What's Up Down Under?

Halfway through the MLB Australian Baseball Academy Program (MLBAAP) season at Palm Meadows (Gold Coast), here's how the five Cubs players playing "down under" are doing:

19-year old RHP Ryan Searle leads the MLBAAP in wins, strikeouts, and IP, and 17-year old OF Sean Williams (bats & throws left) leads the league in hitting, and is tied for the league lead in doubles, tied for 3rd in hits, tied for 4th in runs scored, and tied for 5th in SB. 

Former star cricket player (bowler) LHP Cody Hams (who was at Cubs Minor League Camp and EXST at Fitch Park for two months) has struggled with his control, although he does have 19 K in 14.2 IP. (The 6'5" Hams' pitching style closely resembles Rich Hill's, so I guess it's probably no longer a compliment to tell Cody that he is Rich Hill Redux).


RHP Ryan Searle: 3-2, 2.35 ERA, 30.2 IP, 24 H, 15 R (8 ER), 7 BB, 38 K, 0 HR, .197 OBA, 1.01 WHIP, in 6 games (6 GS) 

RHP Adam Spencer: 2-0, 4.37 ERA, 22.2 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 11 BB, 23 K, 1 HR, .224 OBA, 1.33 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)

LHP Cody Hams: 0-0, 4.91 ERA, 14.2 IP, 13 H, 13 R (8 ER), 15 BB, 19 K, 0 HR, .236 OBA, 1.91 WHIP, in 5 games (5 GS)

CF Sean Williams: 354/411/477, 6 2B, 6/13 BB/K in 73 PA, 7 SB (2 CS)

SS Hak-ju Lee: 286/444/500 (was at the MLBAAP on the "Two-Week Phase" program, played in only five league games before returning to South Korea).  

The MLBAAP season ends on July 26th.

Based on the way he has pitched so far, it's possible that Ryan Searle (who has a full-year visa) could return to Fitch Park for the last month of the AZL season, and/or for the AZ Instructional League in September/October. While Cody Hams resembles a young Rich Hill, Searle would be most camparable to Sean Gallagher.

The other four are supposed to report to Cubs Minor League Camp at Fitch Park next March, although Lee (who received a bonus somewhere in the neighborhood of $1M) might get an invite to Instructs if it doesn't conflict with his school schedule. 


15(!!!) UNearned runs between the 3 starters? Phil, what's the deal, are the infields made of concrete and gravel down there or is the defense just that bad?

Spencer was looking really good until his most recent start (his ERA went from around 2.80 to 4.37 thanks to that one start).

Submitted by WISCGRAD on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 12:20pm.

15(!!!) UNearned runs between the 3 starters? Phil, what's the deal, are the infields made of concrete and gravel down there or is the defense just that bad? -


WISCGRAD: I was told the defensive play down under tends to be a bit spotty. 

Bad hops off the tazmanian devils?

Reed Johnson activated, Epat down...

And seriously... is it necessary to be scouting Australia?

Top Hitting Prospects

1. Josh Vitters (3B) - Age 18 2007 3rd Overall 356/381/525 in 59 ABs in Short Season A

2. Wellington Castillo (C) - Age 21 2004 NDFA 293/338/431 overall and 333/412/617 with 4 HRs in 18 games at Double A.

3. Ryan Flaherty (SS,3B) - Age 21 2008 Supp 1st round 350/409/575 in Short Season A through 11 games

4. Tony Thomas (2B) - Age 21 2007 3rd Round 266/315/414 with 6 HR and 12 SB at High A. 296/393/533 with 5 HR and 28 SB last year

5. Tyler Colvin (OF) - Age 22 2006 13th Overall 236/307/373 in 82 games at double A .488 SLG in 125 games with 16 HR in '07

6. Josh Harrison (2B) - Age 20 2008 6th round 250/354 with 5 SB in 12 games at Short Season A ball

7. Steve Clevenger (C) - Age 22 2006 7th Round 308/396 at High A 340/378/441 in 2007

8. Marquez Smith (2B,3B) - Age 23 2007 8th Round 298/369/505 with 13 HR in 79 games at low A

9. Luis Bautista (C,1B,DH) - Age 23 2007 32nd round 331/388/564 through 37 games at low A

10.Rebel Ridling (1B/DH) - Age 22 2008 25th Round 358/400/623 in 14 games at Short Season A

11.Ryan Harvey (OF) - Age 23 2003 1st Round 239/308/423 overall 265/342/490 and 6HR at High A

12.Nate Spears (2b) - Age 23 2003 5th Round 313/407 in 66 games at Double A. Acquired in C. Patterson trade, 6th year minors

13.Jovan Rosa (1b,3b) - Age 20 2006 22nd Round 286/353/401 in 73 games at low A.

14.Jonathan Wyatt (OF) - Age 23 2007 13th Round 255/353 with 10 SB overall 316/373 with 7 SB at low A

15.Ryan Keedy (1B/DH) - Age 22 2008 16th Round 333/400 in 15 games at Short Season A

16.Josh Donaldson (c) - Age 22 2007 Supp 1st Round 221/284/366 at low A through 57 games. 335/460/590 last year in 53 games.

17.Joseph Adduci (OF) - Age 23 2003 42nd Round 304/388 with 14 SB in 73 games at high A. Playing in his 5th minor league season.

18.John Contreras (3B) - Age 22 NDFA

19.Blake Lalli (1B/C) - Age 25 2006 NDFA 313/359/519 overall. 7 HR in 58 games at High A.


1. Jose Ceda - Age 21 2004 NDFA 4.20 ERA in 21 games 0.90 ERA/.189 OppBA at Double A through 6 games. Acquired in Todd Walked trade.

2. Jose Ascanio (RP) - Age 23 2005 NDFA 11 saves and a 3.86 ERA in 24 relief appearances

3. Andrew Cashner - Age 21 2008 1st Round Huge potential to be a significant factor soon. He is likely a potential closer.

4. Jeff Samardzija - Age 23 2006 5th Round 3.00 ERA/1.58 WHIP through 12 IP at Triple A. He has to improve his control.

5. James Russell - Age 22 2007 14th round 3.78 ERA/1.31 WHIP overall, 4.45 ERA in 12 games/11 starts at Double A, 40K/17BB

6. Donald Veal - Age 23 2005 2nd Round 3.22 ERA/1.47 WHIP/.258 OppBA in 94 IP 33K/18BB in May

7. Jesse Estrada - Age 24 2004 31st Round 4.69 ERA/1.29 WHIP overall in 48 innings of relief through 23 games. .232 OPPBA/26k/4BB at Triple A

8. Casey Lambert - Age 22 2007 6th Round 3.02 ERA/1.28 WHIP in 35 relief appearances. Lefty with late inning potential.

9. Greg Rheinhard - Age 24 2005 6th Round 3.81 ERA/1.40 WHIP/.223 OppBA in 28 games, 49 IP. Acquired in Jae Kuk Ryu trade

10. Justin Berg - Age 24 2003 43rd Round 5.42 ERA in 16 starts overall. Acquired from the Yankees in the Matt Lawton trade. Compared to Brandon Webb. 5th year of minor leagues.

11. Dae-Eun Rhee - Age 19 2007 NDFA. 1.80 through 40 IP in 10 starts in his first pro season at Low A

12. Blake Parker - Age 23 2006 16th Round 1.33 ERA in 23 relief appearances at Low A, Opp BA .193 Promoted to Triple A

13. Mitch Atkins - Age 22 2004 7th Round 4.03ERA/1.25WHIP in 17 starts at Double A. 85K/26BB in 103 innings

14. Jordan Latham - Age 21 2006 29th Round 1.88 ERA/1.01 WHIP/53K in 53 innings through 26 relief appearances at Low A

15. Bill Muldowney - Age 23 2006 8th Round 2.74 ERA/.173 OppBA in 11 starts at low A/High A (4)

16. Alex Maestri - Age 23 2007 NDFA First italian born played. 3.69 ERA in 14 starts at high A

16. Marco Carillo - Age 21 2005 NDFA 3.29 ERA/1.15 WHIP in 17 games/11 starts at High A

17. Harol Tolentino - Age 19 2005 NDFA 2.25 ERA/0.88 WHIP in 3 relief appearances at Short Season A

18. Jay Jackson - Age 20 2008 9th Round 14K/1B in 9 innings at Short Season A

19. Jeffry Antigua - Age 18 2007 NDFA 0.00 ERA/0.86 WHIP 5K/1BB in 7 innings at rookie ball

20. Jose Pina - Age 22 2003 NDFA 1.42 ERA/1.11 WHIP/.174 OppBA through 4 games at Short Season A. In 2007 at Low A 23 Games, 19 starts 4.29 ERA/.261 OppBA

21. James Leverton - Age 22 2008 8th Round 3.00 ERA/1.17 WHIP in 2 starts at Short Season A

22. Mike Perconte - Age 22 2008 NDFA 3.09 ERA/1.29 WHIP/.255 OppBA in 8 innings 3 games, 1 start at Short Season A

23. Marcus Hatley - Age 20 2007 NDFA 0.79 ERA/.220 OppBA 11K/5BB in 11.1 Innings 3 games, 2 starts at Short Season A

24. Robert Hernandez - Age 19 2005 NDFA Suspended for PEDs, has looked strong at EXST so it is difficult to assess.

25. Mark Pawelek - Age 21 2005 1st Round - Lots of injuries but still very young. This is a huge year for him and he could move up on the rankings.

Unranked Hitters in the System with MLB experience/no longer prospect/Unranked

1.Micah Hoffpauir (1B,RF/LF) - Age 28 2002 13th Round .624 slugging at Triple A

2.Felix Pie (CF) - Age 23 2001 NDFA .353 BA in last 10 games

3.Jason Dubois (LF/RF) - Age 29 2000 14th Round 300/413/711 at Triple A

4.Andres Torres (OF) - Age 30 304/408/509 at Triple A

5.Sam Fuld - Age 26 2004 10th Round .325 BA/7 walks in last 10 games at Double A
6.Jake Fox (c,1B,OF) - Age 25 271/366/464 at Double A
7.Bobby Scales (2B) - Age 31 291/374/473 at Triple A
8.Josh Kroeger (RF/LF) - Age 25 2000 4th Round 274/348/474 at Triple A

Unranked Pitchers in the System with MLB experience/no longer prospect

1.Kevin Hart (SP/RP) - Age 25 2004 11th Round 3.86 ERA (14 ER/32.2 IP) in 24 relief appearances

2.Randy Wells - Age 25 2002 38th Round 3.61 ERA in 15 games, 9 starts at Triple A. Recently selected in Rule 5 draft.

3.Rich Hill (SP) - Age 28 2002 4th Round
4.Mike Burns (RP) - Age 29 2000 30th Round by Houston
5.Carmen Pignatiello - Age 24 2000 20th Round
6.J.R. Mathes (SP) - Age 26 2004 16th Round
7.Hector Carrasco (SP/RP)

Wait and see
Aaron Shafer
Christopher Carpenter
Justin Bristow

Why the multiple comments saying the same thing, but on different posts?

AZ Phil, how advanced do you think Searle is? Could he skip the AZL next season and go straight to Boise or Peoria?

Phil...thanks for the reports. It sounds like our Asia/Australia recruiting is going well. Will be fun to see how Hams develops as he learns the game of baseball.

My question is about our Latin American program. the July 2nd signing date has passed and I have not seen any report on players signed by the Cubs. Baseball America had information on top signings by some teams, but not all. It doesn't seem like the Cubs focus on getting top players as much as other teams -- Larry Suarez was a pretty big signing, but I don't think there have been many during this decade. Our big name signings also seem almost exclusively pitchers (we sign lots of hitters, but none of those seem to be prized prospects).

Do you have any information on players we have signed? I am sure I am mischaracterizing our Latin American signings as well, so please feel free to correct anything I said.

Recent comments

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  • I know, man. What a season. 3rd best record in all of baseball, good enough to have won any division other than the one there in.

    With a win tomorrow, the Cubs will match their 2008 record. Bad omen, I know. If they do win, the most recent year in which the Cubs will have won more games would be 1945 (98-56), the last time they went to the World Series.

    I'll take that omen instead...

  • "oh yeah, and get the fuck off my lawn. :D"

    Ok, now that was funny. :)

  • KB 0-5 with 8 LOB. Really? He is torturing me with 99 RBI. He is also a very different hitter at home vs. road. I suspect most young hitters are.

  • Greinke still in for the 8th. 3 up, 3 down. After 8. 108 pitches, ERA still at 1.66 according to mlb boxscore and he's in line for a 19th win.

  • Greinke 95 pitches through 7. Gives up one run (solo HR to Hedges). ERA at 1.66. Doubt that they will let him give up 5 runs in the 8th.

    Dodgers ahead 2-1.

  • 96 wins with one game to go. Who woulda thunk it.

    Cubs 96 wins have clinched a better record than any AL team and the NL West/East division winners too.

  • cubs win, pirates lose...

  • the curse is now yours.

  • cog a HR away from the cycle after a single in the 6th.

  • Hendricks: 15 up, 15 down.

  • he strongly separates his post-playing career from his playing career, though he loves to visit the barrier of player and fan. many ex-players don't put up this barrier.

    he's not interested in going back to the clubhouse or pretty much anything field/game related, but he'll grab a ticket and observe with the fans and visit ex players on "neutral" ground. he's written 3 pieces for the new yorker and other pieces elsewhere. i remember one photo/bio piece he did, but don't remember where i read it (years ago).

  • ?
    I find your comments rather obtuse. He recognized he didn't want to pursue baseball anymore and went back to school to learn how to become a better writer - opening up a new chapter in his life.

    I don't know where you find a "sad disconnection" because he is writing about his experiences? He pursued a ball career for a long time so no doubt there is some meloncholy in his tone, but I just don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

  • he has an almost sad disconnection from the game based on his writings. even though he's "been there" (no matter how much of a minor role) he doesn't seem to feel like he belongs or deserves to belong in the boy's club.

    he seems to go to great lengths to enjoy the game from an arm's length while occasionally getting close enough for a high-5 from those who affirm him that he belongs.

  • I read that guy's article about why he quit baseball and it was really well done too. In terms of Rizzo, I have seen multiple references to how this is Rizzo's team just as much as Madden's and it makes that pick up that much better that we have someone that is not only a great player but a leader and all around great guy (been reading about all the charity work he does too). There is really nothing not to like about Rizzo.

  • Nice article on Rizzo

    Written by ex teammate


  • JD concurred with Ariettas second at bat