona Cubs rookie league and split time in 2005 between there and the low-A Boise Hawks team. He had relative success at Boise pitching in seven games and finishing with a 1-2 record and a 2.48 ERA. Based on that success he started 2006 with the Peoria Chiefs and started where he left off in 2005 pitching in 14 games and finishing with a 5-3 record and a 2.69 ERA (86 k’s, 40 walks/1.15 WHIP). He was then moved up to high-A Daytona and finished up the 2006 season there by pitching in 14 games and ended with a 6-2 record and a 1.67 ERA (88 k’s, 42 walks/1.09 WHIP). His combined stats for 2006 are impressive. He had an 11-5 record and a 2.16 ERA. He also led all minor-league pitchers with a .175 batting average against. He should start in Double-A Tennessee this season due to his success last year.

Donald Veal has had success at each level so far and if he continues to have success as he ascends through the Cubs minor-league system, he could see Wrigley Field soon. If he does start in AA this year he could be called on to make a start if the Cubs injury problems come back again this season. It isn’t likely to happen however because they have added some depth to their pitching staff and the guys that gained experience last year like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, and Angel Guzman should be called on first. With some more experience Donald Veal has the chance to be better than all of them. If things go well for Veal, he should see Wrigley Field sometime in 2008 and could have a spot in the starting rotation in 2009.

If being a top prospect for a major league baseball team wasn’t enough, Donald Veal has other aspirations. He would really like to pursue a medical career and if things don’t work out in baseball he might still do that. As things look right now, he won’t have much chance to do it and should have a long career in baseball ahead of him instead. There is always the possibility that he could choose to give up on baseball and go after the medical career, but for now it doesn’t seem likely. He is the only one that knows how long he will give baseball and the way the Cubs are moving him along he should see it as a sign of success. If things slow for him, he could decide to walk away instead of trying to work through the problems. But Donald Veal would look good in Wrigley Field and I hope we get a chance to see him there. Dr. Donald Veal wouldn’t be a bad thing either but I hope he gives baseball a real shot first. He sure seems to have the talent to do anything he wants.

Donald Veal’s Stats from the Baseball Cube

For more on Thomas’ views on the Cubs, visit www.cubsfanhell.com

Quote of the Day

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did." - Mark Twain

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