Iowa Cubs (7-11) – It’s Rizzomania!
Acquired as the key piece in the Andrew Cashner trade, Anthony Rizzo has built on his successes in AAA Tuscon last year. Rizzo is now batting .380 with a .429 OBP. Those are no empty numbers as he is slugging 1.147, down only slightly from his 1.156 he possessed last week. With his seven homers, Rizzo has 19 RBI’s in 18 games. If only he could keep up that pace for an entire major league season, he’d have around 180 RBIs! Welington Castillo, the Cubs top catching prospect has performed well too, batting .318 with an .971 OPS. If Castillo continues at that pace, Geovany Soto may be the next one out the door after the Marlon Byrd trade. Tony Campana finished his AAA stint with a .304 batting average before being called up. Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson have regressed mightily from their first week successes, now batting .259 and .253 respectively. However, Jackson has still produced a respectable .804 OPS. Additionally, waiver claim Adrian Cardenas, Matt Tolbert, and Luis Valbuena have built upon their early successes, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th highest batting averages on the team respectively. Chris Rusin has started well from the mound, pitching to a 3.38 ERA.
Tennessee Smokies (9-9) – Pitching At Its Best
Rising prospect Jae-Hoon Ha has not gotten off to the start he desired, batting just .258 with a low .644 OPS. Picking up the offensive slack for Ha have been Rebel Ridling and Logan Watkins, the only two Smokies with more than five games played that have averages in the vicinity of .300. Fortunately for the Smokies, their pitching has been another story. Team ace Nicholas Struck has logged 22 innings in his 4 starts, striking out 21 as opposed to just 10 walks. Struck has pitched to a spectacular 2.45 ERA. In fact, almost everyone who starts for Tennessee sees success; Brooks Raley has a 2.79 ERA, Dae-Eun Rhee has a rotation-worst 4.76 ERA, Dallas Beeler has a 1.08 ERA, Ryan Searle has a 3.00 ERA between the rotation and the bullpen, and Trey McNutt has a 0.77 ERA in his three starts.
Daytona Cubs (5-11) – It’s Always Hard to Overcome a Slow Start
This week was much better for Daytona that weeks prior, going 3-3 over the stretch. Rubi Silva, John Andreoli, and Greg Rohan have led the offense while Matt Szczur continues to struggle, batting just .200. Austin Kirk, Eduardo Figueroa, and Ty’relle Harris all sport ERA’s under 2 with over 10 innings of work. 2010 First Round Draft Pick Hayden Simpson has continued to struggle, with a dismal 7.11 ERA.
Peoria Chiefs (7-10) – Zapatatown
Oliver Zapata and his phenomenal 1.224 OPS after 8 games have led the Peoria offense. Ryan Cuneo is batting .333 with a slightly-less-than-Zapata-but-still-very-good 1.050 OPS. Michael Jensen has a 1.50 ERA in 4 starts. Patrick Francescon had a solid outing allowing just 1 hit over 7 innings to give himself a 2.57 ERA on the season. Formerly a Cubs top 10 prospect while an outfielder, Kyler Burke converted to a relief pitcher and sports an impressive 1.59 ERA. Austin Reed and Yao-Lin Wang have been dominant out of the bullpen.