Three good young lefties took the mound on Wednesday for the Cubs farm teams. Only one of them came away with a win. Still, the fact that the Cubs sent three good young left handed starting pitching prospects to the mound is an encouraging sign. Whispers out of the offices at Clark and Addison suggest that the Cubs would like to develop a more left handed starting rotation. If that is the goal, guys like Raley, Del Valle, and Concepcion could all have very bright futures as starters in Chicago.
AAA – Iowa Cubs. 8 – 12
Iowa was off yesterday. Twenty games into the season the Cubs are in second place in their division, but they are well behind first place Omaha. Anthony Rizzo leads the Pacific Coast League with seven home runs. He is also one of the youngest players in the league.
Brooks Raley wasn’t awful (5.1 innings, 7H, 4R, 2BB, 5K), but he wasn’t as good as we’ve seen him in the past. Jeffry Antigua allowed a run on two hits in relief.
Frank Del Valle pitched six good innings (4R, 5H, 6K) on his way to his first win of the season. Bryan Schlitter and Tony Zych combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Zych got the save, but it was of the Marmol variety. He gave up a double and two walks to load the bases before Matt Szczur rescued him with a great catch for the final out.
Speaking of Szczur… he did it again. Once again this guy managed to score a run despite not reaching base via a hit or walk. He’s done this so often this year I’ve taken to calling the phenomenon after him. So, in this game, Szczur scored two runs and one of them was a Szczur. As I type this he is tied for first in runs scored in the entire Florida State League despite having on OPS of just .592. The guy he is tied with, Rob Segedin, has an OPS of .926.
Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 8 – 11
Whether from nerves or just an early lack of control, Gerardo Concepcion got his professional career off to a rough start with a five run first inning. The Chiefs chipped away at that gap, but ultimately they lost this one 6-3.
After he got out of the first inning, Concepcion was fairly effective. He struck out only two (against one walk), but he did a nice job inducing ground outs. There was apparently no public radar gun in the ballpark; we may need to wait awhile before we get accurate numbers on just how hard he can throw.
After Concepcion left the game, Yao-Lin Wang and Andrew McKirahan were both good in relief. Each pitcher finished the game with his ERA still at 0.00. Personally I’m still hoping Wang returns to the rotation at some point, but the move to the bullpen certainly seems to agree with him.
Offensively the Chiefs were strong up the middle. Zeke DeVoss, Pin-Chieh Chen, Taylor Davis, and Wes Darvill (that’s 2B, CF, C, and DH (but usually INF) if you’re scoring at home) all had two hits. DeVoss launched a solo home run, his second of the season. So far I like what I see on the stat sheet for Peoria this year. The Chiefs have a number of young players who are able to get on base and score in a number or ways. This is a good crop of prospects; don’t lose track of these guys.