The New Guys/Headlines
Another solid Mitre outing, Wood and Prior pitching and throwing again - the rehab renaissance continues. It seems that, after all the call-ups and promotions from the minors, that the pitching is as strong as ever.
The rotation, albeit patchwork, is holding together well for the time being - Zambrano, Rusch, Maddux, Mitre, Koronka - and the bullpen is steady now that it's Hawkins-free.
So what about the guys we received in exchange for Lucky LaTroy?
While I'm not making any predictions as to whether any of them will see major-league time this season, I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on their progress in the minors. Both came over with significant upsides (as previously analyzed in a LB post), "pitching prospects" who came at a desperate time. Both are, it appears, progressing well so far, so without further ado...
The Hawaiian Franchise Barbeque impresario of the Bay Area, Williams has found a decent home at AAA-Iowa. In 2 starts so far, he's a king rib-like 1-0, giving up 4 ER in 12 IP (11 H, 3 BB, 7 K). Dusty is pleased with his progress, so we could expect JW to get some Wrigley time in the near future.
His two starts in AA-West Tenn (can anyone explain what a "Diamond Jaxx" is?) have yielded similar numbers: 11 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 8 BB, 7 K. His walk totals are a little troubling, but it's hard to read too much into it given his current playing level and mound appearances at AA. Touted as the future closer for the Giants, Aardsma was converted to a starter because of his erratic control on the mound, and it looks like that is still following him around despite being in the comfy confines of West Tennessee.
Some interesting analysis comes from the highly-respected and widely-read Lake County Record-Bee (CA) and their resident baseballist: he thinks the Cubs got cheated a little, but the Giants (1-11 in their last 12 - go Hawkins!) weren't smart given the recent trades of other high-profile and perhaps better relievers.
Check the article out here, and wonder why the Record-Bee isn't in your daily reading material.
Whatever the Bee says, Dusty sees it otherwise. According to a recent Sun-Times article (possibly on a par with the Record-Bee), Baker wants to bring Williams up soon regardless of Wood and Prior's progress. Does he know something we don't? Is he a mad genius like many of us suspect? Or does he just want coupons to the Aloha Rib-Shack buffet?
"Williams is on the way but not in tip-top pitching condition yet,'' said Baker, who was asked if the Cubs might bring up Williams in the next two to three weeks. "We hope so. He is working toward it.''
The Cubs love Utah - drafting 4 Utahians/Utahish/Utahiors/whatever this week. Our top pick, pitcher Mark Pawelek loves Led Zeppelin. Great! Check out the No. 1 Cubs here.
The Cubs also love selecting pitchers in the draft - 11 in 18 rounds, check some of them out here.
Cubs and Cats, Cats and Cubs - Barrett loves the felines
Dusty to cut down on Koronka's TV time - starring on it, that is
Cubs wives write Wrigley words for Wee'uns