Casey Coleman got the start, his third of the season, and got hit pretty hard for six earned runs over 5.2 IP. Through the first three starts, he’s improved on his k/bb ratio from last year and has it at 4.5 K’s/bb. I’ve got hopes for Coleman to make it to the Majors soon after winning 14 games last year for Tennessee. He’ll need to show mastery in AAA, though first.
Two familiar names pitched out of the bullpen and both pitched a scoreless fram. Both Jeff Stevens and John Gaub got into the game in relief and neither allowed a hit. Gaub had a tough first outing out of the blocks when he gave up two ER, but since then he’s thrown 3.1 scoreless innings, only allowing one base runner in those appearances. It’s early, but there is still potential there.
At the plate, Brad Snyder was probably the player of the night in the organization with a 4-for-5 night that included two HR’s, a double, and three RBI. At 27 years old, Snyder isn’t really much of a prospect at this point. He fits into the Micah Hoffpauir, AAAA type player, mold. Matt Swain of Wrigley Bound described it like this:
He’s chock full of power and can hit for moderate average, but won’t take many walks, leading to questionable on-base skills. I’m always surprised a 1st round pick with the success he’s had at the minor league level never got a shot to catch on somewhere.
Tennessee Smokies – Rained out (will play DH tonight)
MiLB.com had a note on Andrew Cashner that was written before he last start on Monday:
Tennessee right-hander Andrew Cashner had electric stuff in his first two starts, striking out the first seven batters he faced on Opening Night and carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his second outing. Cashner, 23, leads the SL with 20 strikeouts and had allowed only two walks and five hits in 10 1/3 innings.
Chris Archer, a pitcher I’m particularly fond of because he went to school about five minutes from my house, didn’t have a great outing for the Cubs. He went just four innings, giving up two home runs. I think I’m higher on Acher than most after a real nice stay in Peoria where he sported a 2.81 ERA. Tonight was not his night.
Not much to report at the plate. Brett Jackson got on base twice via the walk and Kyler Burke (another favorite of mine) had a double and a walk.
In non-team related news, Joe Rowe attended his 1,000th straight home game for the Daytona Cubs.
Matt Cerda delivered the game-winning hit for the second straight game with a two-run single in the seventh. He finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI.
Closer Jordan Latham came out of the bullpen for the eighth inning and allowed a leadoff single before racking up three strikeouts. In the top of the ninth Latham got the first two outs before issuing a walk and hitting a batter. With the tying run on first base, Latham struck out Myrio Richard to end the game.
Baseball America has a regular Q/A session with the readers. In this last edition, there was a question about Samardzija .
Q. As a Cubs fan, it’s sometimes painful to watch Jeff Samardzija pitch for the big club. There seems to be a common feeling that his development path hasn’t been a good one, and that the Cubs have rushed him because of the contract he signed. What is the track record of players who sign major league deals out of the draft? Is it really worth it to the player/agent to sign a big league deal and effectively start a clock ticking on his development timeline?
A. The $10 million major league contract that the Cubs gave Samardzija to entice him away from an NFL career as a wide receiver really isn’t the problem. Samardzija signed that deal in January 2007, and the Cubs could have optioned him to the minors through this season if they wanted to. When Chicago promoted Samardzija to the majors in July 2008, they did so because he was pitching well in Triple-A and they needed help for the stretch drive—not because his contract compelled a callup.
In the history of the draft, 43 players have received major league contracts. Thirty-six of those deals went to college players who were expected to reach the big leagues before they ran out of options, so the contracts weren’t a development issue. The first high schoolers to get a major league deal, Todd Van Poppel, was a victim of a rushed timetable, but Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett and Rick Porcello have survived just fine.
There are two main issues with Samardzija. The biggest is that he’s still more of an arm-strength guy than a true pitcher. Even when he was throwing in the mid-90s at Notre Dame, he didn’t miss a lot of bats. His fastball straightens out when he overthrows, and while his slider and splitter have their moments, neither is a consistent weapon. His command also isn’t as strong as it needs to be.
The other problem is that in the last three years, the Cubs have moved him from a starter in Triple-A to a reliever in the majors, and back and forth again . . . again . . . and again. That’s tough on any pitcher, especially one who’s as raw and relatively inexperienced as Samardzija. I don’t ever seeing him becoming a starter, so I’d commit to making him a full-time reliever going forward. Have him focus on two pitches and not worry about pacing himself would be the best way to get value out of Samardzija. ~ Jim Callis
Minor League Transactions
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Jon Nagel, LHP Chris Rusin, OF Sam Fuld
Reinstated from DL: RHP David Patton, C Mark Johnson