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Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 03/15/13

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers played their second set of spring games against external competition. This time, the opponent was the New York Mets. Memphis and Springfield were at home while Palm Beach and Peoria bussed to Port St. Lucie. The remainder of the Peoria players worked out in Jupiter, where I also stayed to catch the Triple-A and Double-A teams.

Memphis was the only victorious club, with Palm Beach tying. The Cardinals’ spring record against external minor league competition is now 3-5-1.

As he has been doing the last few seasons, Cardinals farm director John Vuch is sharing game stats. As always, the raw numbers are his, but the comments and players of the day are mine.

Friday’s Player of the Day: Memphis outfielder Chad Huffman (pictured) was stroking the ball with authority all afternoon. He launched a long home run to left in the opening frame, another double that clanged off the chain link outfield fence in almost the same area and drew a walk. The only time I saw him retired was on a screamer to the second baseman. Right next to me when the homer was blasted, Vuch joked the ball traveled so far that it must have been wind aided.

Friday’s Pitcher of the Day: Memphis’ Boone Whiting showed me a lot on the mound Friday. After giving up a long double to right-center in his second frame, the right-hander buckled down and got out of the jam with two strikeouts.

The Cardinal Nation subscribers can check out the Friday’s starting lineups, pitcher velocity readings and boatload of insider news from a writer who is there to provide eyewitness reports. Spring training working rosters and the full minor league spring schedule are also available to subscribers.

The entire system view by level and position is available via the Roster Matrix, free, right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Memphis 4, Las Vegas 2

Pop Warner’s lineup card caused some amusing confusion among several of the Memphis players. Batting ninth was “Castillo 2,” meaning catcher Juan Castillo. Underneath his name on the card was the starting pitcher, “Castillo 2.” In that case, it meant Richard Castillo was scheduled to go two innings on the mound. One perplexed player kept asking, “So, who is batting ninth?”

Memphis pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Memphis hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Richard Castillo 2 1 0 2 1 Back from Team Spain in the World Baseball Classic Chad Huffman 1 2 3 1 1 1 Looks like a solid minor league free agent signing
Boone Whiting 2 2 0 1 4 Nice job getting 2 Ks to strand runner who doubled Mike O’Neill 4 1 3 1 1 Played well in AZ Fall League after AA promotion
Jorge Rondon 0.2 1 0 1 1 UER – threw gas, but not enough strikes Jermaine Curtis 1 Reached on HBP, but made Mets pay
Barret Browning 2 1 1 1 4 Lefty gave up a HR leading off 2nd inning of work Vance Albitz 1 1 Showed quickness in stealing second base
Dean Kiekhefer 2 3 0 1 Did not throw hard

Binghamton 6, Springfield 3

Springfield pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Springfield hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Anthony Ferrara 2 3 2 1 1 Gave up a HR to RF in the 1st inning Nick Longmire 2 1 1 1 Has wheels, but only 2 triples in last 2 yrs total
Zack Russell 2 0 0 1 4 Continues to rack up solid K counts James Ramsey 2 1 1 1 Had 3 triples in 210 ABs with PB in 2012
Ramon Delgado 1.2 4 3 1 1 Stuff looked much better than results Anthony Garcia 2 1 1 The bat is there – needs to keep working on rest
Kevin Siegrist 2 2 0 1 2 Allowed bloop single; promptly picked the runner off Tyler Rahmatulla 2 1 Really hit wall in 2H 2012 after PB promotion
Jose Almarante 1 2 1 1 A Garcia almost saved run on diving attempt on track Nick Martini 2 1 7th round pick in 2011 from Kansas State
David Medina 2 1 1 In final yr pre-free agency, he looks ready to play
Adam Melker 0 2 Proud papa among those in attendance

Palm Beach 7 at St. Lucie 7

Palm Beach pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Palm Beach hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Kurt Heyer 2 2 0 0 2 UER. Praised SS Alex Mejia in post-game tweet Jeremy Schaffer 3 2 1 2 Big run producer at Johnson City in 2012
Zach Petrick 2 3 2 2 1 Breyvic Valera 3 1 1 1 1 20 y/o has career .374 OBP
Stalyn Lopez 2 2 0 1 Wish I could have seen him pitch Cesar Valera 3 1 2 1 Only 67 RBI in 815 career plate appearances
Danny Miranda 2 3 3 1 1 Lefty was reliable closer for Batavia in 2011 Matt Young 3 1 2 Added two stolen bases – system needs wheels
Brandon Creath 1 1 1 Led NYPL relievers in K/ 9 IP in 2012 Steven Ramos 4 1 2 Also swiped one bag
Carson Kelly 3 1 1
Roberto De La Cruz 3 1 1 Started game in left field
David Bergin 1 1 1 1
David Popkins 1 1 1
Jordan Walton 2 1 1
Alex Mejia 1 1 2 Wrist must be feeling well now
Gerwuins Velazco 2 1 1 Young catcher to keep an eye on

Savannah 7, Peoria 5

Peoria pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Peoria hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Dail Villanueva 2 2 3 Top 10 in system in wins and strikeouts in 2012 Luis Perez 4 1 2 1 1 1 Two XBH = nice day for 2012 GCL All-Star
Chris Thomas 2 2 1 2 Fanned 34 in 26 2/3 IP last season Reggie Williams 4 1 2 Good-looking OF trying to get career back on track
Garrett Wittels 2 2 4 2 1 Former utilityman trying pitching Anthony Bryant 1 2 I have to remember to ask him – Anthony or Tony?
Norge Paredes 2 0 0 0 1 Two perfect frames Jem Argenal 1 1 1
Jeff Rauh 1 3 3 1 Yielded walkoff three run home run Trevor Martin 1 1
Jose Gomez 2 1 1

On Saturday, the Cardinals will have a camp day. I asked Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn if the club would be having 10 A.M. games as they sometimes do on Saturday camp days. He replied no, that it is too early in spring training and there is a lot to be worked on. Makes good sense.

Subscribers to the main site, TheCardinalNation.com, should continue to check out my extensive spring training content over the upcoming days.

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16 Responses to “Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 03/15/13”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    No one else has pontificated on this page yet, so this is to break the ice. The topic are the Cards alternatives for the final position player.

    A way to keep Matt Adams on the ML roster would be to use Allen Craig as a rover. Craig could start 2 games a week at 1B, 2 games in RF, and give Holliday one day a week off. Craig would then start 5 games per week; Adams would start the other 4 at 1B; gimpy Carlos would get 4 starts; and Holliday would get 5. We just firmed up Craig for a long-term deal, so his salary for years is now not all reliant on playing everyday and amassing statistics. He has been financially liberated and this could help him feel flexible about a time-share on behalf of the team among 3 positions.

    If we keep Adams, we could say to Ronny Cedeno, we do not have roster room for you. We can instead offer a minor league contract, with an out in June if you would like to become a free agent. If later called up, your salary will be the same we offered before, $1.2MM minimum, prorated to time on the active ML roster. If Ronny were to accept this, he would gain opportunity to stay professionally active at AAA, while the Cards maintain SS depth, at Memphis rather than in the majors.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Craig as a rover among 1B, RF, and LF, would enable us to give enough at bats to Matt Adams at the ML level to justify his being on the team. With an efficient swing, Adams can hit ML pitching right now, of this there is little doubt.

      Adams would better balance the lineup. Right now we have just three left swingers against an RHP: Jay, Descalso or Carpenter at 2B, and Beltran.
      With Adams on the ML roster and Craig playing rover, we could instead send Jay, Descalso or Carp, Beltran, and Adams against an RHP. That is a better lineup against right-handed starting pitchers and most starting pitchers are right-handed. If Freese takes a day off against an RHP, then we can get 5 lefty swingers into the lineup, a nice matchup.

      This possibility could explain why the Cards did not provide Cedeno a firm contract.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        We had a hardtime scoring runs against Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong last September. We beat Cain in one game in St Louis because Matt Carpenter connected and we got whipped in 3 other games, with Jay, Descalso, and Beltran/Carpenter giving just 3 left swingers. For 2013, adding Adams, we could deploy 4 or 5 left-swingers against a stud right-hander. This would definitely be more productive than the dismal way 2012 ended.

    • jj-cf-stl says:

      since cedeno’s is not guaranteed contract (goold), and cedeno is not an NRI, it leads me to believe his is a split contract that gives stl option down rights already.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Is it just my imagination or is Old Wiggy averaging .103, with another 3 for 3 in the K department today? If TLR were still around, he might be getting steamed about now. We need our veterans to put out some effort, set a good example. At least get the bat on a pitch. During spring 2007, TLR rudely challenged OF Preston Wilson to start producing. For2013, somebody needs to give Old Wiggy a wake-up call.
    Furcal has already milked another $7MM out of the DeWitts by the “don’t want an operation” ploy last fall. Raffy is now laughing all the way to the bank. Got himself spring TJ surgery so will miss at least most of the upcoming season. Now Raffy can take it easy, while millions more flow into his absurdly rich bank account.
    Maybe Old Wiggy is feeling lazy too, thinking about another $5MM rolling in during the next two years. I hope somebody feels a responsibility to get inside Wiggy’s comfort zone and try to wake him up. He is sleep-walking through spring training.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Rumors the Cards are asking about Bud Norris and another Houston hurler.

    It should be a busy rumor mill during the next two weeks, as Mo and Mike explore if there are any opportunities to improve the roster.

    Would we be willing to sign Kyle Lohse?

    Stay tuned.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Can Bud play shortstop? How about Lohse? I would put it past Boras to be selling that! ;-)

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        None of you really see this?????????? pitching surplus needs insulation against involving the kids too soon………….. they don’t know that someone else’s second string ss is going to do better
        than Kosma. They want disposable pitching depth to pressure Wainwright……. they aren’t getting a better shortstop…………… Surplus was phony and did not fit the 5yr plan……….. Lohse has nothing to do with it………they would like Kelly in the pen to protect Rosenthal from long work…..Rosenthal will be the closer by years end………. Boras does not like St Louis.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          It is a curious story about Norris or Harrell. I doubt it is to chisel Wainwright in negotiations, but either pitcher could be an insurance policy for 2014, in case Adam leaves via free agency.
          Luhnow will trade anyone, but will probably want 3 prospects.
          Resigning Lohse seems too costly, the reason why they would look at Norris or Harrell, much cheaper.
          I agree the SS story is phony. Are we trying to get back Tyler Greene?
          Scottie B. likes any town that overpays.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            We may be able to learn something from the Furcal situation. After Raffy was hurt, the Cards made fallback plans. Furcal was treated with injections in case this could work. Its not a crazy therapy, rather an up and coming one. However, it did not work. Meanwhile the Cards created the fallback of Ronny Cedeno, in case Raffy was not healed. If Raffy had been healed, then Ronny did not have a firm contract and could have been let go. The point: we want to have fallback plans.

            Harrell or Norris sound like a low price fallback plan or insurance policy. If one of this duo is acquired, the Cards could open the season with Miller and Kelly in Memphis. M and K could serve as fallbacks for when Garcia’s shoulder pain returns.

          • Brian Walton says:

            If the Cards think Norris could be a fallback for Waino, they are crazy. (I don’t think they are.)

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Norris or Harrell could provide a fallback for Garcia, as Ronny was for Furcal.

              • JumboShrimp says:

                Also N or H could become an established replacement for Westbrook in 2014.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  Norris or Harrell could be used in a 3 party trade. We could trade for N or H and then send this pitcher to another team in exchange for a veteran shortstop. That seems the only way to understand how N or H somehow involve a shortstop, as claimed in rumors from journalists.
                  Myself, I do not believe we are trying to find a SS, however. The Cards appear to be comfortable going with Pete. So if we pursue Norris or Harrell, it would be for another established starting pitcher, instead of Kelly or Miller as the 5th guy.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  There is a rumor SS Yuniesky Betancourt may not make the Phils, so could become a free agent of interest to the Cards. Betancourt is somebody I once guessed might be of interest to the Cards early in the winter, before we went for Ronny Cedeno. Betancourt is a 650 OPS SS. I am thinking Pete Kozma is as good, so we may not need to add Yuniesky should he come available, unless he would accept a Memphis contract.

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