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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 04/01

On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers had their final games of the spring. It was yet another camp day – with a twist.

With the Springfield club preparing for their Monday exhibition against St. Louis at Hammons Field in Springfield, the matchups were different. Memphis faced Palm Beach while Quad Cities matched up against the extended spring training players on the George Kissell Quad behind Roger Dean.

Memphis and Palm Beach tied, while the EST players exacted some revenge on the Quad Cities players who beat them out. The Cardinals’ spring record against external minor league competition remained at 21-16-4.

Sunday’s Pitcher of the Day: Quad Cities right-hander Sam Gaviglio is back here again. This time out, the 21-year-old right-hander from Oregon State allowed just two EST baserunners over four scoreless innings. The Cards’ fifth-rounder from last June’s draft struck out five.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Maybe outfielder Virgil Hill was disappointed about apparently not getting another shot at Quad Cities – yet. One thing is for sure – the extended spring training player put some hurt on the baseball Sunday with seven total bases on a triple and a home run. The 22-year-old also had three RBI.

Special thanks to Cardinals farm director John Vuch, who shared game stats all month long. As always, the raw numbers are his, but the comments mine.

The Cardinal Nation subscribers can check out the full minor league schedule and spring training working rosters. The entire system view by level and position is available via the Roster Matrix, right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Memphis 1, Palm Beach 1

Memphis pitching IP H ER BB K Notes
Brian Broderick 5 7 1 0 4 Opened last season in Nationals’ pen
Chuckie Fick 2 0 3 40-man roster addition over the winter
Barrett Browning 1 0 1 47 K but 35 BB in 66.1 IP for Salt Lake in 11

Memphis hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Bryan Anderson 3 2 Good to see his bat isn’t disappointed
Jermaine Curtis 2 1 1 1 May make team in place of Aaron Luna
Anthony Bryant 2 1 1
Chris Swauger 2 1 Moving up from Springfield last 1.5 seasons
Pete Kozma 1 Starting at second base for Memphis in 2011

Palm Beach pitching IP H ER BB K Notes
Richard Castillo 3 3 0 1 1 Strong Pitcher of the Day contender
Dean Kiekhefer 2 3 0 1 One unearned run allowed
Justin Wright 2 0 1 3 31 of 37 career appearances were scoreless
R.J. Swindle 1 1 0 1 Veteran free agent will open with Memphis
Palm Beach hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Lance Berkman 3 1 3 1 What did you expect from a ringer?
Alan Ahmady 2 1 Can play all over
Geoff Klein 2 1 1 1 Catcher has been in these reports often lately
Ronny Gil 1 1
Travis Tartamella 1 1
Nick Longmire 3 1 Looking for rebound after quiet 2011

Extended spring training 4, Quad Cities 3

Quad Cities pitching IP H ER BB K Notes
Sam Gaviglio 4 1 0 1 5 Highest-drafted Cards pitcher last June
Brandon Creath 1 1 1 1 11.84 K/9 IP was #2 in Appy League in 11
Willy Paulino 1 3 3 3 Seems like many runs allowed this camp
Travis Miller 1 1 0 2 28 appearances in 11 tied for 1st in NYPL
Quad Cities hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Matt Williams 3 1 1 SS continues to impress
David Medina 3 1 1 Regular in these reports to play OF mostly
Adam Lewis 2 1 1 1 1 Tryout C apparently has earned a contract
Roberto De La Cruz 3 1
Colin Walsh 2 Career .371 OBP in two pro seasons
Nick Martini 2 Drew 28 BB vs. 34 K in rookie GCL campaign
Extended spring pitching IP H ER BB K Notes
Dail Villanueva 4 2 1 2 1 3.64 ERA in US debut – 2011 GCL
Shooter Hunt 1 1 1 1 Spent last 2 years at High-A
Dyllon Nuernberg 1 1 1 2 5.36 career ERA in two seasons
Kevin Jacob 1 0 2 31st-rounder in 2011 from Georgia Tech
Extended spring hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Virgil Hill 3 2 3 1 1 Clearly our Player of the Day
Gerwuins Velazco 2 1 1 20 y/o Venezuelan hit .245 in 2011 GCL
Kolby Byrd 1 1 1 C making his only AB of the day count
Adam Ehrlich 2 1 C was Cards’ 6th-rounder in 2011
Gary Apelian 3 1 OPS’ed .845 for Johnson City last season


Subscribers to the main site, TheCardinalNation.com, should continue to check out my extensive spring training content over the upcoming days. Today’s addition is an in-depth interview with outfield prospect Tommy Pham.

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21 Responses to “Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 04/01”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Anthony Bryant and Sam Tuivailala have played for Memphis in spring training, even though they are destined for Johnson City. Why? They are stud athletes, so the Cards are showing them upper level minor league ball to help inspire and motivate them that they can rise high in due time and succeed.

  2. crdswmn says:

    I toddled on over to VEB the other day and there was a virulent argument going on over Tony Cruz making the team instead of Bryan Anderson. Several people were just furious because Anderson was clearly a better player than Cruz. The better player analysis was made strictly on the base of offense however. Many thought the defensive capabilities between the two was a wash. Now I like Anderson just fine, but I have always been under the impression that his defense, though improved somewhat, was just not his strong suit. Cruz, on the other hand, though not anywhere near Yadi’s caliber, had the better defense of the two.

    I go to VEB sometimes because they have interesting sabermetric discussions and I can learn something. But sometimes when they get into one of their fights, I just have to move on because they make no sense whatsoever.

    • Brian Walton says:

      No one will say this, but I sense the staff generally likes throwing to Cruz better. With Cruz having more experience, I thought coming in that he would have to play his way out of the job this spring. He didn’t.

      Putting all opinions aside, including mine, I can’t see how anyone can question Matheny’s choice. If he doesn’t know what it takes to be a major league catcher, what does he know? ;-)

      • crdswmn says:

        It’s funny you should say that, because there was one guy who wsas saying he didn’t trust Matheny’s judgment about Anderson because Matheny was a bad hitter. :)

        Some of those people are so arrogant that they won’t trust anybody’s judgment but their own.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I don’t think arrogance is restricted to any particular place on the internet. Seems I recall some comments about that around here the other day…

          • crdswmn says:

            No it’s not. But VEB has more than it’s fair share.

            We all express arrogance about something or another at some time. I know I am not immune from that. But what I see at VEB goes beyond that. There are some regular posters there that are so full of hot air they make the Goodyear Blimp look like a pinto bean.

  3. CariocaCardinal says:

    There is an irony in the analysis of Cruz’s defensive ability. The Cards most likely didn’t think he was good enough defensively as a catcher when they drafted him as they did not start him out there. He was later moved there but he still has less than 2 full years catching experience yet he is now defensively ready to catch in the major leagues.

    Where the Cardinals that wrong about his ability to catch?

    Did he get that much better that fast?

    Is he really just mediocre and Anderson is plain terrible (if so why has Anderson been left at catcher?)

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Cruz was a catcher his first two years of juco. Year 3 he moved to 3B so the Cards kept him there for 2007. But since Cruz does not have a bat for 3B, they moved him back. He now has 4 years of pro catching, 2008-11. One of Cruz’s advantages is he could pinch-hit, then stay in a game at 1B, 3B, or corner OF.
      Anderson’s best fit is catcher. He’s not going to slug enough for corner OF.

  4. blingboy says:

    If there is nothing better to grump about than the choice of backup catcher, things are looking good.

    So I guess Kumatsu is the latest Card to skip AAA altogether.

    Too bad today’s game isn’t on TV.

  5. Kansasbirdman says:

    Hey, I found out from the Cardinals org that I just won a truck!

    http://now.msn.com/now-plus/0402-april-fool-cardinals.aspx

    • crdswmn says:

      Are you Freese’s cousin? ;)

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        That was a pretty good prank.

        I don’t know if you watch the “Walking Dead” on AMC but we have a Judge in the Child in Need of Care Court who is a big fan and my friend and I drafted a Petition for out of home placement naming Carl Grimes (the lead character’s son) due to his being unsupervised in the last few episodes. Our Judge retired last Friday but we presented the Petition and an affidavit to him for filing. He thought it was pretty funny. Not the best April Fool’s prank and probably only funny as an inside joke.

  6. blingboy says:

    The Anderson/Cruz debate crowd might be sure to read the Goold article that goes through the interaction between Yadi and rookie Wainwright surrounding the Beltran AB pitch sequence to close out the 2006 NLCS.

    I’m not casting a vote because I don’t know enough about those two young catchers, but my point is that focussing on the catcher’s offense misses the boat.

    It is also enlightening to look at the pitches in that sequence. 9th inning, tying run in scoring position, NLCS and ticket to the World Series on the line. The Mets big dog at the plate. (That’s always the way it is in baseball, just ask Shannon) Rookie emergency fill in closer Wainy on the mound. With one year of middle relief and 3 saves on his resume.

    Wainy is a big and tall type. Adreniline. Absolutely don’t want to bet behind 1-0. Yadi calls for Wainy’s 4th best pitch. Huh? A straight change low 80s. 0-1. Then two mid 70s curve balls. Game. One of the better big bats in the game left standing there with his bat on his shoulder and a sore toe.

    The Cards young fireballers should probably be made to watch that tape. The young catchers, too.

  7. blingboy says:

    Rosenthal comes out for a pinch runner, then appears on the mound again the next inning. On gameday, it says ‘Pitcher change. Rosenthal replaces Rosenthal.’ :)

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