• The Hardball Times put out a post on the most improved minor league hitters of 2007 (Source) and mentioned Geovany Soto in it. In the article, Soto was mentioned in the most improved player category, which made me very happy to see. It’s good to see that we weren’t the only ones to notice his breakout year. Others around the Majors noticed as well. Unfortunately, all they really say is that Geo will compete for the starting job in 2008. Personally, the job is his out of camp, if you ask me. Who takes it from him? Henry Blanco? I think not.
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus mentioned one of my favorite prospects in the system in his Monday Ten Pack article (Source). Kyler Burke, who came over in the trade that sent Michael Barrett to San Diego. He’s playing in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League for the Honolulu Sharks. Goldstein had the following to say:

    Burke was acquired during the season by the Cubs in the Michael Barrett trade, and he may have gone from highly regarded to slight sleeper. Entering the year as the ninth-best prospect in the Padres system, the 19-year-old outfielder proved to be unprepared for a full-season league, batting just .211/.305/.268 at Low-A Fort Wayne before the deal. The Cubs dropped him back down to the Northwest League, where he started off 1-for-27 before taking off, batting .284 the rest of the way with 10 home runs in 197 at-bats. Burke went 0-for-4 for the Sharks on Saturday, ending a six-game multi-hit streak in which he went 14-for-24 with seven doubles. He’s now batting .355/.412/.516 in 18 games. Burke is ready for another shot at a full-season league, and scouts have always been enamored with his tools; keep an eye on this one.

  • Inside the Ivy mentioned that Donald Veal, has been learning to relax a little more in the Arizona Instructional League camp. (Source) There were a couple of interesting quotes from the article.

    ìDefinitely in the first month of the season,î Veal said, ìI was trying to prove that I was ready (for Chicago) when I wasnít.î

    ìEarly on in the season, I think I was trying too much to prove that I could pitch at the Double-A level and was just trying too hard,î Veal re-iterated. ìI started to relax and it became a little easier. Guys werenít overwhelmingly harder to get out; it was more just about myself.î

    ìNot trying to be perfect all of the time, knowing you have good stuff and just to work with it,î he said of his goals.

    ìHeís got tremendous upside and the sky is the limit for him,î said [Pat] Listach. ìWeíre really looking forward to him putting it together pretty soon.

    ìHeís only 23 years old, but itís time for him to step up and become what type of pitcher he really is,î Listach added.

  • MiLB writer, Lisa Winston broke down the Cubs farm system now that the year is over and took at look back. (Source). It’s a very interesting read and covers a wide amount of names, including Josh Vitters, Kyler Burke, Donald Veal, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Gallagher, Tyler Colvin, Kevin Hart, and Eric Patterson.
  • MiLB writer, Michael Avallone took a look at the memorable performances down on the farm this season. (Source) Some of the more interesting ones were:- April 5 – Ryne Sandberg leads Peoria to a win in his first game as manager.
    - June 21 – Mark Holliman tosses a No-Hitter for Tennessee
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    Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail