Cubs' Minor League Daily: Beating Trauma

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Cubs’ Minor League Daily: Beating Trauma

Chicago Cubs
Adam Brimer/News Sentinel

Just last season Ty’relle Harris, a fairly promising reliever for the Tennessee Smokies, was the victim in a hit and run accident that left him with injured legs and his baseball career in question.

Yesterday, that same Ty’relle Harris pitched two innings out of the Iowa bullpen. He allowed one hit, two walks, and struck out three. Remarkable as it seems, this guy has bounced all the way back from his injuries and is once again a bullpen prospect worth watching.

Harris is more of a ground ball pitcher than a strikeout artist. His 2012 minor league average GO/AO is a very nice 1.42. He has walked a few more guys than is ideal (27 in 53.1 innings), but that is largely offset by his solid .193 batting average against. I don’t think he is a closer candidate; I like him more as a guy who can toss reliable innings in the middle of a game.

There is no reason to think that Harris is a candidate for the Cubs’ bullpen this season, but he should warrant a look in spring training. More than likely he will open the 2013 season back in Iowa, but I would not bet against him capping off his recovery with a trip to Wrigley before next season is out.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa scored four times in the last two innings, but they lost anyway by a final of 9-5.
Tennessee – Tennessee lost the suspended game 12-11 in eleven innings, but they bounced back to win the night cap 8-4.
Daytona – Sunday’s contest was rained out and will not be rescheduled.
Peoria – The game stayed close, but Peoria came up just short in a 3-2 loss.
Boise – Boise lost in a blowout, 8-1.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs dropped a home game 6-4.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters hit his 15th home run of the season as part of another two hit game. He has raised his OPS to .858 now; it wasn’t that long ago that he crossed the .800 line.
  • [Iowa] Welington Castillo also went long for his fifth home run. Castillo hit that home run off former Cub prospect Angel Guzman.
  • [Tennessee] Frank Batista pitched two innings without allowing a hit in Game One.
  • [Tennessee] Game Two’s starter Nick Struck won his 11th game by allowing just one run over five innings.
  • [Tennessee] Zach Rosscup had a great game. The lefty came in to relieve Struck and proceeded to pitch three innings of one hit ball while striking out five.
  • [Tennessee] Logan Watkins is making it look way too easy. In the two games combined he finished 5 for 10, scored three times, and drove in two. In the second half of this season he has hit .349/.432/.523.
  • [Tennessee] Other hitters of note from the two Smokies games are Junior Lake (4 for 11, double), Jae-Hoon Ha (4 for 10, SB), Michael Burgess (2 for 4, 2 doubles), and Greg Rohan (2 for 7, 2 doubles, 3 walks).
  • [Peoria] Canadian lefty Sheldon McDonald pitched two more hitless innings as he struck out three.
  • [Peoria] The Chiefs did not have a lot of offense in this game. One bright spot was Pin-Chieh Chen stealing his 25th base of the season.
  • [Boise] Michael Heesch struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief. He has now pitched 12 total professional innings, and his ERA remains at 0.00.
  • [Boise] Eight different Hawks had one hit in this game, but only Xavier Batista managed an extra base hit. The right fielder hit his seventh home run of the season.
  • [Arizona] Lendy Castillo allowed just two hits and struck out five over the first four innings in this game.
  • [Arizona] Shawon Dunston had a three hit game, raising his Arizona batting average to .244.
  • [Arizona] Third baseman Ben Carhart raised his OPS to .887 with a 2 for 4 game that featured his fifth double.
  • [Arizona] And, yes, Jorge Soler did hit his first professional home run as part of his two hit day. I do not have a distance estimate handy, but after seeing the hit (and, more importantly, hearing it) I feel confident that the ball traveled no fewer than 600 miles and quite possibly entered Low Earth Orbit. You can tell his swing still needs some polish, but… good grief.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Chris Volstad‘s struggles continue. The troubled right hander made it through five innings on Sunday, but he gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits while walking one and striking out three. To be fair, the Albuquerque ballpark is a notorious launching pad for baseballs, but even so Volstad’s numbers are disappointing. He did generate 9 ground outs to just 4 fly outs, a promising trend, but there is still a lot of work for this guy to do.
  • Are the Cubs stretching Lendy Castillo into a starter? The Rule 5 selection has been rehabbing with the AZL Cubs lately, and even though he had been used as a starter there I did not think anything of it. It isn’t uncommon for rehabbing relievers at that level to start games, just like it isn’t uncommon for relievers to start games in spring training. However, Castillo pitched four innings yesterday. That is unusual for a reliever. Also, he has been pitching every fifth game, just like he would as a starter. These are not conclusive bits of evidence, but they are intriguing ones. I wonder if the Cubs have Castillo in mind as a post trade deadline starter in Chicago. Regardless of his role, he will need to come up sometime next month or else the Cubs risk losing him back to the Phillies (unless they want to have to carry him on the big team to start the 2013 season).
  • What are we going to call Soler’s home runs? Moon shot is the common term for a towering bomb, but can a guy named Soler hit moon shots? Sun shot doesn’t have the same ring to it, though. Novas? Comets? Coronal Mass Ejections? I expect this dilemma to be an ongoing problem for the next several years.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 41 – 61.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 19.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 13-17
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 5.0 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 12-18
Florida State League North Division – Fourth Place : 5.5 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 11-18
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fifth Place : 5.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 12 – 25
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 8.5 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 18 – 7
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

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Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.