Aces In The Hole The Cubs' farm system is well-stocked with pitchers who throw hard and rack up strikeouts

July 06, 2003

Following Oakland's blueprint for building a thrifty but perennial
contender, the Cubs have invested heavily in young arms, with
Kerry Wood (the fourth pick in the 1995 draft) and Mark Prior
(No. 2 in 2001) foremost among them. "When I got here, there
wasn't much [pitching] in the system," says second-year G.M. Jim
Hendry, who has served the team in player development and
scouting roles since '94. "But we've had good drafts and done
well in Latin America."

How successful has Chicago been in the draft? To acquire
righthanded starter Matt Clement and setup man Antonio Alfonseca
in a trade with the Florida Marlins in March 2002, Hendry had to
include a 2000 eighth-round draft pick, promising Class A
prospect Dontrelle Willis. "Florida has to get somebody back in
the deal," Hendry says of Willis, who as a rookie this year was
8-1 at week's end. "We have enough pitching so that if somebody
like that has to go in order to help us, we can still make that
trade."

Like the aces on the parent club, many of the Cubs' top minor
league prospects are strikeout specialists. Here are four on the
horizon:

ANGEL GUZMAN, Double A West Tenn. The 21-year-old Venezuelan has
a mid-90s fastball and through Sunday was 3-3 with a 2.81 ERA and
8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He was selected to play the
All-Star Futures game on July 13. Last year at Class A Lansing
and Daytona he struck out 123 in 156 innings.

JAE-KUK RYU, Double A West Tenn. The 20-year-old Korean went 6-1
with a 1.75 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 72 innings at low Class A
Lansing to earn his promotion to Double A.

BOBBY BROWNLIE, Class A Daytona. The 21st pick in the 2002 draft,
he throws a high-90s fastball and a nasty curve. He was 5-3 with
a 2.47 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 62 innings.

ANDY SISCO, Class A Lansing. The 6'9" 265-pounder was a
second-round choice in the 2001 draft. Last year he led the
short-season rookie league with 101 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings
for Boise and had 25 K's through Sunday. --D.H.

COLOR PHOTO: PAUL CONNORS/AP COMING SOON Guzman is in line to be the next young arm in theCubs' rotation.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)