Down on the Farm Report – 9/4/07

Updated – 1:08pm C.T. with Roster Moves – According to a report on ESPN 1000 the Cubs have added Sam Fuld and Kevin Hart to the 40-man roster and have called both up to the big league club. The same report stated Carmen Pignatiello was also recalled from Triple-A Iowa.

Hey Cubs fans. It is time for another Down on the Farm update. As I finish the season I see a lot of promise in the Cubs minor league system. It has been great seeing so many guys visit Chicago and provide whatever help they could. Dusty Baker liked his veteran players but if you watch what the Cubs did this year you see why you cannot just leave it to veterans to help a team win.

If you look back at the Opening Day roster you do not see a couple people that have been a great help to the Cubs. Those two guys are Carlos Marmol and Mike Fontenot. Fontenot came up for the 2nd time on June 9th and has not left. He was solid in June batting .397 and has not been as good lately but he has still been a big boost for the team.

Carlos Marmol could be thought of as the team MVP with the job he has done for the Cubs out of the bullpen. He has been as solid as any guy on the team. He comes in often with runners on base and usually leaves those runners stranded. Marmol filled in as best he could last year but he has been great this year and I am glad we have him.

This year’s minor league players could be next year’s help in Chicago so read on for the latest updates on the Cubs minor league teams. For most, their season has ended but one team is in and one still has a shot at making it.

Iowa Cubs – Record: 79-65

Iowa was 1-4 in their last five games. Another trade plus completing the trade with Detroit had again changed the landscape at Iowa. Rocky Cherry and Scott Moore were sent to Baltimore for Steve Trachsel and Clay Rapada was sent to Detroit as the PTBNL in the trade that brought Craig Monroe to the Cubs. The I-Cubs season is over now and it can be considered a success based on the number of players that spent time with big league club this year.

Jake Fox was one of the long bright spots for the I-Cubs. He was 6-of-19 with a home run and five RBI’s in his five games played. Geovany Soto played in two games before he was called up to Chicago. He was 3-of-8 with a home run, three RBI’s and four runs scored. I am glad he got the call to Chicago. I wasn’t sure what they were waiting for. I realize Hill had to clear waivers again but offensively he just wasn’t getting the job done.

From the mound, Cory Bailey had a great outing on Friday to get the only win for the I-Cubs. He pitched 6.0 shutout innings giving up only one hit and one walk while striking out one. Bailey hadn’t started since August 14th but appeared four times in relief between this start and his last one.

Tennessee Smokies – Record: 37-33

Tennessee was 3-2 in their last five games and it was good enough for them to earn a wild card spot in the playoffs.

On offense, Tyler Colvin helped the most on offense. He was 6-of-22 with a home run, two RBI’s, two stolen bases and five runs scored.

The name of the game over the last five games was pitching. Kevin Hart was back with Tennessee from Iowa and he picked up where he left off there. He pitched 5.0 innings giving one unearned run on only one hit and two walks while striking out three.

Donald Veal won for the 2nd time in a row on Saturday to finish his season. He pitched 5.0 shutout innings giving up two hits and six walks while striking out eight. It was a solid finish for Veal and although he had a high number of walks that hasn’t been the norm for him. In his last 10 games he was 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA. He also had 48 strikeouts and 19 walks, which shows he has decent control.

Mark Holliman also ended the season strong. In his last outing of the season he pitched 7.0 innings giving up two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. Holliman had struggled in three of his last four outings so this was a good way for him to finish.

Daytona Cubs – Record: 25-43

Daytona ran into rain over the weekend and were only able to play two games, which they lost. The missed games will not be made up which ends their season. In the two games Matt Matulia was one player of note on offense. He was 4-of-8 with two RBI’s and a stolen base. Another was Jeffery Rea who was 4-of-9 with two runs scored and a stolen base.

In the two losses there was nothing of note to mention in this update from the pitching staff.

Peoria Chiefs – Record: 40-30

The Chiefs were 4-1 in their last five games and ended the season tied for the division lead but failed to make the playoffs based on the scoring differential. The Chiefs came up short but it still has to be seen as a good start for Ryne Sandberg. There were times this year that Peoria had little to talk about but were manufacturing wins nonetheless.

On offense, Blake Lalli was 6-of-15 with a home run and four RBI’s. Russell Canzler was 7-of-17 with three RBI’s. Ty Wright was 6-of-15 with a home run and two RBI’s.

From the mound, Jeremy Papelbon won his 3rd straight start on Saturday. He pitched 5.0 innings giving up an earned run on six hits and three walks while striking out three. James Russell has pitched in two games for Peoria since coming up from Mesa. He has pitched 7.0 innings in his two starts and has yet to give up a run. He has given up three hits and four walks while striking out nine hitters.

Boise Hawks – Record: 35-38

Boise was 3-1 and remain within a game of the division lead. They at least have their fate in their own hands. They play their last three games against the team they are trying to catch and if they win all three they will take the division title. They at least need to finish 2-1 to end in a tie.

On offense, Tony Thomas has been solid going 6-of-15 with two RBI’s and three stolen bases. Another player of note was Joshua Donaldson who was 6-of-13 with four RBI’s, two stolen bases and six runs scored.

From the mound, Yuri Higgins was the only pitcher of note this time around. He made only one appearance in relief but he pitched 2.1 innings and gave up no runs, hits or walks and struck out two.

That is all for the updates with only one more left. In my last update I will tell you who were the best hitters and pitchers for each team. Boise is the only team still playing games so I will give you the update on how they finish their season. Have a great week and check back on Friday.

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney