Cubs Minor League Wrap--April 29


And Starlin Castro is still in Tennessee.

I want to start out tonight by saying something about Castro. Despite what Bruce Levine wrote, I don't believe that Castro is going to be in Chicago "soon," although "soon" is a nebulous concept that could mean July, which is more realistic. It would be financially irresponsible for the Cubs to call him up before the time for "Super Two" arbitration passes, which will likely be sometime around May 27, give or take a week.

I've been poo-poohing some of the Castro enthusiasm around here, although mostly that's been because I don't think he's going to hit 30 HRs a season and turn into Hanley Ramirez. If you'd take Hanley Ramirez with a better glove and only 8-10 HRs a year, then I think that is possible. But not this season.

Castro is only 20. Ramirez didn't play in the majors until he was 22, and even then he "only" hit .292 with 17 HRs. I really don't think Hanley is all that similar to Castro, but he is the premier shortstop in the league. Jose Reyes is a better comparison. Reyes did come up at mid-season when he was 20. Reyes hit .307 with a .337 OBP and 5 HRs that year.

Those numbers are good. They're really good for someone that young in the majors. But they wouldn't save the season for a Cubs team whose offense is going downhill fast. Even if Castro does turn out to be another Jose Reyes, calling him up wouldn't give us the 25 year-old Reyes who led the league in hits. We'd get the 20 or 21 year-old Reyes who showed flashes of what he would become, but who struggled a lot at times. (Reyes was really bad offensively in his second season.)

I have no idea whether or not calling Castro up now would stunt his development. I generally prefer more aggressive promoting of top prospects, but an organization has to know how each individual player will respond to the challenges. I don't think Castro would begin to doubt himself if he struggled at the major league level, but I don't know him personally. But my point is that there isn't really any point to calling Castro up right now, because he's not going to save the team if Ramirez and Lee are going to have lousy years. The only reason to call him up now is because you think he's ready to play every day in the majors. Do not call him up in a desperation move to get the season kick-started. If you're looking for a savior for 2012, then Castro's your guy. If you're looking for someone to save this season, I've got nothing for you.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs were outslugged by the Omaha Royals 11-7 in a game called after 5 1/2 innings due to rain.

Starter Mike Parisi got rocked for eight runs in only two innings. Parisi allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out only one. One of the runs allowed by Parisi was unearned.

The rain cost right fielder Brad Snyder a chance to hit for the cycle. Snyder was 3 for 4 with a triple and his fourth home run of the year. Snyder had three RBI.

DH Bobby Scales also hit a two-run home run. Scales went 1 for 3 with a walk. It was Scales' first home run of the year. Left fielder Bryan LaHair was 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Catcher Welington Castillo went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

Tennessee Smokies

The losing streak is now three as the Smokies were doused by the Chattanooga Lookouts, 4-3.

Craig Muschko had a good start tonight, allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings. He didn't walk anyone and struck out four.

David Cales came in to save the game in the ninth and got torched for two runs on three hits. After intentionally walking the bases loaded with one out, Cales hit the final batter for a walk-off hit by pitch. The one out Cales recorded was a strikeout.

The Smokies scored all of their runs in the first inning on two home runs. First, left fielder Ty Wright hit a solo shot, which was his fourth home run this season. Wright was 1 for 4. Two batters later, catcher Robinson Chirinos hit his sixth home run with a man on. Chirinos went 2 for 4 with a double and that home run.

Daytona Cubs

The Daytona Cubs were mauled by the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 4-3.

Brooks Raley bounced back from his last start to throw a gem tonight. He allowed only one run on six hits and a walk over five innings. Most impressively, he struck out nine.

David Patton allowed a two-run home run in the eighth inning that put the Flying Tigers up for good. Patton pitched two-thirds of an inning and allowed the two runs on two hits and a walk.

Right fielder Kyler Burke went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. First baseman Marwin Gonzalez was 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored.

Third baseman Josh Vitters hit his third home run of the year. It was a fourth inning solo shot. Vitters went 1 for 4.

Peoria Chiefs

At least someone won today, and the Chiefs came through with a 8-7 skinning of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Starting pitcher Robert Whitenack pitched 4.2 innings and allowed three runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Reliever Corey Martin got the win when the Chiefs pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Martin threw 2.1 innings and allowed one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out one.

Catcher Jonathan Mota knocked home that winning run with an RBI single. Mota was 2 for 4 with 3 RBI total.

Second baseman George Matheus hit two doubles in four at bats tonight. He scored once and had one RBI. DH DJ Fitzgerald went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI.

Third baseman Matt Cerda was 2 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. Cerda scored three times. Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee was also 2 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. Lee scored once. He now has nine stolen bases on the year.

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