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By Brian Bedo - Follow @miCubs and @BrianBedo on Twitter
The unofficial first half and change is in the books at both the Major and Minor League levels. Let's go around the diamond and around the system to select our Cubs All-Minor League squad for the pseudo first half. (I left out Boise and Mesa because they haven't played near the amount of games as the rest of the teams in the system).
Catcher: Welington Castillo - Iowa
It's been fairly slim pickings at the catcher position this season, but Castillo gets the nod. Outside of some brief stints with the big league club, Castillo has a .280/.416/.466/.882 line with six homers in 39 games between Iowa and Tennessee this season (34 with Iowa).
Runner up: Michael Brenly - Tennessee
1st base: Anthony Rizzo - Iowa
No explanation needed.
Runner up: Greg Rohan - Daytona/Tennessee
2nd Base: Logan Watkins - Tennessee
Watkins, the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month in June (.352/.452/.489/.941) has picked up where he left off last month. In 88 total games with Tennessee this season, the left-handed hitting infielder has nine doubles, eight triples, four homers and 17 stolen bases.
Runner up: Adrian Cardenas - Iowa
3rd Base: Josh Vitters - Iowa
Vitters has quietly put together his best first half in three years, if not ever. Still only 22, the former first round pick has heated up with the weather. After a slow April and mediocre May, Vitters has burst onto the scene with monster months in June and July. Throughout the whole season, he sports a .301/.354/.506/.860 mark with 28 doubles, 13 homers and 51 RBI in 91 games.
Runner up: Dustin Geiger - Peoria
Shortstop: Javier Baez - Peoria
Baez's huge 2012 have Cubs fans extremely excited about his progression through the system. The reigning Midwest Player of the Week, the 19 year-old Baez has a .331/.394/.581/.975 line in 41 games with five doubles, four triples, eight homers, 21 RBI and 16 stolen bases.
Runner up: Arismendy Alcantara - Daytona
Outfield #1: Matt Szczur - Daytona
Following a sluggish and injury-filled start to the year, Szczur has figured out how to hit (and walk) in the Florida State League. In 69 games, the former football star has a .274/.375/.392/.767 line with 19 doubles, three triples and two homers. Moreover, Szczur has scored 69 runs and has a whopping 32 stolen bases.
Outfield #2: Brett Jackson - Iowa
Jackson hasn't put up the eye-popping numbers most Cubs fans were hoping for at the start of the season, but his numbers have still been above average. While the 130 strikeouts far exceed an acceptable total, Jackson's slugging percentage (.482) and walk-rate (OBP is 83 points better than batting average) have been good. In 87 games, he has 18 doubles, 11 triples and 12 homers and has been very efficient on the bases (21 steals in 25 attempts).
Outfield #3: John Andreoli - Daytona
A relative unknown, the 22 year-old Andreoli had a very good first half. Szczur's outfield mate has recorded a .284/.393/.363/.756 clip to date. The power has been nearly non-existent but he has managed to walk quite a bit setting up his running game. Andreoli has 33 steals this season.
Runners up: Rubi Silva - Daytona, Ty Wright - Iowa/Tennessee, Michael Burgess - Tennessee
Starting Pitcher #1: Austin Kirk - Daytona
The left-handed Kirk is 4-2 with a terrific 2.59 ERA in 18 starts in the Florida State League. The Cubs third round pick in '09 has given up 99 hits in 107.2 innings pitched with 34 walks and 64 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher #2: Matt Loosen - Daytona
Loosen's ERA stands at a very strong 2.94 in 16 starts. He sports a 0.99 WHIP and has 77 strikeouts in 79 innings for the D-Cubs.
Starting Pitcher #3: Eric Jokisch - Daytona/Tennessee
In 18 starts this season, the southpaw is 8-5 and has a 3.12 ERA. In 109.2 innings pitched, the 22 year-old has allowed only 91 hits with 36 walks and 76 strikeouts.
Starting Pitcher #4: P.J. Francescon - Peoria/Daytona
Francescon dominated the Midwest League with Peoria (5-1, 1.86 ERA) in nine starts before moving up to Daytona where he's been steady. In 10 starts for the D-Cubs, the 23 year-old right-hander has a 1-3 record with a 3.44 ERA
Starting Pitcher #5: Brooks Raley - Tennessee/Iowa
The third lefty to make the cut, Raley has enjoyed his best season as a pro. He hasn't tapered off one bit since his promotion from Tennessee to Iowa. Overall on the season in 18 starts, Raley is 6-7 with a 3.54 ERA. In 106.2 innings, the 24 year-old has surrendered 105 hits while walking 30 and fanning 73.
Runners up: Nick Struck - Tennessee, Michael Jensen - Peoria, Dallas Beeler - Tennessee, Kyler Burke - Peoria/Daytona, Jose Rosario - Peoria
Setup man: Alberto Cabrera - Tennessee/Iowa
Cabrera is enjoying a breakout campaign in his first season as a reliever. In 30 appearances between the Smokies and I-Cubs, Cabrera is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA. In 47.1 innings, he has allowed 45 hits and has fanned an impressive 61 hitters.
Runner up: Ty'Relle Harris - Daytona/Tennessee
Closer: Frank Batista - Tennessee/Iowa
Batista has bounced around between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Spending the majority of the season with the Smokies, the 23 year-old right hander has a 2.15 ERA in 31 games. He has allowed only 28 hits in 37.2 innings and has struck out 30.
Runner up: Yao-Lin Wang - Peoria