As most of you know, the AA Smokies are managed by one of our icons, Ryne Sandberg. This is Ryno's first year managing the Smokies after moving up from a one year managing stint with the Peoria Chiefs. Tom Beyers is the current hitting coach while Doug Lewallyn is the current pitching coach. Hey, didn't Doug Lewallyn use to help the judge on People's Court? Anyway, the Smokies are in first place in the Southern League North division. However, they are one game under .500 with a 17-18 record while the Birmingham Barons are tearing up the South Division with a 26-11 record. We all remember one of the more famous Birmingham Barons - Michael Jordan. I didn't say that he was successful, just famous
The Smokies roster isn't filled with big names that we all know, but it may be soon that Josh Vitters is tearing it up in A ball. There is currently only one player on the roster that is on the Cubs 40 man roster, righty Marcos Mateo. Some other names you may have heard are Alex Maestri, Jeremy Paplebon (yep, Jonathan's younger brother) and Wellington Castillo.
Our leading hitter is second bagger Tony Thomas who is currently tearing it up with 8 hr's, .350 BA and a 1.064 OPS. The top 3 starters are Casey Coleman, Jay Jackson and Hung-Wen Chen. Just looking at stats alone, I'd consider Jay Jackson the ace but his numbers are comaparable to Coleman's. I don't think we'll see any of these guys in the majors this year, with the exception of Mateo just knowing that the Cubs need help in the bullpen, but i'm sure we'll see some moves come July to Iowa.
This was just a quick overview, so i'll keep my eye on obscure news and updates posting as often as I can.