Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/24/10

Brett Jackson continues to shine in Daytona. All four teams are within two games of each other in the PCL American Northern Division. Four Chiefs played in the Midwest League All-Star Game. The Mesa Cubs have started their season. Two Cubs prospects will play in the MLB Futures Game!

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

Cubs in the Futures Game
Tuesday night it was announced that two players from the Cubs organization will play in the 2010 Minor League Baseball XM Futures Game at Angel Stadium. Outfielder Brett Jackson will play for the U.S. team while shortstop Hak-Ju Lee will compete on the other side for the World squad. The game will take place on Sunday July 11 as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2, so Lee and Jackson will get a lot of exposure thanks to this game at a Major League park.

Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, Welington Castillo and Geovany Soto have participated in XM Radio’s Futures Game in past seasons.

AAA-Iowa Cubs – (39-34)
Nashville, Omaha, Iowa, and Memphis have a great battle going in their division. The I-Cubs are in third place but only a game out of first. The dominance of Brian Schlitter as the closer has helped the I-Cubs as of late. Schlitter did have a bad outing earlier this week to blow a game however. Matt Camp and Bobby Scales have quietly put together great years leading the club in batting average and on-base percentage respectively.

Two Isotope grand slams (given up by Mitch Atkins and Brian Schlitter) boosted Albuquerque to a 16-12 victory in a wild one at Principal Park on Monday. Atkins didn’t have his best stuff, allowing nine runs (8 ER) in four innings. Three perfect frames from Blake Parker gave the Iowa hitters time to climb back into the game. They did so with three runs in the fifth, two runs in sixth, and three more in the seventh. New father Jim Adduci and second baseman Matt Camp both went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Brad Snyder drove in three including a sixth inning solo blast. However, the Iowa bullpen after Parker was not effective. John Gaub (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB) and Schlitter (0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) both pitched poorly allowing six total runs in the eighth. Click for full box score.

The I-Cubs finally found a way to beat the O-Royals on Tuesday. Going into the game, Omaha was 4-0 against the Cubs after sweeping the first series of the year between the two clubs. The Cubs offense continued to roll as they pulled out an 8-7 victory. Jim Adduci stayed hot with a two-run homer while Micah Hoffpauir launched his eighth of the year, also a two run shot. Welington Castillo (2-for-4, RBI) and Bobby Scales (1-for-2, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 R) hit well at the bottom of the order. Jay Jackson had decent stuff but was wild, giving up four runs and five walks in six innings. James Russell allowed three runs in relief, but Brian Schlitter picked him up by working out of a jam in the top of the ninth. Schlitter’s clutch pitching allowed Snyder to single home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Click for box score.

The O-Royals moved into first place with a come from behind 6-4 win on Wednesday night. The Royals scored four in the ninth against Blake Parker to get the win. DH Jason Dubois drilled a two-run homer and Micah Hoffpauir had two hits. Starter Jeff Samardzija (4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB) did not pitch great, but it was the bullpen that cost Iowa the game. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Omaha 7:05 (Thomas Diamond)
Friday VS Omaha 7:05 (Casey Coleman)
Saturday @New Orleans 6:00 (Mitch Atkins)
Sunday @New Orleans 6:00

AA-Tennessee Smokies – (44-27)
The Smokies are still basking in the glory of their first half championship. Starting pitcher Hung-Wen Chen was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for June 14-20. He pitched 12 scoreless innings over two starts during the week to help the Smokies clinch the North.

After an off day on Monday, Tennessee was set to embark on the second half starting with a six game home series against Carolina. They came from behind to beat the Mudcats 4-3 on Tuesday. Marwin Gonzalez went 3-for-3 including a double and a run scored. Steve Clevenger came through with a pinch hit double to drive in a run. Clevenger’s two-bagger came in the bottom of the eighth to break the tie and ended up being the difference in the game. Alberto Cabrera struck out eight before being removed in the sixth. Click for full box score.

The Smokies earned a hard fought 6-5 win over Carolina on Wednesday. Tony Campana had a huge day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, an RBI and run scored. Nate Samson went 3-for-4 with a double, while three more Tennessee hitters had multi-hit games for a total of five. Craig Muscko (6 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 7 K) was solid, but it was Jeremy Papelbon (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) who got the win. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games and Probable Pitchers:
*All Times CDT
Tonight VS Carolina 6:15
Friday VS Carolina 6:15 (Chris Carpenter)
Saturday VS Carolina 5:15 (Hung-Wen Chen)
Sunday VS Carolina 4:00 (Alberto Cabrera)

Class-A Advanced Daytona Cubs – (34-36)
The only Cubs full season affiliate with a sub-.500 record, the Daytona players have been making every effort to becoming a winning team. Team leader Brett Jackson was named the Florida State League Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending June 20. He hit .429 during the week, which was highlighted by Brett hitting for the cycle against Lakeland on Monday June 14. Jackson could be promoted to Double-A at some point during the second half. His D-Cubs finished the first half with a losing mark at 34-36.

The rainy season has started in Florida, causing Monday’s game to be postponed. Instead, they played two in Lakeland on Tuesday. The Flying Tigers and D-Cubs split the pair. Daytona won the first game 2-1. Chris Archer got the nod and gave up only one run in 5.2 innings. Archer notched his sixth win of the year and has an ERA of 3.12. Catcher Michael Brenly drilled a solo homer, his third long ball of the season. Jose Valdez had two hits including a triple. Aaron Shafer retired the side in order in the seventh to get his fourth save. Click for full box score. Game two belonged to Lakeland 6-4. D.J. LeMahieu got the start at third base (testing out a new position) and went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Kyler Burke stroked two singles in the loss. Click for full box score.

Wednesday’s matinee saw D-Cubs miss out on a chance to finish the first half at .500. The Flying Tigers took the rubber match 7-4. Brett Jackson hit a 2-run homer in the third to start the scoring, but the lead was not enough for Rafael Dolis (5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 6 H, 5 BB). Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Tonight @Dunedin 6:00
Friday @Dunedin 6:00
Saturday @Dunedin 6:00
Sunday VS Brevard County 4:35

Class-A Peoria Chiefs – (38-31)
Despite the winning record, the Chiefs still finished the first half in third place in the Western Division. They were 5.5 game back of first place Cedar Rapids and two games back of the Quad Cities. The second half gets underway on Friday night.

Today is the last of a stretch of four straight days off for Peoria. Four of the Chiefs did not take all four days off as they competed in the Midwest League All-Star game on Tuesday night. James Leverton was the fifth Chief named to the Western squad, but he was promoted to Daytona so he could not take part in the event. The other four Chiefs did play in the West’s 6-2 loss at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne. Hak-Ju Lee, the leadoff hitter and starting shortstop, went 1-for-2 with a single. Logan Watkins came off the bench to play second base. Watkins walked, struck out, and scored in his two trips to the plate. Trey McNutt got the nod as the starting pitcher, but he gave up three earned runs on three hits in his one inning. Matt Cerda struck out the only time he came to the plate. Click for full box score.

Here are the Chiefs team leaders half way through the season:
Batting Average: Justin Bour (.286)
Home Runs: Justin Bour (6)
RBIs: Justin Bour (43)
OBP: Justin Bour (.377)
ERA: Trey McNutt (1.51)
WHIP: Trey McNutt (1.12)
Wins: Trey McNutt (6)
Ks: Trey McNutt (70)
Saves: Jordan Latham (10)

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Friday VS Cedar Rapids 7:00
Saturday VS Cedar Rapids 6:30
Sunday VS Cedar Rapids 1:00

Updates from Boise & Mesa
The Hawks dropped their Opening Day game but battled back to win two of three in Yakima. They were defeated 5-2 in their home opener on Monday against Salem-Keizer. Brandon May (6-for-19, HR, 6 RBIs) and Alvaro Ramirez (6-for-21, HR, 2 RBIs) are off to good starts at the plate. The Cubs Rookie Ball affiliate, Mesa of the Arizona League, started their season with a 6-4 loss to the Angels on Tuesday. Blair Springfield, the Cubs’ seventh round pick from last year, went 1-for-4. Lefty Casey Lambert, who’s rehabbing from an injury, pitched two shutout innings.

Top Prospect Watch
Brett Jackson: .299 AVG, .403 OBP, 64 games at Daytona
Josh Vitters: .227 AVG in 37 games at AA
Jay Jackson: 3-6, 3.68 ERA, 78.1 IP at AAA
Hak-Ju Lee: .271 AVG, .337 OBP, 62 games at Peoria
Logan Watkins: .263 AVG, .340 OBP, 60 games at Peoria
Chris Carpenter: 5-2, 3.26 ERA, 58 IP at AA
Ryan Flaherty: .321 AVG in 40 games at Daytona
D.J. LeMahieu: .227 AVG, .308 OBP, 67 games at Daytona
*Stats accurate going into play on 6/13

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.

Quote of the Day

"Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back." - Diana Frances
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