Opening day for Minor League baseball was Thursday. Each week, it’s my goal to try to comment on some of the things that caught my eye on the farm that week. It may be highlighting things I read about a prospect or talking about how they’ve done so far this year. The one thing that’s sure is that it will run on Sunday. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Hayden Simpson made the opening day start for Peoria on Thursday. He was on a low pitch count, which is the norm early in the year, but managed to go 3.2 IP while striking out seven. Simpson was picked in the first round by the Cubs out of Southern Arkansas, a Division II school. A lot of people thought it was a silly pick, but if he can develop into the type of pitcher that the Cubs see him as, Tim Wilken will look like a genius. He missed any chance of playing out of college last year because of a rough bout with mono.
Staying on the topic of high draft picks, the Cubs released Chris Huseby and Aaron Shafer. Huseby wasn’t necessarily a high pick, selected in the 11th round of the 2006 draft, but he did net a $1.3 million signing bonus in the same draft that could go down as one of the worst drafts in Jim Hendry’s tenure. They appear to have hit with Tyler Colvin in the 1st round, but beyond that there is not a single names that appears to have any chance at making a meaningful contribution to the big league team. This was the draft that the Cubs also game Jeff Samardzija a Major League deal that included major money to skip football.
Shafer was selected in the 2nd round in 2008. When you look at the combined stats between High-A and AA for Shafer, you’d wonder what Hendry was thinking. Then you take a look at the fact that Shafer is 24 and the numbers were drastically different based on each league. Look at the difference and you’ll see why the Cubs were OK with dropping Shafer.
Tm Lev W L ERA SV IP H HR SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB 2 Teams A+-AA 4 3 2.68 7 80.2 63 4 77 1.029 7.0 0.4 2.2 8.6 3.85 Daytona A+ 2 1 0.96 5 46.2 29 1 47 0.836 5.6 0.2 1.9 9.1 4.70 Tennessee AA 2 2 5.03 2 34.0 34 3 30 1.294 9.0 0.8 2.6 7.9 3.00
All the numbers for Shafer were drastically higher once he pitched in AA. He padded the stats with those High-A numbers.
Ryan Flaherty, one of my favorite prospects in the system, has surprised me a little this year. Coming into this season, he played exclusively in the infield. This year he’s played in all four games, but has split time in a few different places. He’s seen two games at 2B, one at SS, and one in LF. It will be interesting to see if the OF position will be something that becomes a trend for him. Personally, I’d like to see him continue to get the bulk of his time in the middle infield to eventually make this team and replace Blake DeWitt.
Staying in the infield, Bobby Scales is off to a hot start with Iowa. He’s getting to the point now where age is not on his side, but perhaps if Dewitt continues to suck, Scales gets a shot at showing something for the big club. His biggest obsticle is the fact that he doesn’t play SS. If he did, I think he would have made this team out of spring training. So far for Iowa he’s hitting .462 / .563 / .846 in three games with five of his six hits being doubles.
Baseball America recently posted a handy guide to where each of the top 30 prospects in each organization were starting the year. Here is the summary for the Cubs. Keep in mind that we traded quite a few of our top 30 in the Garza trade.
|CHC||23||Reggie Golden||AZL Cubs||Arizona||10/10/91|
|CHC||12||Darwin Barney||Chicago Cubs||National||11/08/85|
|CHC||18||Marcos Mateo||Chicago Cubs||National||04/18/84|
|CHC||17||Welington Castillo||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||04/24/87|
|CHC||19||Michael Burgess||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||10/20/88|
|CHC||21||Logan Watkins||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||08/29/89|
|CHC||25||Aaron Kurcz||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||08/08/90|
|CHC||27||Junior Lake||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||03/27/90|
|CHC||28||Jae-Hoon Ha||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||10/29/90|
|CHC||30||Dae-Eun Rhee||Daytona Cubs||Florida State||03/23/89|
|CHC||6||Chris Carpenter||Iowa Cubs||Pacific Coast||12/26/85|
|CHC||14||Scott Maine||Iowa Cubs||Pacific Coast||02/02/85|
|CHC||29||Esmailin Caridad||Iowa Cubs||Pacific Coast||10/28/83|
|CHC||7||Matt Szczur||Peoria Chiefs||Midwest||07/20/89|
|CHC||8||Hayden Simpson||Peoria Chiefs||Midwest||05/20/89|
|CHC||19||Robinson Lopez||Peoria Chiefs||Midwest||03/02/91|
|CHC||2||Brett Jackson||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||08/02/88|
|CHC||3||Trey McNutt||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||08/02/89|
|CHC||5||Josh Vitters||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||08/27/89|
|CHC||9||Rafael Dolis||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||01/10/88|
|CHC||13||D.J. Lemahieu||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||07/13/88|
|CHC||22||Ryan Flaherty||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||07/27/86|
|CHC||26||Brooks Raley||Tennessee Smokies||Southern||06/29/88|
Finally, with the two injuries to the Cubs rotation, the Iowa Cubs have signed Ramon Ortiz to pitch out of the rotation. Ortiz is 37 years old and has never been good…ever.