Quade on Younger Triple-A Roster

No use beating around the bush. Last year, the Triple-A Iowa Cubs consisted of many aging veterans past their time and a pitching staff that ranked near the bottom in an already hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. But to start 2006, the team will feature more youth and a wider array of genuine prospects who spent last season at Double-A. Iowa manager Mike Quade is looking forward to it all. (Windows Media Player recommended for listening)

In 2005, the Iowa Cubs consisted of a little bit of everything.

From 30-something's like Trenidad Hubbard, Scott McClain and Calvin Murray; to revolving doors Joe Dawley, Darren Oliver and Travis Phelps; to loners like Ben Grieve (who spent more time talking on a cell phone at the park than he did in a batting cage) and Cliff Bartosh.

In their own funny way, last year's Cubs Triple-A team was almost like a minor league equivalent to the classic baseball movie Major League.

The problem is, the standings -- which most minor league coaches will tell you does not mean all that much at the end of the day -- proved that talent wins out over made-for-Hollywood cinema.

Not that the team didn't have its bright spots, of course. Right-hander Jermaine Van Buren set the club record for most saves in a single year, while Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno used solid Triple-A stints to boost their chances for a starting major league job.

The team's pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, was hired as the Florida Marlins' pitching coach alongside manager Joe Girardi, while hitting coach Pat Listach earned his way into a managerial position at the Double-A squad this year.

All the same, the I-Cubs feature more youth at the start of the 2006 season than they did in '05, with no less than eight players who spent the majority of last year at Double-A moving up a level. The only players on the Triple-A roster currently over the age of 30 are left-hander Mark Watson and forever fan favorite Augie Ojeda.

Inside The Ivy sat down with Iowa manager Mike Quade on the eve of his team's season opener against the Albuquerque Isotopes, set for Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. CDT at newly renovated Principal Park in Des Moines.

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E-mail Steve Holley: staff@insidetheivy.com.


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