No Lead Safe When Playing AZL Cubs
Cubs 2008 20th round draft pick and current AZL batting leader LF Jericho Jones (who is now hitting .437) rapped out four hits (three singles and a double), 1B Bryan Jost reached base five times (two singles, a triple, and two walks), and RHP Ryan Searle returned from Australia to throw three innings of no run/no hit relief (0/5 BB/K), as the AZL Cubs rallied from an early 8-0 deficit to edge the AZL Brewers 9-8 at Fitch Park Field #3 Saturday morning.
The 19-year old Searle spent the past two months at the MLB Australian Academy, where he led all MLBAAP startng pitchers in wins, ERA, WHIP, and K. He attended Cubs Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training in both 2007 and 2008, but yesterday was his first "official" minor league appearance. It was the most dominating outing by any AZL Cubs pitcher at Fitch Park so far this year, with the possible exception of 1st round pick Andrew Cashner's one-inning pro debut on Thursday.
The MLBAAP concluded it's season last week amidst heavy rains that forced cancellation of the last couple of games. In addition to Searle's superior performance, 18-year old left-handed hitting OF Sean Williams hit 330/412/455, good for 3rd in the league in BA, 5th in OBP, and 7th in SLG. He also finished 3rd in doubles and 4th in hits, as well as tying for 2nd in the league in RBI and 4th in runs scored.
At least four Australians (Searle and Williams, plus two 17 year old pitchers--LHP Cody Hams and RHP Adam Spencer) will be attending Cubs Minor League Camp next March.
A former Australian cricket star (bowler), Hams attended Minor League Camp and EXST at Fitch Park this season before returning to Australia with Searle on May 21st for the MLBAAP season.
Korean SS Hak-Ju Lee also attended the MLBAAP this year, but he participated only in the "Two Week Phase" before returning to South Korea.
Like the four Australians, Lee will be at Cubs Minor League Camp next season, and he might possibly also attend the AZ Instructional League at Fitch Park in September-October 2008 (still TBD), as RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (currently rehabbing from recent Tommy John Surgery) did last year.