Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/15/10

The first minor league call-up of the year has been made! Sam Fuld has gone down with a minor injury. Starlin Castro and D.J. LeMahieu have started the year strong, but many other top prospects have gotten off to a slow start. Ted Lilly looked sharp in his first rehab start.

Let’s get caught up on all the happenings in the Cubs’ minor league system.

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (2-5)
The Iowa Cubs have gotten a “W” for the first time this season, but they still have yet to bust out of their team slump. A 2-5 start to his AAA managerial career is not exactly what skipper Ryne Sandberg has in mind, but there’s still a long way to go. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs placed Esmailin Caridad on the DL. Jeff Gray, who pitched well in three outings with the I-Cubs, got the call to the bigs. The Iowa active roster now stands at 24 plus Ted Lilly. Expect someone from the Tennessee pitching staff to be promoted at some point.

On Monday, the Iowa Cubs got their first win of the season in a 6-4 contest again the Memphis Red Birds, a Cardinals affiliate. Mike Parisi allowed one earned run in 3 innings of work. Mitch Atkins came in and went four innings to get the win. Micah Hoffpauir led the offense with a 3-for-5 night. Sam Fuld left this game in the fourth inning with soreness in the webbing between his fingers. He saw a hand specialist yesterday in Chicago to try to get the problem figured out. Click for full box score.

The ninth inning rally turned out to be too little too late for Iowa on Tuesday in a 7-6 loss at the hands of the Redbirds. The top three batters in the Iowa lineup combined for a big night. Darwin Barney had three hits, Bobby Scales tripled, singled, and knocked in two, and Micah Hoffpauir delivered a two-out three-run homer in the ninth to bring his team back into the game. Starter J.R. Mathes got hit hard for four runs on eight hits. He received his second loss of the year. Click for full box score.

Iowa returned to the win column on Wednesday as they topped Memphis 5-2. Matt Camp and Bobby Scales each nailed two hits. Catcher Chris Robinson had two runs batted in. Ted Lilly worked the first four innings on his minor league rehab assignment. He allowed one solo homer but that was it. His stuff looked sharp. Jay Jackson came in to go the rest of the way and ended up with the win. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Memphis 12:05 (Thomas Diamond VS former Cub Rich Hill)
Friday @Nashville 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Saturday @Nashville 6:35 (Mike Parisi)
Sunday @Nashville 2:05 (J.R. Mathes)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (5-1)
The Smokies have continued to smoke. Starlin Castro is busy proving that he is the real deal with big games day after day. On the pitching side, Andrew Cashner looked better in his second outing of the year.

The Smokies dropped a game in ten innings on Monday suffering their first defeat of the season. The Mississippi Braves edged Tennessee by the score of 5-4. Starlin Castro and Robinson Chirinos each picked up a pair of hits and an RBI. Dustin Sasser allowed the winning run to score and was charged with the loss. The Smokies wasted a solid outing from Craig Muschko, who went six innings. Click for full box score.

The Chattanooga Dodgers were swamped by Tennessee in a 15-2 route on Wednesday. Six different Smokies, including starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, had at least two hits. Jake Opitz led the way going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. In addition to his Zambrano-like hits, Cashner struck out ten and picked up the win. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Chattanooga 6:15 (Jeremy Papelbon)
Friday VS Chattanooga 6:15 (Austin Bibens-Dirkx)
Saturday VS Chattanooga 5:15 (Hung-When Chen)
Sunday VS Chattanooga 1:00 (Craig Muschko)

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (2-5)
Since our last update, the D-Cubs have gone south. No, geographically they have not moved from their already southern location of Florida, but in the standings the Cubs have plummeted.

Two runs in the top of the 13th was the difference in Monday’s thriller as the Dunedin Blue Jays beat the Cubs 4-2. The Cubs’ draft class of 2009 made an impact as Brett Jackson and D.J. LeMahieu (the Cubs first and second rounders respectively) each had multi-hit games. Brooks Raley dominated on the mound allowing no runs over five innings. Raley is a left-hander who the Cubs snagged in the sixth round last year. Click for full box score.

It was the same story on Tuesday as the Blue Jays beat Daytona by the final of 4-2 for the second straight day. Rafael Dolis struggled with his command and ended up walking four in four innings, which led to two late runs. LeMahieu continued to swing the bat well with a 2-4 game. Click for full box score.

The struggles continued on Wednesday when the Jays crushed the Cubs 11-6. Daytona pitchers allowed 13 hits in the offensive battle. Brett Jackson went 3-for-4 and scored three times. Kyler Burke added two hits and two RBI. Chris Rusin’s start was miserable. He was removed after just 1/3 of an inning. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today @Tampa 6:00
Friday @Tampa 6:00
Saturday @Tampa 6:00
Sunday @Dunedin 12:00

Class-A Peoria Chiefs (3-4)
The Peoria Chiefs have come out of the gates looking like an average club. They’ve showed off some good young arms that the Cubs are stashing away at lower levels of the organization. There are only five players on the roster that played with the Chiefs at some point last season. Many of the ’09 Chiefs that led the team to the playoffs have moved up.

The Beloit Snappers defended their home turf with a 3-0 victory against the Chiefs on Monday night. Logan Watkins, who got some at bats with the big league team in Spring Training, went 3-for-4 to lead the Peoria offense. Justin Bour and Greg Rohan added two hits each, but the Chiefs could not scratch out any runs to support their pitchers. Click for full box score.

The Peoria offensive woes continued on Tuesday, but as it turned out it only took one run for them to get a win. The Snappers bats were totally shut down by hurler Robert Whitenack (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R). Matthew Cerda reached base in all four trips to the plate. Click for full box score.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels beat Peoria 8-4 on Wednesday. Outfielder Richard Jones had a 3-for-5 day at the plate to boost his batting average. The four Chiefs pitchers yielded two earned runs each. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Today @Cedar Rapids 6:35 (Jonathan Nagel)
Friday @Cedar Rapids 6:35 (Su-Min Jung)
Saturday VS Burlington 1:00 (Nick Struck)
Sunday VS Burlington 4:00 (Rob Whitenack)

Top Prospect Watch
Every Thursday, we’ll take a look at how the top prospects in the organization are faring! Ratings are based on those released by Baseball America.

Starlin Castro: .364 AVG, .391 OBP, 4 RBI, 5 Games at AA
Brett Jackson: .286 AVG, .414 OBP, 6 games at Daytona
Josh Vitters: .222 AVG, .250 OBP, 6 games at Daytona
Andrew Cashner: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 ER at AA
Jay Jackson: 0-1, 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, BB at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .150 AVG, .182 OBP, 5 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .250 AVG, .286 OBP, 5 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: Injury Setback
Ryan Flaherty: .067 AVG, .176 OBP, 5 Games at AA
D.J. LeMahieu: .333 AVG, .379 OBP, 3 RBI, 6 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 4/14

Remember
If you have any questions or comments regarding my posts, feel free to email me at cubsblogmailbag@aol.com. All suggestions are welcome. Also, I write a blog where I post daily on the Chicago Cubs over at www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com. For more minor league updates you can follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates.


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