The CCO’s Minor League Report returns from a long break on the Monday before the 2008 Draft. The Cubs have the 19th pick in the first round on Thursday and the 41st pick as compensation from the Brewers for signing Jason Kendall in the off-season. ESPN is predicting the Cubs will take Alex Meyer, 6’7″ right-handed pitcher from Indiana and John Sickels thinks the Cubs will select right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole from California and with the 41st pick first baseman, David Cooper. The draft gets underway at 1:00pm C.T. on Thursday and day one will be carried live on ESPN2 and on XM Radio.
Here is the latest from down on the farm….
The I-Cubs beat the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers) on Sunday in Nashville. Eric Patterson and Felix Pie both hit home runs in the 8-3 win. Hector Carrasco picked up the win in relief,
The I-Cubs lead their division by 1 1/2 games over the Omaha Royals.
In other news
Randy Wells was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 25th. Wells continues to be impressive since returning to the Cubs organization. Wells was taken in the Rule 5 Draft last winter by the Blue Jays. Wells struck out 11 batters in 11 innings and allowed only 2 runs on 8 hits. For the year, Wells is 4-1 in 11 games, 5 starts, with a 2.35 ERA and has struck out 37 and walked 12 in 38 1/3 innings. In his last start (Saturday), Wells threw 6 shutout innings against the Sounds, allowed only 3 hits with 3 walks and 9 strikeouts.
Felix Pie had a good week for Iowa. Since May 26th, Pie is 8-for-29 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, a walk, 4 strikeouts and 9 runs scored.
The Smokies beat the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 9-5 on Sunday afternoon. Grant Johnson picked up his first win of the year in relief of Tanner Watson. The Smokies won their 4th in a row and Sam Fuld led the comeback with a 3-run homer in the 8th. Sam Fuld had a big day at the plate (2-for-5) with a double, a home run, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI’s.
The Smokies are still last in their division with a 24-33 record, 10 1/2 games back of the Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers).
In other news
Donald Veal put together another solid outing on Saturday and improved to 3-4 on the season with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Veal allowed 1 unearned run in 8 innings with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts. Veal has walked 32 and struck out 50 in 65 2/3 innings (12 starts) so far this season.
James Russell is 2-0 in his first 6 starts at Double-A with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP….with an impressive strikeout to walk ratio at nearly 3:1. Russell has struck out 23 and walked 9 in 30 1/3 innings.
One to Watch
Keep an eye on Michael Cooper. The Smokies’ reliever is turning a few heads in the organization. Cooper has a 1-2 record with a 2.45 ERA in 14 games with 9 walks and 7 strikeouts. Cooper had shoulder surgery in 2007 after pitching in just 3 games. Cooper’s velocity is still down (88-91, before surgery 92-93 topping out at 95) but features a sinker and a slider. The Cubs drafted him in the 26th round in 2006.
Daytona beat the Jupiter Hammerheads on Sunday, 8-3. Esmailin Caridad picked up his 5th win of the season. Jonathan Mota had another good game (3-for-4 with a walk and 2 runs scored) and is hitting .337 with a .371 OBP in 28 games with the Cubs. Ty Wright and Josh Lansford both drove in runs and Rocky Roquet threw 2 scoreless innings of relief.
Jose Cede is 2-2 in 11 starts with a 4.86 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 27 walks in 46 1/3 innings.
In Other News
Alex Maestri (RHP), Casey Lambert (LHP), Welington Castillo (C), James Adduci (RF) and Tony Thomas (2B) were named to the Florida State League All-Star team last week. Castillo has since been promoted to the Tennessee Smokies. Adduci is hitting .313/.402/.388 with 11 doubles and 2 triples in 53 games.
Ryne Sandberg’s squad beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 6-4 on Sunday for their 4th win in a row. The Chiefs have won 10 out of their last 12. Dylan Johnston hit a solo home run, his 8th of the year.
The Chiefs are 24-32 on the season 5 games back of the Lansing Lugnuts.
In other news
Robert Hernandez was reinstated after serving a 50-game suspension for the use of a performance enhancing substance. Hernandez is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the Cubs’ organization and was activated on Sunday.