Down on the Farm Report – 8/03/07

The biggest news around the Cubs’ farm system this week was the rehab outings and progress of Kerry Wood. The Cubs optioned Rocky Cherry to Iowa on Thursday to make room for Wood to be activated today.

Lou Piniella has also brought up the notion of having a 13-man pitching staff in response to several short outings by his starters. His bullpen right now is missing the all-important long man and Sean Gallagher’s name was once again mentioned on Thursday as an option to fill this role. But another player on the 40-man roster that may be an option is Juan Mateo. Mateo is 1-3 in 4 games and a 4.50 ERA with the I-Cubs. Billy Petrick was put on the DL Wednesday and Jeff Samardzija was promoted from Daytona to Double-A Tennessee on Thursday.

Here is the rest from the week as well as the monthly update on the best hitters and pitchers for each farm team.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 60-52

Iowa was 1-6 since last week and have fallen back in their division. They now trail the division leading Nashville Sounds by 7 1/2 games. Nashville is the AAA farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers so the Cubs are fighting it out with the Brewers at more than one level. I believe the constant promotions and demotions are taking their toll on the I-Cubs but they have obviously worked well for the big club.

On offense, John Nelson continues to tear it up at Iowa. Since last week he is 10-of-27 with five RBI’s. Geovany Soto has also been playing well going 8-of-28 with three home runs and seven RBI’s. In his last 10 games he is hitting .325 with five home runs and 13 RBI’s. I think a taste of the big leagues has had a positive affect on Geovany. Buck Coats has gotten back on track and is 11-of-29 with three RBI’s and two stolen bases.

From the mound, Sean Gallagher pitched a good game on Sunday. He went 5.0 shutout innings giving up only two hits and no walks while striking out seven. He is now 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA at Iowa.

Another month has come to an end so it is time to look at the best hitters and pitchers at all levels. The top hitter for Iowa through July is Felix Pie with a .353 batting average. Geovany Soto leads the team with 17 home runs while Micah Hoffpauir leads with 73 RBI’s. Eric Patterson has 14 steals to lead the team through four months of play.

I have to give the top pitcher honor this month to Clay Rapada. He has appeared in the most games for the I-Cubs (44) and has a 4-1 record, a 3.22 ERA and has 15 saves. No regular starter has an ERA close to 4.00 so I can’t say they are among the best.

Latest News: Matt Craig (3B) and Joe Simokaitis (SS) were promoted from Tennessee.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 21-19

Tennessee is 7-1 since last week and have gotten above .500, in the second half of the season, for the first time. Helping on offense, Jorge Cortes was 8-of-17 with five runs scored, three RBI’s and three stolen bases. Tyler Colvin was 11-of-26 with a home run, three RBI’s and two stolen bases.

From the mound, Mark Holliman had two quality starts in the last week and won both games. He went 7.0 innings on July 26th giving up two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out five. He pitched again Wednesday and went 6.0 innings giving up two earned runs again on five hits and a walk while striking out six.

Kerry Wood pitched 1.2 innings for Tennessee and gave up no runs or hits but walked one and struck out one.

Rocky Roquet continues to pitch well at any level he is at. He started in Peoria before moving to Daytona for a short visit before being sent on to Tennessee. He is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in 17 appearances. He has also saved four games. In the last week he has pitched in three games going four innings and giving up only a hit and two walks while striking out six. Roquet can throw hard and has been able to reach 97 on his fastball. He also throws a slider and changeup which should help him as he gets closer to the big leagues. Roquet has a closer mentality so it will be interesting to watch how far he can get. He was ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs’ 26th best prospect but I think that has changed with his performance this year.

The top hitter through July for the Smokies is Matt Craig with a .326 average. Due to his hitting ability, Craig was just promoted to Iowa. The recently promoted Jake Fox still leads the team with 18 home runs and 60 RBI’s while Gary Cates leads with 14 stolen bases.

The top pitcher is Mark Holliman with an 8-8 record and 3.05 ERA. His record isn’t impressive but he has been the victim of poor run support.

Latest News: Alberto Garcia (OF) and Kyle Reynolds (3B) were promoted from Daytona. Jorge Cortes (OF) was demoted from Iowa.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 16-23

The D-Cubs are 2-4 since last week. On offense, Matt Camp was 10-of-24 with three RBI’s, two stolen bases and six runs scored. Jeffrey Rea was 9-of-24 with three RBI’s and two stolen bases. Brian Dopirak was 7-of-22 with a home run and five RBI’s. Dopirak has been playing much better lately and is hopefully using the talent that made him one of our top prospects not too long ago.

From the mound, Gary Reinhard picked up his 2nd win of the season after pitching 5.0 innings giving up an earned run on five hits and a walk while striking out six. Reinhard was a reliever with Tennessee before being demoted but Daytona has him starting and he has been good in his last two appearances.

The best hitter for the D-Cubs through July is Brian Dopirak. He is batting .270 and leads the team with 13 home runs and 46 RBI’s. Matt Matulia leads the team with 11 stolen bases.

The top pitcher for the D-Cubs is Mitch Atkins. He has an 8-6 record with a 2.73 ERA. He also has six quality starts in his last 10 appearances.

Latest News: Andrew Lopez (OF) was promoted from Mesa and William Mottram (3B) was promoted from Boise.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 23-15

Peoria was 3-4 since last week and have fallen out of first place in their division by a half game. Offense for the Chiefs has been inconsistent lately which could explain there trouble winning. James Adduci was 7-of-17 over his last four games. Russ Canzler was 5-of-16 with two RBI’s in his last four games.

From the mound, Jake Renshaw pitched well on July 26 going 6.0 scoreless innings giving up two hits and a walk while striking out seven. He won to take his record to 11-5 but then lost on Tuesday to drop to 11-6. On Tuesday he pitched 3.2 innings and gave up six earned runs.

The top hitter through July for the Peoria Chiefs is Blake Lalli with a .295 average. Yusuf Carter leads the team with 10 home runs and 11 steals while Joshua Lansford and Russ Canzler lead the team with 42 RBI’s each.

The top pitcher through July is Jake Renshaw. He has an 11-6 record with a 4.09 ERA. It has been either good or bad for Renshaw. He has five games in his last 10 appearance where he has pitched 5.0 innings or more and given up no earned runs. In the other five he has given up 24 earned runs in just under 24 innings pitched. Renshaw has talent but needs to work through his consistency issues.

Boise Hawks – Record: 20-22

Boise is 2-4 since last week but still lead their division by a full game. Boise got to two games above .500 before losing four in a row to sit where they are now.

On offense, Marc Sawyer was 6-of-18 with two RBI’s while Jonathon Wyatt was 9-of-23. Ty Wright was just 5-of-21 over the last week but he added two home runs and nine RBI’s.

From the mound, Chris Huseby pitched well on Sunday but took the loss after he failed to get any run support. He pitched 5.0 innings giving up an earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out two. He kept the game close but the bullpen let the game get out of reach after they surrendered six runs.

The top hitter for Boise is Jonathon Wyatt with a .308 average and he also shares the lead in steals with Tony Thomas at seven. Joshua Donaldson leads with six home runs and Ty Wright has the lead in RBI’s with 33.

The top pitcher is Al Alburquerque with a 3-1 record and a 3.06 ERA.

That does it for the farm updates. Have a great weekend and Go Cubs. I will be in the bleachers on Saturday to watch the Cubs and the Mets play. Two of three from the Mets will be a good weekend in my opinion and just say no to Glavine and number 300. Get that against another team.

Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein