Baseball Toaster Cub Town
AFL Update
2005-10-19 07:09
by Derek Smart

We're sort of in limbo here at Cub Town, what with the postseason still going on and nothing of great import moving forward in the club's offseason preparations. Still, there is some Cub-related baseball going on, and it's happening in the Grand Canyon State, where the Arizona Fall League is currently in full swing.

With little else happening in our Cub-centric universe, it seemed like a fine day to take a quick tour through the stats of the baby bears who made the trip down south.


Matt Murton25127032.480/.536/.760
Buck Coats941011.444/.500/.556
Brandon Sing2284146.364/.444/.682
Eric Patterson2762026.222/.267/.296


David Aardsma8.2171216712.46
Angel Guzman7.21260297.04
John Koronka6.0300190.00

Eschew the tyranny of grains and back up the whole salt truck for these numbers folks, because not only are we dealing with minuscule sample sizes, but these gents are playing in a hitting environment that makes batters hailing from Planet Coors wonder who shut the gravity off.

Still, there's some fun and interesting stuff here. Matt Murton, for starters, has continued to impress, and while he's not hitting the ball out of the park, it looks like he's still driving the it with authority if his seven doubles are any indication.

In fact, all the Cub hitters look to be having decent campaigns except for Corey's little brother Eric, who seems to be in a wee bit over his head. Although I suppose that's not a huge surprise from a guy who's only had 30 ABs above A-ball, so I wouldn't let this be a source of concern. He still looks like a better bet to be useful in five years than his sibling.

What shocks me is the work turned in by John Koronka. The other two Cub hurlers who both have demonstrably superior stuff are getting handled - Aardsma in particular is bad enough to give me concern that there's something going on there beyond just thin air and hot hitting prospects - yet Koronka has been easily their better in every way.

He's being used out of the pen, so this is one of those situations where it would be extremely helpful to actually see what he's doing (okay, so it's helpful in every situation, it's just especially so here) to get a read on if he's got better velocity because he's not pacing himself, or if he's developed a new pitch, or if he's just having himself a good, fluky month.

All told, it looks like a pretty successful run so far for the mini-Cubs. Some better work from Guzman and Aardsma in the latter portion of the season would be encouraging, but for now, I'll take what this group is giving as positive reinforcement.

2005-10-19 08:03:23
1.   Todd S
Good stuff, Derek. If you get a chance, give us an update once the league is finished. Thanks.
2005-10-19 09:26:50
2.   Doug
In case you're curious about Aardsma's game log, here it is:

1.1 3 3 3 1 2 0 20.25
2.0 3 3 3 2 1 0 16.20
1.1 0 0 0 1 2 0 11.57
1.0 7 6 6 0 1 1 19.06
3.0 4 0 0 2 1 0 12.46

I see a single good outing, a decent outing with a bit of luck in stranding runners, two not so good outings, and one total stinker. I guess we can only hope he's learning to make some adjustments.

2005-10-19 11:03:45
3.   rynox
Preaching to the chior, I know, but Arizona is very similar to Colorado in altitude. Breaking balls don't break and balls tend to carry.

Anyone know what kind of stuff Aardsma has? Apparently not a sinkerball pitcher sigh, but I've been told he might have an MLB when the Cubbies got him in the Hawkins trade.

Also, what's with Kelton? Did you hear he's a free agent now?


2005-10-19 11:31:13
4.   bads85
The pitching in an instructional league is not "normal" pitching. Most pitchers are sent there to work on particular pitches and to learn how to mix things up instead of depending on their best pitch. Often, they are not even allowed th throw their best pitch for an entire inning. The coaches and scouts don't care if the guy gets lit up; the pitchers are there for individual growth.
2005-10-21 07:53:22
5.   Scotty Mac
Phoenix is at around 1500 feet in elevation (not exactly similar to Colorado in altitude). Peoria, Surprise, and Mesa are all suburbs in the same vicinity. Grand Canyon is the only fall league team at high elevation. So to say that Arizona's elevation is the cause for the pitcher's high numbers is a stretch.

I live in Phoenix, and as I've played golf in Colorado a few times I can tell you that Colorado's elevation is not similar to Phoenix's.

2005-10-26 03:44:37
6.   John Hill
The issue in Arizona is not so much the altitude, although that does contribute somewhat, it's the dryness and thinness of the air. That, combined with the fact that a lot of teams don't send their best pitchers for fear of overwork and injuries, the hitting environment is extremely friendly: the league-wide batting average is .302, pitchers have combined for a 5.72 ERA.

Angel Guzman's numbers now since coming back from his injury (12 IP at Rookie Ball, 6.1 at Low-A, 15.2 in the AFL)...

34 IP, 2 HR, 8 BB, 40 K

And half of those walks came in one uncharacteristicly wild three inning outing in the AFL last week, from which he bounced back resoundingly in his last start.

Basically, Guzman is completely dominating hitters, which is what you'd hope for given that he ought to be way beyond this level of competition.

38 H, 4.24 ERA

Not a particularly huge concern.

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