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Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 03/26/13

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals’ two upper level minor league clubs traveled to Port St. Lucie to take on their New York Mets counterparts. Palm Beach and Peoria welcomed New York’s two Class-A clubs to the back fields in Jupiter.

Memphis and Palm Beach, were victorious and Springfield and Peoria fell. The Cardinals’ spring record against external minor league competition is 16-18-6.

Among the Mets’ major leaguers to bat regularly in the Memphis game were designated hitter David Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy. The SNY telecast of the major league game switched over for each of Wright’s four at-bats. He was held hitless. In addition, Mets pitchers Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee were slated to work on their hitting in the minor league games.

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.

Tuesday’s Pitcher of the Day: Palm Beach hurler Steven Sabatino (pictured) gave up just a walk in two scoreless innings of work and fanned one. The 23-year-old lefty threw only 7 1/3 innings for Johnson City after being drafted in the 26th round of last June’s draft from Notre Dame.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Just down from St. Louis, Kolten Wong had a perfect day for Memphis. The second baseman went 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

Nick Greenwood joined Mitch Harris to become the second non-camp invited pitcher to appear in a St. Louis game this spring. The lefty played along with three others in the major league game in Port St. Lucie on Tuesday, allowing two runs in 1 1/3 frames. Other minor leaguers to face New York were Tommy Pham, Jake Lemmerman and Carson Kelly. The latter stroked a double to right-center and scored on a Greg Garcia RBI single while looking very much at home on the big-league field.

The Cardinal Nation subscribers can check out the newest spring training working rosters, the full minor league spring schedule and more.

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

Memphis (8-4-1) 6, Las Vegas 5 (7 ½ innings)

Memphis pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Memphis hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Seth Maness 4 3 2 1 1 Reigning system Pitcher of the Year Kolten Wong 2 2 2 2 1 Player of the Day just down from St. Louis
Eduardo Sanchez 1.2 3 1 1 1 Plus two unearned runs Jermaine Curtis 4 1 2 1 Led 2012 Texas League witn .414 OBP
Victor Marte 2 1 1 Had uneven spring with St. Louis – 6.23 ERA J.R. Towles 2 1 1 1 2 Veteran catching depth for Memphis
Sam Freeman 0.2 1 2 Very encouraging outing for recently injured lefty Jamie Romak 2 1 1 2 Had 23 home runs for NW Arkansas in 2011
Steven Ramos 3 1 1 1
Chad Huffman 3 1 1 1
Alex Mejia 1 1 1 Cousin of Brewers starting pitcher Marco Estrada
Justin Christian 1 1

Binghamton 5, Springfield (4-6-3) 2

Springfield pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Springfield hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Nick Additon 4.1 5 1 1 1 Lefty should be back in Memphis rotation Vance Albitz 3 2 Utilityman having nice spring with the bat
Kevin Thomas 1 1 0 1 Chris Edmondson 3 1 66 RBI at Palm Beach last season was 6th in org
Jacob Booden 1.2 1 0 1 29 Ks in 28 1/3 IP with Johnson City as 2012 rookie Xavier Scruggs 2 1 1 1 1 1 26 doubles in 2012 tied for 6th-most in system
Iden Nazario 0.2 3 3 2 Plus one unearned run. Had 2.73 ERA at PB last summer Adam Melker 2 1 1
Starlin Rodriguez 1 1 1 One of only nine hitters in system to bat .300 last year

Palm Beach (7-3-3) 5, St. Lucie 3

Palm Beach pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Palm Beach hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Jonathan Cornelius 2.2 2 1 1 1 10.17 strikeouts per nine innings at JC in 2012 Tyler Rahmatulla 2 1 1 2 1 1 Two-run long ball
Steven Sabatino 2 0 1 1 Pitcher of the Day Anthony Garcia 2 1 1 Our 9th-ranked Cardinals prospect has had quiet spring
Willy Paulino 2 1 2 3 22 wild pitches last season led Midwest League Juan Castillo 2 1
Juan Bautista 2 2 0 1 Matt Williams 2 1 1 1 2012 MWL shortstop ready for next level
Stephen Piscotty 3 1 1 1 Contining the extra-base hit surge
Cody Stanley 3 1 Played in the 2012 Arizona Fall League
Nick Longmire 3 1
James Ramsey 3 1 1 1 2012 first-round draft pick began at Palm Beach
Geoff Klein 1 1 1 Played winter ball in Australia

Savannah 9, Peoria (3-9-1) 2

Peoria pitching IP H ER BB K Notes Peoria hitting AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB Notes
Chris Corrigan 4 6 6 1 4 4.02 ERA for Palm Beach plus brief Springfield trial Charlie Tilson 4 1 2 1 Still has just 27 official professional at-bats
Steven Gallardo 2 4 1 1 1 19th rounder in 2012 draft had 4.50 ERA at JC Jacob Wilson 2 1 1 10th rounder in 2012 batted .275 at Batavia
Jhonny Polanco 2 2 1 2 20 y/o Nicaraguan had 1.91 ERA in 2012 GCL Casey Rasmus 3 1 1 1 The spring of catcher triples continues…
Dixon Llorens 1 1 15.5 strikeouts per nine IP last season = system’s best Michael Swinson 3 1 1 1 Demonstrating all-around game this spring
Patrick Wisdom 3 1 1 1 Sure-handed third baseman showing bat proficiency
David Washington 1

On Wednesday, the Marlins are the Cardinals’ opponents yet again. The Fish will migrate to the Birds’ side of the complex – except for the Peoria 2 soldiers, who will march over to the Miami fields.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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48 Responses to “Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 03/26/13”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    From a distant photo, Sabatino looks like Stoppelman.

    Last June, the birds loaded up on college senior southpaws, Stoppelman in the 24th rd, Sabatino in the 26th, and Helicek in the 30th.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I see your point. Both are 6-foot-2 lefties. Sabatino listed at 190 with Stoppelman at 210.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Sabatino and Stoppelman would have come out of high school the same year, 2008. Stoppelman played ball for 4 years, whereas Sabatino must have red shirted. Though classified a junior, Sabatino is a couple of months older than Stoppelman.

        Aldrete was classified a junior, but is a few months older than Sabatino.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          During the first draft of the new personnel guy, the Cards had 44 picks and signed 34. Of these 34, 14 were seniors or redshirt juniors. Ramsey was a senior who drew attention given how he was picked, with Wilson and Barragclough other seniors in the top 10 rounds.
          A decade ago, the Birds selected even more lads who had completed their college playing eligibility. Since they have no college eligibility remaining, if they want to try pro ball, seniors are cheap in terms of signing bonuses because they usually must accept what teams offer.
          Seniors can still be good players (Allen Craig, David Freese, Anthony Reyes being examples).
          We tend to select more juco and high school athletes today. But seniors are still valued on draft day. They have the experience and maturity to contribute at the A ball level starting this spring. A guy like Stoppelman might be assigned to Palm Beach. Or 1B Schaffer might be at Peoria.

  2. blingboy says:

    Is anyone getting less concerned about Garcia holding up?

    Jackson looked good out there, both O and D. Lesser competition though.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Others will have to answer as I have been on the less-concerned side about Garcia all along.

      Jackson did air-mail one throw from short. Wigginton got up higher than I thought he could to salvage the play at first.

  3. Nutlaw says:

    Wainwright re-signed for five years? Good stuff. I know one person who will be exceptionally pleased. 😀

  4. blingboy says:

    Wainy could have undoubtedly done better on the market.

    Sounds like he really did want to be a Cardinal for life and it really wasn’t just about the money.

  5. Bw52 says:

    Wonder what the yearly breakdown will be?I like Waino but i question the wisdom of paying a pitcher almost 20 million a year.

    • Brian Walton says:

      His age 36 year will be the riskiest, IMO, but I bet they had to go five years to get him done now. Wainwright’s new AAV is about $5 million less per year than the highest-paid pitchers in MLB. As bling said, he could get more in the market.

      In six years from now, he will be ready to pass the baton to Miller or Rosenthal or Wacha or Martinez or Mr. X, just like he has taken it from Carp. Continuity of leadership has value, IMO, like a hometown discount on the other side of the ledger…

      • crdswmn says:

        Having a veteran presence in the clubhouse who has been coached in, and believes in, the Cardinal way, so that he can pass that on to future players, is an intangible that many fans do not understand or appreciate. Derrick Goold’s article about what the organization looks for in a player, competitiveness, the will to win, and character (all traits which Wainwright has in spades) shows the importance the org saw in keeping Wainwright. It is not just about money and numbers. Performance in the field is very important, but so is performance off the field and in the clubhouse. The Cardinals are trying to build something that is rare in professional sports, an organization that not only wins consistently on the field, but wins in the community and throughout as well. Bill DeWitt is no dummy, he understands the importance of building goodwill, something that the likes of the Jeffrey Lorias of the world will never understand.

        The Cardinals are in the top 10 in all MLB in franchise value. DeWitt knows what he is doing.

        • Nutlaw says:

          So having mentors is a good thing, but not anywhere near $100M good. Coaches can teach players just fine. The fact is that Wainwright is a damn good pitcher and a more demonstrably reliable one than the younger guys. Yes, by all accounts he’s a good guy and is loved in the community – that’s worth dollars in return to the team in tv ratings and ticket sales.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          I don’t believe in “hometown discounts.” This is all business.

          Wainwright had a good return from injury year 2012, but it was by no means as good as his prior best years. Right now, he might not be a top of the market pitcher.
          By signing with the Cards now, Wainwright gains security and locks in nearly $100MM bucks. If he instead played out his final year, he might suffer a serious injury during 2013 and have little appeal in next years market.
          In return for giving him mindblowing financial security, the Cards gain a bit of price relief, from what he might command next winter, if Wainwright were to have a strong year in 2013 and come through it uninjured.
          Both sides gain something in a deal like this, that is why there is a deal.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            There is no hometown discount. Thats a fairy tale.

            This deal locks in a massive payday and for Wainwright eliminates the injury risk that could destroy his shot at fabulous wealth. This is a prudent, since pitching is a risky business. He obtains incredible wealth, but does not have to jeopardize this by throwing 210 innings during 2013.

            Its all about the money, for both sides. All baseball deals are.

            • Brian Walton says:

              If you repeat it often enough… it still will not be true…

            • Brian Walton says:

              Wainwright quote:

              “I just realized I have complete peace about staying in St. Louis. That’s worth more than a few extra dollars.”

              • crdswmn says:

                You forced me to read Strauss again. 😉

                The jaded and the cynical will never believe Waino is motivated by anything other than money. I saw a number of comments yesterday that indicated that. it’s the world we live in I’m afraid.

                I have every reason to be among them, I have seen a lot of very ugly human behavior in my career, but I think I know sincerity when I hear it. I have always felt that from Waino, which is why he is my favorite player. So it does not come from bias, even though no doubt many will not believe that.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  It only cost DeWitt and his pals $150MM to buy the entire franchise. For perspective, they will shell out $97MM on Wainwright for the next five years. Its a premium price, not the slightest salary discount.

                  Lets never become so fuzz-brained that we think a baseball player is giving us some kind of a “discount” when we hand him $97MM MORE dollars, on top of prior millions.

                  Wainwright is NOT Verlander or Greinke or Felix and is older, so does not command as much money as they do. His lower baseball value still does not constitute a discount. Nearly $20MM/yr is still a vast amount of money.

                  Its all about money.

                  When people give you an enormous amount of money, you can say gracious and heartfelt things. These can be sincere. For enormous money, most human beings can utter gracious thoughts. They can even hire a scribe to supply their words of gratitude. The scribe will be grateful for the dollars too. When it comes to money, every heart is touched.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    If you understood the market, you would – like most knowledgeable people – conclude that Wainwright’s deal has a lower AAV than market price. The rub is in the five years, but as the Pujols deal showed, teams are more than willing to make questionably long commitments to get guys they want.

                    The actions of the teams dictate the market. Wainwright settled for less than he could have earned as a free agent. I have seen no credible source – even those who wondered about this deal – doubt that. All of your words don’t change it.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      There was a poll here. Most who replied were in the ballpark on AAV and being Cards fans, preferred 4 years to the five that Wainwright extracted. Five is probably realistic. Cards fans had a pretty shrewd sense of Wainwright’s market.
                      During 2013, Wainwright could suffer a career ending injury. He lost part of one season to a finger injury, a serious injury for a curveballer. What if he tore a rotator cuff in 2013? Then his market value next winter would be near zero and he would have to live off the millions already earned.
                      Rather than risk losing a shot at ultra fabulous wealth, Wainwright accepted merely fabulous wealth by signing now. Other pitchers make the same rational risk avoidance decision, including Verlander, Felix, and Greinke.
                      Albert and Fatty Fielder playing the safe position of 1B played out option years and were able to land 10 year deals and then gush kind words about a new owner.
                      After losing Albert, as cool as a cumcumber Mo right went back to Pujols’ agent who also rep’d Beltran. Carlos admitted he wanted to go to Toronto, but the Cards offered too much money.

                      In baseball, money is how love is expressed.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      “Wainwright settled for less than he could have earned as a free agent.” This is true. He is not a free agent. If he were, it would have taken more to sign him. He elected not to accept the injury risk between him and free agency. There is a risk-return relationship. If he assumed more risk by playing out 2013, then he could win more money next winter, but if there were an injury he could lose all.
                      Its kind of like Lets Make a Deal. Do you want to take fabulous wealth now or risk it all for super fabulous wealth next winter. Many players lock in fabulous wealth now, especially pitchers. Its a reasonable choice.
                      To claim there are “hometown discounts” is to allege that Wainwright’s agent is a softy who did not obtain a fair market price for his client. The agents and teams have a lot of data on comparables and figure out a market price, when they agree. If they do not agree, the player has the right to proceed on to free agency. Everything is consensual. Each side has to persuade the other side that they have arrived at a reasonable price.
                      Did Wainwright’s agent say, hold-on Mo, you are overpaying us, we will give the Cards a $40MM hometown discount? No, it does not happen like this, in the real world. Hometown discounts are just romantic fantasies.
                      The real romance within the fraternity of baseball is expressed not by giving red roses but by bestowing greenbacks. If Arte Moreno give Albert more money, Albert figures Moreno loves him more than does DeWitt. Inside baseball, money is love.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      If only number of words = winning debates, you’d be the undisputed champ!

                    • crdswmn says:

                      I believe the appropriate terminology is “bombastic blowhard”.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Well, I am exceedingly poor. And I graciously decline to accept your thoughts about Waino’s motivations.

                  • Bw52 says:

                    What a great guy Waino is.For 20 million bucks a year pitching for Timbuktu for be okay.That`s nice that he stayed in Stlouis but the gushing about his signing a lesser deal is ridiculous.He isn`t getting peanuts to stay.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Not sure who the “gushing” comment is directed to, but I am not gushing. I don’t understand why people are so polarized.

                      I simply said the same thing I have said all along. The Cards wanted to keep their ace so they had to give more years than they probably wanted. Wainwright took less money per season in return.

                      Some people have criticized paying Carpenter for example, but I am convinced they would not have won the 2011 title without him.

                      Time will tell if this turns out to be a good deal. More championships will be the most important measure – a far more relevant factor than how DeWitt spends his money.

                      Putting the contract specifics aside, does anyone really think the Cardinals will not be better in 2014-18 with Wainwright than without him?

                    • crdswmn says:

                      No one is saying that he is getting peanuts to stay. The argument seems to be whether money was the ONLY motivation Waino had. Jumbo seems to think so. I am saying if that were true, he would not have agreed to that contract and he would have gone to FA. As Brian has pointed out several times, there is no question Wainwright could get more on the open market.

                      Sure, he would not settle for crumbs simply for the joy of playing for the Cardinals. But he didn’t agree ONLY for the money either. It is not unheard of for a player to take less to play for a specific team. Cliff Lee did it.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I have updated the article on the main site with the details of Wainwright’s contract terms.

  6. Bw52 says:

    Now Waino is locked up long term,Molina,Holliday both locked upand Craig and Garcia.
    So who`s next? Jon Jay? When the Cards drafted Wisdom,Piscotty and Carson Kelly that seemed to mean the Cards where thinking past Freese and free agency in 2 or 3 years.Taveras penciled in as RF next season.So Cards just next Shortstop to settle and with Wong coming to handle 2B next year Cards will be set.

  7. Bw52 says:

    I still question giving a pitcher that kind of money.Too much of a chance of a injury .

    • Brian Walton says:

      People (not necessarily you specifically) said the same kind of words about Molina’s contract. Now, seeing what other catchers are getting, many are praising the deal.

      Clearly the Cardinals understand the inherent risks in giving a team-record pitching contract. Some clubs purchase insurance against large contracts. Of course, the premiums are not cheap. If the Cards wanted to hedge their bet, they may do that.

      Bottom line, I do not expect the Wainwright contract will restrict the team financially in the future. Revenues are increasing. They have a nice pipeline of young inexpensive talent so they can afford to keep their core players. In fact, almost all the core is already locked down. It looks like a very sound strategy to me.

      As I said in the other post, the Cards will be a better team with Wainwright than without him.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Would you have said the same thing if AP had signed with the Cards getting the amont Moreno paid?Even with APs long history of production paying that kind of money is questionable.Wasn`t Cleveland who signed several young players to extensions to buy out the players arbitration years and give the players security?

    • Brian Walton says:

      You have been here long enough to know my reaction to Pujols’ deal. To reiterate, no. Moreno paid too much in money and years, in my opinion. That huge commitment would have been too much for the Cardinals to absorb. I suspect they were relieved in many ways when he left.

      Yes, Cleveland started the trend of buying out arbitration years. That allows for better future budget planning. Locking up the next wave like Craig is smart.

      You can be assured the Cardinals see a way to pay Wainwright and remain competitive. Isn’t that ultimately what matters?

      • crdswmn says:

        Of course it is. Many people act like Bill DeWitt is some boneheaded nitwit who doesn’t know how to run a business. Well, he has run it pretty damn well so far if you ask me. He has turned it in to one of the best run franchises in baseball, many outsiders have said so. No way in Hades BDW would have agreed to that contract if he didn’t know he could afford it and still maintain a competitive team. I think people need to give the guy some credit.

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