Ok, this will be the first in 8 or so installments until I lose interest in providing updates on the farm system. Basically the plan is to give you the high and lowlights from the lands down under.
Mr. Rizzo continues to tear up the PCL with 2 home runs both of which whipped up the Iowa announcers to Judd Sirot levels of shouting. I fully expect Rizzo to tear up a hitters league again but the big question will be can he keep his hitting mechanics stable and work on shortening his swing a bit. So the numbers won't really tell us when he is ready vs when the organization thinks he has made these adjustments. Josh Vitters continues a decent start with a pair of hits and amazingly he has 2 walks in 14 ab's as well. Spring training leper Travis Wood did a good job striking out 6 batters in 6 IP and giving up 3 ER. Wood also added a monster HR of his own.
Its really hard to write anything about the barren wasteland that is our AA team so let me just say that Alberto Cabrera struck out 2 batters in 1.2 IP and the Smokies won 3-2.
Zach Cates was the 2nd player received in the Cashner trade and there is some hope he could be a breakout pitcher. Sickels ranked him # 16 in our system and noted his peripheral stats are better than his ERA would suggest. Well last night there was little those secondary stats could do to hide just how awful Cates was. I had decided to neglect my lovely family last night so I could sit in my basement and listen to the Daytona game to get a feel for this new Cub and I was able to make it through the first inning before giving up. His velocity was down, his fastball was anywhere from 88-91 with no control and his slider was not sliding. He seems to have a decent 77 mph changeup with good movement but that's little consolation for having an ERA of 54. On the other hand with those kind of numbers you could argue Cates is ready for a setup role with the big league club. Outside of that clown shoes performance last night marked the triumphant return of AJ MORRIS– K-State grad and RP prospect who the Cubs got in the Gorzo trade. Morris was out last year recovering for TJ and pitched 1 inning with 2 unearned runs scoring and struck out a batter.
After the Cates debacle I decided to continue to ignore my 2 year old who only wanted to play dinosaurs and focus on what matters most- following Peoria Chiefs prospect Ben Wells as he made his 2012 debut. Wells is another cross your fingers and hope to Allah they breakout SP prospect. He is ranked # 17 by Sickels and has a good sinking fastball that gets a ton of groundouts. Wells also has the size you would want out of a SP and is only 19. Last night the sinker was working as he was able to induce many grounders but the defense behind him was pretty shitty. Although his line wasn't that great there were more than a few hits that could have been outs with more competent play behind him. I tweeted the Peoria announcers to get a report on the velocity but was told that the gun was not on last night.. Oneri Fleita was in attendance and hopefully he enjoyed the two TOOTBLAN's that occurred in the 3 innings I was listening. It's the Cubs way people. In other news Kyle(r) Burke struck out 3 in IP as he continues his never ending journey to become a LOOGY for the Iowa Cubs.
That's all for now. Enjoy this wonderful piece of art that I created.