The major league baseball season is underway and with that comes the minor league watching and wondering who might be the next prospect to help the club. I will be following all the action in the minors this year and will be doing a couple reports a week to let you know how the Cubs minor league system is performing. If there are any promotions or demotions, or new stars emerging I will let you know about them. With that, here are the recaps for the few games from last week. Iowa Cubs (AAA) – Record: 1-3
The Iowa Cubs have gotten off to a very slow start due to a lack of offense. There is not much to talk about on the offensive side but one positive sign is that Felix Pie continued his hot hitting back at Iowa. He has played in three of the four games and is hitting .400 with an OBP of .455. He does not have any home runs, RBI’s or stolen bases yet.
Micah Hoffpauir has looked good early as well. He is batting .385 with a .429 OBP, no HR’s and 3 RBI’s. As a team, no one with Iowa has hit a home run or stolen a base yet.
From the mound, Randy Wells, Les Walrond and Ryan O’Malley have been impressive. Wells gave up two hits and one earned run in the Cubs only win so far. Walrond and O’Malley were both impressive on both ends of the doubleheader on Sunday. O’Malley gave up only one hit and one earned run and Walrond gave up four hits and one earned run. The Cubs lost both games due to poor run support.
Tennessee Smokies (AA) – Record: 2-2
The Smokies have started out a little better and some familiar names are doing well to start the year. Brian Dopirak is the leading hitter after four games with a .375 average but has no home runs or RBI’s. Jake Fox had a very good spring as is continuing it with the Smokies as he is batting .308 with two home runs and five RBI’s. Of his 13 AB’s, six were strikeouts which shows that he needs to work on making contact. Chris Walker, who I did an article on a number of weeks ago, is batting .250 but has stolen two bases already.
From the mound we have had some early success and some problems. Sean Gallagher pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball giving up only four hits. He struck out five and walked only one. Donald Veal, who is rated as the Cubs #2 prospect, struggled in his first outing giving up five earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.
Daytona Cubs (High-A) – Record: 2-1
For Daytona, the hot hitter is Matt Matulia, who is batting .462 in the first three games. He has also driven in four runs. Ryan Norwood is batting .308 with four runs batted in and a stolen base. As a team they have no home runs and three stolen bases.
On the mound the Cubs have a couple young guys we are watching. First is Mitch Atkins who had a good year at Peoria last year. The other is Jeff Samardzija who most Cubs fans should know. Atkins was impressive in his first outing going six innings for the win while giving up two earned runs, four hits, striking out four and walking one. Samardzija was also impressive going five innings, giving up one earned run on five hits with one strikeout and one walk but he failed to get a win. Samardzija is still very new to the organization but this kid is impressive and I don’t see any way he won’t make it to Wrigley soon, barring an injury.
Peoria Chiefs (A) – Record: 1-0
The Peoria Chiefs had two games postponed due to snow but won their opener 9-5 vs. the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. One game doesn’t give us much to go on but Dylan Johnston was one of the stars of the 9-5 win with two hits and two RBI’s. Matt Camp, Yusuf Carter and Alfred Joseph also added two hits and an RBI each. The starter for the Chiefs, William Muldowney, earned the win giving up four runs – three of them earned – on eights hits. He also struck out nine batters, which is his career high. It was a good win for the Chiefs but the Timber Rattlers made it easy for them by giving up six walks and committing seven errors. The Chiefs should be able to get more games played during the upcoming week and next week we should have a better idea of who some of the young stars could be. Ryne Sandberg did win his managerial debut.