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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: 03/23/14

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals minor league games on Sunday, March 23. The Cardinals’ five minor league clubs faced their Miami Marlins counterparts on St. Louis’ side of the Jupiter, Fla. complex.

Memphis, Springfield and Peoria won while Palm Beach was defeated. Note the label for the fifth club has changed from Peoria 2 to State College. That is an important designation. Peoria is a full-season club, while the players on State College at the end of spring training will remain in Florida for extended spring training.

All four Memphis pitchers on the day began the spring in major league camp and two of the Springfield pitchers appeared there briefly, too.

After the 3-1-1 Sunday, the Cardinals’ clubs collective mark versus external competition this spring is now 13-9-4 with their overall record 18-14-8.

In 2014, Cardinals baseball operations assistant Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests. As always, the raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. Unfortunately, while all pitchers are accounted for, only some of the top hitters’ data is shared.

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 40 for 2014, their rankings are noted (TCN). 12 members were in action on Sunday.

Sunday’s hitter of the day: The competition was tough on a day when Tommy Pham homered, Patrick Wisdom had two extra-base hits and Oscar Taveras and David Washington plated two each. Yet, my two finalists are outfielders with Peoria. Ronald Castillo plated three on two hits, including a home run.

But C.J. McElroy had two singles, a double and a triple in five at-bats and scored twice, snagging the daily honor against these worthy candidates. The speedster has continued to experiment with switch-hitting, though I don’t know if/how many at-bats he took from the left side on Sunday. (McElroy is batting left-handed in this photo I took earlier in the week.)

Sunday’s pitcher of the day: With four strikeouts in two perfect innings, Peoria’s Juan Perez is my choice as having the top pitching line of the day. The 18-year-old Venezuelan right-hander struck out 40 in 40 Gulf Coast League innings last season, but walked 37. No free passes issued on Sunday, though.

The Cardinal Nation subscribers can check out the minor league spring training invitees, full minor league spring training game schedules and more. Seven-day free trials are always available.

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 (3-3-3) 6, New Orleans 3

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Zach Petrick #16 4 6 1 1 4 1.99 ERA for Pitcher of Year in 2013 Tommy Pham CF #23 5 2 1 1 1 Home runs would be gravy
Boone Whiting #30 3.2 6 2 3 Should be in Memphis rotation Oscar Taveras DH #1 4 1 2 1 1 Always good to see Oscar here
Jose Almarante 1.1 3 Too bad he was late for MLB camp Patrick Wisdom 3B #15 5 2 1 1 Ripping more extra base hits
Sam Freeman #17 1 1 2 1 Too many men on base Jonathan Rodriguez 1B 3 2 1 1 Should be ready for Springfield

Springfield (6-1-2) 5, Jacksonville 4

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Kurt Heyer 4 1 1 1 3 Strong outing Adam Melker DH 4 1 2 1
Nick Greenwood 3 3 1 4 Has started and relieved Breyvic Valera 3B #31 2 1 2 1 A regular in these reports in 2014
Thomas Lee 1 3 2 7.8/1 K/BB ratio last season David Washington 1B 3 1 2 1 One of best power threats in lower minors
Logan Billbrough 1 1 1 Adam Ehrlich C 2 1 1 1 Working on staying healthy

Jupiter 5 at Palm Beach (4-4-1) 1

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Jimmy Reed 3 6 2 Just 2.1 BB / 9 IP in 2013 Anthony Garcia LF 4 2 Comeback season starting well
Chris Thomas 2 2 Dante Rosenberg EH 2 2 1
Sam Tuivailala #36 2 1 1 3 Multiple innings is intriguing
Victor DeLeon 1 2 1 1 8.8 K / 9 IP at SC last summer
Robert Stock 1 2 1 1 Throwing 90-91 last time out

Peoria (4-5) 8, Greensboro 2

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Rob Kaminsky #5 4 4 1 1 3 Will top HS draftee move up to JC? C.J. McElroy CF 5 2 4 1 1 My Player of the Day
Juan Perez 2 4 My Pitcher of the Day Jimmy Bosco LF 4 1 2 1 1 Having a nice spring
Zach Loraine 2 2 Attended HS in O’Fallon, MO Ronald Castillo RF 4 1 2 3 1 Has at least three spring home runs
Kyle Grana 1 1 Quietly getting job done Oscar Mercado SS #22 5 1 2 Spring hitting very encouraging
Steve Sabatino 1 1 1 12.7 K / 9 IP last season

State College (1-1-2) 4, Batavia 4

State College pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes State College hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Ian McKinney #25 2 2 2 0.89 ERA in Gulf Coast League Luis Perez LF 2 2 2 1 1 Hit well at JC, not at State College
Max Foody 2 2 Lefty’s comeback trail looking good Jesus Ustariz 1B 3 1 1 1 Newcomer from Detroit organization
Norge Paredes 1 1 Edmundo Sosa SS #32 2 1 1 1st season in US for our DSL Player of Year
Isaac Silva 1 1 88-91 mph last week
Josh Lucas 1 Three up, three down
Brandon Lee 1 3 1 1

Monday’s games: The Cardinals will face the Mets on Monday. Memphis and Springfield will bus to Port St. Lucie, while Palm Beach and Peoria will remain home to take on their New York counterparts.

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7 Responses to “Cardinals minor league spring training notebook: 03/23/14”

  1. blingboy says:

    Scott McGregor seems to be still in ML camp. Why?

  2. blingboy says:

    Rotation looks like it will go Wainwright, Wacha, Lynn, Miller, Kelly.

    The mid inning relief will be a little dicey with some new faces. At least until Mike and Derek get roles sorted out. I really think they should give Freeman a shot. The extra lefty would be nice given the all righty rotation.

    Hopefully, Motte will be a boost at some point.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    It makes sense McElroy dedicate himself to learning to switch-hit. He is fast, but has not shown much base-stealing. Unless he can hit .300 batting righty, which he has not, he has to develop something more. Switch-hitting is the best hope.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Three HRs for Ronald Castillo are encouraging. He may be over the shoulder injury he had last season. He has not hit many HRs, despite being large. Castillo may be taking better advantage of his frame, to this spring be able to clear the fences. Hitting for average has never been a problem for him. He can make contact.

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