The full season teams in the Chicago Cubs’ minor league system got their respective starts yesterday, and they swept the games that went to conclusion (Peoria’s game was suspended after 8 innings). Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Hayden Simpson, among others, had solid starts to their seasons. And just think, many of the Cubs’ top prospects are older than Starlin Castro.
- Speaking of Mr. Castro, it’s hard to look anywhere on the ‘net right now and not see some glowing piece about the Cubs’ shortstop. So, Bleacher Nation is no different. Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo can’t say enough good things about the kid: “One thing that’s really big is he has that ‘feel’ for such a young kid. He takes me through his at-bats, pitch-to-pitch, and he can remember every pitch and every at-bat. He’s a smart kid. That’s a special knack. Those are things you don’t get taught. Those are things you ‘have’ because of (natural) ability.”
- More super long fluffiness about Castro’s amazing amazingness here.
- Fangraphs has an interesting take on Matt Garza’s wacky stat line last week, in which he gave up 12 hits but also struck out 12 in 7 innings. Conclusion? He was probably a bit unlucky on many of those 12 hits. Or the Pirates’ lineup is exactly half awesome, half terrible.
- The Cubs may be struggling to raise money for Wrigley Field, but they pulled together more than $1 million for Chicago Cubs Charities with the inaugural Bricks and Ivy Ball. Perspective: Carlos Silva is getting 11 times that amount to *not* pitch this year. (Though, according to Ken Rosenthal, some team is preparing to sign Silva…)
- Speaking of the minor league system, the Cubs have released a few familiar faces over the past week or so, including pitchers Chris Huseby, Aaron Shafer, Alex Maestri, Polin Trinidad, Mike Perconte, James Leverton, Marcos Perez, and Chris Siegfried, and outfielder Alvaro Ramirez.
- Huseby was a late-round, big money draftee in 2006, who received a then-record $1.3 million from the Cubs (no one drafted as late as Huseby – 11th round – had received that much before). Injuries and control issues sapped Huseby almost from the get-go. After a brief experiment as an outfielder, the Cubs decided to cut bait.
- Shafer was the Cubs’ second round pick in 2008 and got more than $600k to sign. I must confess, I’m very surprised to see him released so quickly, and I suspect there’s more to the story than mere ineffectiveness. Still just 24, Shafer tore up High A last year, after being converted to a reliever, before struggling at AA to end the year.
- As for Maestri, there’s was a brief time when the Italian product was thought to have a future in the Cubs’ bullpen (particularly after a solid World Baseball Classic turn), but those thoughts faded with his performance.