Down on the Farm Report – 6/01/07

As the Cubs continue to struggle to win games I again wonder why they don’t look for help in the farm system. Felix Pie has done nothing but hit since he was sent down and you have to wonder if regular play could get him going at Chicago. Pie isn’t the savior but Lou wants a solidified lineup so I am all for sticking Pie in center and letting him do his thing. As bad as we have played we should be 15 games out but every team in the Central is still in the race. We just need to get things figured out and soon.

If Lou wants a solid lineup I say we go with this:

  1. Soriano, LF
  2. Theriot, SS
  3. Lee, 1B
  4. Ramirez, 3B
  5. Floyd/Murton, RF
  6. Barrett, C
  7. Pie, CF
  8. DeRosa, 2B

I think you dump Jacque Jones and you keep Izturis, Pagan and Ward on the bench. I think if they give Pie the chance again he will perform. The Brewers just brought up their stud Ryan Braun and Pie has been hitting better than he was. Sweet Lou, bring the kid back up. Ok, I am off my soapbox, on to the latest farm updates.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 30-22

Iowa continues to play well and are still leading their division. They are 2-1 in their last three games. The best performers lately have been Felix Pie, Micah Hoffpauir and Ronny Cedeno. Pie was 7-of-14 with three runs scored, a home run and two RBI’s. Hoffpauir was also 7-of-14 with three runs scored while Cedeno has started to hit at Iowa and was 3-of-8 over the last three games plus he added a home run and two RBI’s. Cedeno has actually hit safely in the last 10 games and is hitting .353 over the same stretch of games.

From the mound, Neal Cotts made his 2nd start at Iowa and pitched 4.0 shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks while he struck out two. He has pitched 7.0 innings at Iowa and has yet to give up a run. He is being converted back into a starter but I am unsure if he will take over as the fifth starter or if they will look to trade him. It seems we have Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol that could already start. I guess once Cotts is deemed ready we will find out what Lou’s plan is.

Latest News: The Cubs promoted Paul Schappert (LHP) and Jim Henderson (RHP) from Tennessee. Schappert was 2-1 with the Smokies and had a 6.23 ERA. Henderson was 3-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 19 relief appearances for the Smokies.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 27-24

The Smokies have gone 1-2 in their last three games but remain tied for the division lead. On offense, Jemel Spearman was 4-of-9 while Josh Kroeger was 3-of-11 with a home run, five RBI’s and a stolen base.

From the mound, Mark Holliman lost for the third time on the year and for the second time in a row. He pitched 5.0 innings and gave up three earned runs on seven hits and three walks while he struck out two. Holliman was dominant early in the season but he has struggled lately. He has had problem with control and has 9 walks over the last 10.2 innings.

Latest News: The Cubs promoted Matt Avery (RHP) and Grant Johnson (RHP) from Daytona. Avery was 1-1 in 19 relief appearances for Daytona and had an ERA of 1.61. Johnson was also 1-1 in 16 relief appearances and had an ERA of 3.57.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 25-26

Daytona has won three in a row, including both games since the last update.

Jeff Culpepper, who just joined the team, started out well going 3-of-5 with three RBI’s. Culpepper was called up from extended spring training. Another hot hitter has been Tyler Colvin. He was 5-of-10 in the two games and added two runs and two RBI’s. Colvin is leading the Florida State League in RBI’s with 39. Nate Spears also played well going 3-of-7 with two RBI’s.

From the mound, Mitch Atkins remains a bright spot for the D-Cubs. He pitched well on Wednesday to pick up his 4th win of the season. He has a record of 4-3 but a lack of run support is the only reason his record isn’t better. His ERA on the season sits at a very low 1.88. On Wednesday he pitched 6.0 shutout innings, giving up only five hits and a walk while striking out two. In each of his 10 starts, he has yet to give up more than three earned runs.

Latest News: The Cubs sent Rocky Roquet to Daytona from Peoria and he made a relief appearance in the same game on Wednesday. He gave up an earned run in two innings of work. He pitched very well for Peoria so it will be interesting to see how he does with the D-Cubs.

Also coming to Daytona was Chris Shaver (LHP). Shaver was called up from Peoria and was 1-0 in three starts there and had a 1.32 ERA.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 25-27

I went to see Peoria play the Cedar Rapids Kernels Wednesday night and I have to say I came away very unimpressed with the play of the Chiefs. Don’t get me wrong, the Chiefs overall have a decent record and have been around .500 all year. What I noticed is the Chiefs were overmatched by a Kernels team that seems to be in a different league. Over the last four games they are 2-2 but the two losses were versus the Kernels and the two wins were against Wisconsin, which is one of the league doormats.

Jake Renshaw pitched 5.0 shutout innings to get the win but I can’t say how good Renshaw is based on the competition. Marco Carillo also pitched 5.0 shutout innings and he also got the win against the same Wisconsin team.

On offense, Josh Lansford was one of the better hitters since the last update going 5-of-9 with two runs scored and two RBI’s. The Cubs chose Lansford in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. I usually notice baseball names but it took me a while to realize that he is the son of former batting champion Carney Lansford. He has been their best hitter so far so my hope is that is can match what his dad was able to do.

Latest News: The Cubs demoted Ryan Norwood to Peoria from Daytona. In 35 games, he was hitting just .217. He was hitting .333 over his last 10 games but showed no power at the plate. He is a big guy at 6’4″ and 220 pounds, so you would expect better power from him. The demotion to Peoria might mean we will hear more about him soon.

That is the latest from the farm teams. More updates next week. Have a great weekend and GO CUBS!!

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast." - Joe Garagiola
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