Our Stud's Better Than Your Stud
A betting man would have to like the Omaha Storm Chasers to successfully defend their title in the American North Division of the Pacific Coast League this year. The stretch drive of the season may be reminiscent of Secretariat’s in the Belmont Stakes. But just who are those also-rans way up the track behind the young Royals? Why, besides the I-Cubs it’s the young Cardinals and young Brewers! I like the affiliations of not only my hometown team but also their divisional opponents.
Who cares, one might ask, how our prospects stack up against the Royals’? St. Louis and Milwaukee are more immediate battlefronts than Kansas City. So, any clogs in those pipelines?
Whereas the Cubs’ system is lacking in high-end pitching prospects, both the Cardinals and Brewers feature starting pitchers as their crème de la crème and both Shelby Miller (STL) and Wily Peralta (MIL) have had sour seasons thus far.
As pleased and relieved as the Cardinals must be about the emergence of Lance Lynn, who this time a year ago was toiling in Memphis while Chris Carpenter was still going strong in St. Louis, they might be a little chagrined about Miller’s struggles so far in the PCL. In 2011, he was named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. Rick Ankiel was the last to accomplish that feat.
But he’s recently been given a no-shake edict, meaning he’s to throw whatever pitch he’s told, and the organization’s pitching coordinator was dispatched to work directly with Miller in hopes of improving on his stat line which includes warts like a 6.00 ERA, 82 hits in 66 IP and a .306 BAA.
In Nashville the touted Peralta has been similarly roughed up. He was originally signed by the Brewers as an outfielder in 2005 before being converted to pitcher. He had his Tommy John circumcision in 2007 so that’s out of the way. But he’s struggling at 2-8 with an ERA and other peripherals almost as stratospheric as Miller’s. Peralta’s built along the lines of Fartolo (typo intended) Colon at 6’2” and 240.
So while the prime prospects of two of their NL Central rivals are scuffling at Triple A the Cubs are rearranging the deck chairs in their lineup to make room for their own. They may be short on topflight arms but they appear to have at least one bat riding to the rescue. Looks like he may arrive any day now.