Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/10/10

The 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft is in the books. The Cubs made a surprise first round selection when they picked Hayden Simpson, a right handed pitcher out of a Division II school, with the 16th overall pick. In the mean time, Chad Tracy has posted several more big games and was finally promoted back to the bigs. One Cub is on rehab, while another was named the PCL Pitcher of the Week. Plus, Hak-Ju Lee is an All-Star and more from the First Year Player Draft.

All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report …

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (30-28)
The pattern in Des Moines this year has been very simple. When the I-Cubs don’t score, they don’t win. Iowa has gotten some decent pitching from their starters, but nonetheless they hold a 3-19 record when they are held under four runs. Also, they haven’t been good in the close ones, just 5-11 in one run ballgames. Mitch Atkins was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week of May 31-June 6! Atkins has had a great year at the front of the Iowa rotation.

Monday night was one of those close low scoring games where the Cubs struggle. They lost to the New Orleans Zephyrs 2-1 despite an attempt to come back in the ninth. Micah Hoffpauir singled to drive in the first Iowa run of the evening. Then pinch hitter Bryan LaHair came through with a two-out single and pinch runner Bobby Scales scampered to third. However, Welington Castillo, who went 0-for-4, was retired to end the rally and the game. J.R. Mathes allowed just one run on five hits in his six-inning start. Lefty John Grabow made his first rehab appearance since being placed on the Chicago DL. Grabow allowed no runs on a hit in his inning of work. Click for full box score.

On Tuesday Iowa scored early and often in a 5-1 victory to get away with a series split against New Orleans. Chad Tracy fueled the middle of the Iowa order- four hits, two homers, two RBI, and three runs scored. Thomas Diamond did the rest on the hill (5 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K) to improve to 4-2 on the year. A few familiar names, Justin Berg and Jeff Samardzija, put zeros on the board in the seventh and eighth respectively. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Memphis 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Friday @Memphis 7:05 (Mitch Atkins)
Saturday @Memphis 3:05 (Jay Jackson)
Sunday @Memphis 1:35 (TBA)

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (36-23)
We know the Smokies have some great hitters, and now the pitching staff has really started to do its part as well. Chris Carpenter now has five wins on the year. David Cales has become a nice fit in the bullpen. Hung-Wen Chen and Austin Bibens-Dirkx continue to anchor the rotation.

Tennessee suffered a tough 6-4 defeat on Monday. The Huntsville Stars scored four runs to grab the lead in the eighth. Tony Thomas drilled a solo homer in the seventh for what was at that time an insurance run. Tony Campana went 2-for-3 and Robinson Chirinos drove in a pair. Craig Muschko allowed two runs (1 ER) in six innings, but reliever Jake Muyco couldn’t hold onto the lead. Muyco got charged with his third blown save and second loss of the year. Click for full box score.

Chris Carpenter pitched a gem on Tuesday working 6.1 shutout innings. He surrendered only three hits and one walk to go along with his six strikeouts. Carpenter’s ERA is now at 3.45. Ryan Butcher continued to do well in his middle-inning role and David Cales slammed the door in the ninth to earn his fourth save. The Smokies did all of the scoring in the first inning and won by a score of 3-0. Ty Wright provided all the offense Carpenter would need with one swing- a two run homer to left in the first. Click for full box score.

The Smokies got their second straight victory as they hosted the Stars on Wednesday night. They survived a late Huntsville rally to win it 4-2. Blake Lalli reached base all four times he batted via two hits and two walks. Brandon Guyer hit a two run homer, his second long ball of the year. Josh Vitters went 2-for-3 and drove in two. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS West Tenn 6:15
Friday VS West Tenn 6:15
Saturday VS West Tenn 5:15
Sunday VS West Tenn 4:00

Class-A Daytona Cubs – (29-31)
The Florida State League All-Star game will take place on Saturday night! Three members of the Daytona Cubs, Rafael Dolis, Brett Jackson and Aaron Shafer, have been named to the All-Star squad. The D-Cubs are hoping to finish out the first half of the year with a win tonight so that they can fully enjoy their three days off.

Daytona beat the Palm Beach Cardinals in 11-2 blowout fashion on Monday. Smaily Borges continued his sudden hot streak with a single, a double, and two runs scored, two RBI. D.J. LeMahieu, Brett Jackson, Rebel Ridling and Ryan Flaherty all had two-hit games as well. Rafael Dolis pitched six sound innings but was touched for two earned runs. Click for full box score.

D-Cubs pitching dominated Tuesday’s 7-0 win. Chris Archer went six praiseworthy innings of no runs, two hits, eight-strikeout baseball. David Patton and Aaron Shafer pitched well out of the bullpen to keep the shutout intact. Kyler Burke hit his 15th double of the year to drive in two runs, part of a 2-for-5 night. Brett Jackson also had two hits and scored twice. Click for full box score.

Brett Jackson delivered a grand slam in the second inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 win over Brevard County. Jackson’s dinger was his third of the year. He added a single, a walk, two runs scored, and a total of five RBI. Chris Rusin did the rest allowing a run on four hits in 6.1 innings to get his second win. Jose Valdez reached in all four at bats via two hits and two walks. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Brevard County 6:05
Saturday All Star Game North VS South 6:35

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (32-27)
Peoria will be well represented in the Midwest League All Star game on June 22 in Fort Wayne. Hak-Ju Lee will get the nod as the starting shortstop and is one of five Chiefs that have been named to the West team. Lee will be joined by pitchers Trey McNutt and James Leverton as well as infielders Matt Cerda and Logan Watkins.

After an off day on Monday, the Chiefs opened a series against the Lansing Lugnuts of the Blue Jays organization on Tuesday night. Jae-Hoon Ha went 2-4 with a double to boost his average to .326. D.J. Fitzgerald rapped a double that plated two in the fourth. Watkins and Lee also had two-hit games. Jeffry Antigua was a little shaky but still got the win. Click for full box score.

The Chiefs scored in the bottom of the tenth on Wednesday for a dramatic 2-1 win over Lansing. Hak-Ju Lee went 2-for-3 plus a pair of base on balls. Rob Whitenack went five innings and allowed no runs on four hits. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Lansing 7:00
**Friday VS Great Lakes 7:00
Saturday VS Great Lakes 6:30
Sunday VS Great Lakes 1:00
**= Greg Maddux Jersey Retirement Night

Draft Recap
The 2010 Major League Baseball first year player draft is history. The Cubs selected Hayden Simpson, a right handed pitcher out of Southern Arkansas (Division II) with their 16th overall pick. Click here for Neil’s full draft coverage and a bio of Simpson.

In the second round, the Cubs selected Reggie Golden, a centerfielder out of Wetumpka High School in Alabama. He has a lot of power and good speed for his big build.

The Cubs third round choice (97th overall) was Micah Gibbs from LSU. Gibbs is a switch-hitting catcher who is a good defensive backstop. He just finished his junior year.

Hunter Ackerman was the first left-handed pitcher selected by the North Siders. He went in the fourth round, 130th overall. Ackerman went 8-1 with a 1.40 ERA this year as a freshman at Louisburg College in Virginia.

The Cubs rounded out their top five with Matthew Szczur, a kid out of Villanova University who just finished his junior year. Szczur, who also played football as a wide receiver in college, has great speed and average power to all fields according to his bio on the Villanova Athletics Site.

Last Year’s Draft Picks
Since it’s been a year since the 2009 First Year Player Draft, let’s get an update on the progress of the Cubs’ top ten selections last year. Although some of the guys look like they’re struggling, consider how quickly they moved from college ball to Class-A or Class-A Advanced

Brett Jackson: At Class-A Daytona, See Top Prospect Watch for stats
D.J. LeMahieu: At Class-A Daytona, see Top Prospect Watch for stats
Austin Kirk: 3.07 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 9 games (4 starts) at EXST
Chris Rusin: 1-2, 4.03 ERA, 10 games (7 starts) at Daytona
Wes Darvill: Hit .232, 8 RBIs, .346 OBP in 28 games at EXST
Brooks Raley: 2-5, 5.72 ERA, 11 starts at Daytona
Blair Springfield: .145 AVG, .203 OBP in 27 games at EXST
Rob Whitenack: 4-4, 6.97 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) at Peoria
Richard Jones: Hit .216 in 37 games with Peoria; .417 in 3 games at EXST
Charles Thomas: .303 AVG at EXST, moved up to Peoria (.231 AVG, 17 games)
*EXST= Extended Spring Training in Mesa

Top Prospect Watch
Brett Jackson: .280 AVG, .397 OBP, 53 games at Daytona
Josh Vitters: .215 AVG in 25 games at AA
Jay Jackson: 3-4, 2.79 ERA, 61.1 IP at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .258 AVG, .328 OBP, 52 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .258 AVG, .341 OBP, 50 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: 5-2, 3.45 ERA, 47.0 IP at AA
Ryan Flaherty: .333 AVG in 30 games at Daytona
D.J. LeMahieu: .272 AVG, .304 OBP, 56 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 6/9

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Quote of the Day

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