Down on the Farm Report – 6/22/07

Mark Holliman threw a 7-inning, complete game no hitter on Thursday night and faced one over the minimum as the Smokies beat the Huntsville Stars, 3-0. The only batter to reach was a leadoff walk in the top of the third inning. Holliman has pitched very well for the Tennessee Smokies this season and is 7-5 with a 2.49 ERA.

With the trade of Michael Barrett the big question is who will be the starting catcher, Koyie Hill or Rob Bowen? Bowen had a better average than Barrett when I looked on Wednesday but he was a backup catcher with San Diego. With Josh Bard struggling they chose to trade Bowen away in favor of veteran player like Barrett. Does that mean San Diego doesn’t have faith in Bowen or just saw a better alternative with Barrett? It is hard to tell and we will see what Bowen does for us before we can say how good or bad the trade was. Read on for the latest update from the Cubs farm teams, including the first games for the Boise Hawks and more on the big league catching situation….

Koyie Hill has done a good job but hasn’t been hitting like he can. With the Barrett trade, writers have been talking a lot about Hill’s ERA vs. Barrett’s when catching pitchers. Hill caught on Wednesday night and it wasn’t a great night for Marquis but Marquis hasn’t been good lately. Carols Zambrano has been pitching much better of late so if he can help straighten out Big Z, more power to him. I like that Hill gets an opportunity to play more now because he could hit at Iowa and he will hit in Chicago too. His home run on Wednesday night was a good sign and I just hope things continue to improve for him. We may not have a true starter at catcher but we don’t have the drama anymore so I have to say it was a good move for the team.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 41-30

The I-Cubs got back on the winning track having won their only two games played since my last update. Josh Kroeger finally got the promotion to Iowa after playing very well at Tennessee. He started right where he left off with a 3-for-4 outing on Wednesday that also included two RBI’s. Kroeger seems like a special player but he plays outfield and as you obviously know, we don’t have a shortage of outfielders with the big club right now. He will likely have plenty of time to get even better at Iowa.

Ronny Cedeno continues his hot hitting and was 5-of-10 in the last two games. Matt Murton is also getting playing time and was 3-of-8 over his last two games and included a home run, three RBI’s and three runs scored. He should be ready if an outfielder is traded in the next month or so and he is needed. I am not going to guess who might be traded (Jacque Jones), or give you my wish list on who I would like to see gone (Jacque Jones) but Murton is getting regular playing time which is good.

From the mound, John Webb had a great outing on Wednesday pitching 8.0 shutout innings and gave up three hits and one walk while striking out two. Webb picked up only his second win of the year to go with four losses. Clay Rapada picked up his 10th save of the season after pitching a scoreless 9th.

Latest News: Geoff Jones was promoted to Iowa on Wednesday. The lefty reliever was 2-1 with a 0.36 ERA in 23 games with the Smokies and recorded 6 saves in 8 chances while striking out 33 and walking 4 in 25 innings. Jim Henderson was demoted to Double-A Tennessee to make room for Jones. Henderson was 3-0 with a 5.54 ERA in 8 games.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 1-1

The Smokies got a start on their 2nd half of the season and sit at 1-1 after playing two games. The offense started slow with the only notable performances coming from Gary Cates who was 2-of-6 with a stolen base and Matt Craig who was 2-of-7 with a home run and two RBI’s.

The pitching was the big reason in the one win they managed with Kevin Hart picking up his 5th win of the season. He pitched 6.0 innings, giving up two unearned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four. He sits at 5-5 on the season and he has four straight quality starts.

Latest News: Tyler Colvin was promoted to Tennessee from Daytona. Colvin was hitting .306 with seven home runs and 50 RBI’s at Daytona. Colvin was the Cubs’ first pick (13th overall) in the 2006 draft.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 1-1

Daytona finished their first half of the season well out of first place. They were 1-1 over their last two games. Tyler Colvin played his last game for the D-Cubs and finished in style going 3-of-4 with two home runs and four RBI’s. Colvin is moving rapidly through the Cubs minor league system which is good to see. He is yet another top-notch outfield prospect to go with all the other outfielders we have.

Latest News: Yusuf Carter, OF, and Nate Samson, SS, were promoted to Daytona from Peoria. Carter was batting .258 with 10 HR’s and 41 RBI’s with Peoria. Samson barely had any playing time with Peoria appearing in only three games and getting only five at-bats.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 0-0

Due to the Midwest League All-Star Game this week the Chiefs didn’t see any action since the last update. Alex Maestri and Jake Renshaw, both pitchers, were the only representatives from the Chiefs in the game. They both made it into the game but were hardly impressive. Renshaw pitched 0.1 innings and gave up an earned run on one hit. Alex Maestri also pitched 0.1 innings and gave up an earned run on four hits. Not a great showing for Peoria but that is likely why they are not near the top of their division. We will have more updates next week as they begin the 2nd half of the season.

Boise Hawks – Record: 0-2

The Boise Hawks have gotten off to a slow start in their short season and are winless in two tries. On offense for the Hawks, Marc Sawyer has started well and is 3-of-7 in the two games. He also added a home run and two RBI’s. Dylan Johnston, who struggled with Peoria earlier this season, has also started well with the Hawks. He was 6-of-9 with three doubles and a triple in the two games.

Pitcher Al Alburquerque also appeared in games for Peoria this year but struggled and thus finds himself at Boise. He made the start in Boise’s first game and did well, pitching 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out seven. He failed to get a win but it was a could start for him.

Well, that was the latest from the farm, more next week.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne