Results tagged ‘ Triple-A ’

Farm Report Wrap-Up: The Iowa-Chicago shuttle was active in 2012

Josh Vitters was one of the top hitters on the Iowa Cubs this season. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Today we wrap up our tour of the Cubs farm system, which took a level-by-level look at performances the organization hopes to build on in 2013. The Triple-A Iowa Cubs are last in the spotlight.

For those of us who subscribe to MiLB.TV, all eyes were trained on Iowa to start the year. Between Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, some of the organization’s top prospects could be found just a step away from the major leagues.

In fact, of the 59 players to appear for the I-Cubs this year, 32 appeared in the major leagues at some point this season. And 24 finished the year on a big league roster (though it should be noted that total includes rehab assignments in Des Moines for Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol and Steve Clevenger).

Of course, Rizzo dominated Triple-A until his mid-June call-up, and he more or less became the Chicago Cubs’ best hitter after that. On the other hand, both Vitters and Jackson weren’t able to take off in their major league debuts and, according to Theo Epstein, are expected to start back in Iowa next season.

Lost in the franchise-record 153 transactions was a team that finished in last place, largely because of an offense that finished 15th out of 16 teams.

Still, some specific performances stood out even beyond Rizzo, Vitters and Jackson. Infielder Luis Valbuena showed some pop and patience to go along with a good glove. First baseman Greg Rohan did well in his third stop of 2012. Catcher Welington Castillo once again showed some power, as he continues to develop his good tools behind the plate. And infielder Adrian Cardenas has produced at pretty much every minor league stop.

The Chicago-Iowa shuttle was active on the pitching side as well. Alberto Cabrera has a live arm and was fairly successful in the majors outside a handful of bad appearances. Left-hander Jeff Beliveau could be a key matchup pitcher for the Cubs—and has shown the ability to get righties out too. Rafael Dolis has a great, hard sinker, and his success in Triple-A and lack of it in the majors largely had to do with control. Lefties Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley each made a handful of starts down the stretch in the majors and could be outside challengers for rotation spots next spring.

Final Record:

Overall: 53-87, fourth place, 28.0 GB

Storylines: The Iowa Cubs will be hiring their sixth manager in as many seasons, as 2012 skipper Dave Bialas was one of six minor league coaches who were told their contracts would not be renewed. Bialas had been in the organization for 18 years.

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Farm Report: LaHair leads Triple-A All-Stars

Bryan LaHair has torn up Triple-A pitching this season. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Starlin Castro isn’t the only player in the Cubs organization representing his team in an All-Star Game. (Though he’s the only one with two stolen bases in one, entering in the fifth inning as a pinch-runner.)

Between Chicago and the club’s top four minor league levels, 27 players were selected to All-Star teams. Vine Line’s August issue covers Cubs farmhand experiences, from personal and developmental perspectives, at the various midsummer events.

Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game [MLB Network, 8 p.m. CT] showcases three Iowa Cubs on the Pacific League team: Bryan LaHair, Welington Castillo and John Gaub.

Starting at first base, LaHair currently shares the league lead in homers (25) and has an impressive line of .349 AVG/.418 OBP/.681 SLG. The Cubs acquired him as a minor league free agent after the 2009 season.

Marlon Byrd talked on his blog, The Byrd’s Nest, about his first-hand experience with LaHair and Castillo during his rehab appearances.

“His [LaHair’s] numbers are phenomenal. At some point, hopefully he gets a chance to help the team, whether it’s here or somewhere,” Byrd said. “Welington Castillo is looking good back there and still learning.” (more…)

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