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Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 03/20/15

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals’ first minor league games of 2015 held against external competition. On Friday, two games were played on the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida, with two more at the New York Mets complex. Memphis and Springfield rode the bus to Port St. Lucie while and Palm Beach and Peoria remained home.

Thursday’s winners were Friday’s losers as Memphis and Palm Beach took defeats while Springfield won on the road and Peoria was victorious at home.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Baseball Operations Coordinator for Player Development Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests. The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. Actually, the data comes from players and managers charting, so some inconsistencies are possible. Only partial pitching results are being shared this season to go along with the selected hitting highlights. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 23 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 40 for 2015, their rankings are noted in the tables below in the “TCN” columns.

Friday’s Pitcher of the Day: Springfield’s Rob Kaminsky (pictured), our third-ranked Cardinals prospect, allowed just three baserunners in three scoreless innings while striking out two.

Honorable mention to Austin Gomber. Though Palm Beach was shut out 5-0, the lefty allowed just one baserunner in two innings and fanned three.

Friday’s Hitter of the Day: Springfield outfielder Rowan Wick had his extra-base bat working with a double and home run in four at-bats, scoring twice and plating three.

Honorable mention goes to Steve Bean. Just down from major league camp, the catcher drove in a pair of runs for Springfield.

For more, The Cardinal Nation members can check out the complete list of minor league spring training invitees and full minor league spring training game schedules. Also exclusively for TCN members is my annual pre-camp series in which I predicted the opening rosters for all four full-season minor league affiliates and explain why: Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria. My St. Louis roster prediction article is free for all readers.

If you are not yet a member of The Cardinal Nation, 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, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Memphis (1-1) 1 at Las Vegas 2

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Corey Baker 1 2 25 y/o strong at PB, rough at Spr Breyvic Valera 2B 15 3 1 1 1 Maybe ready for Mem, but much competition
Chris Perry 1 2 1 2 Fast riser pitched in Arizona Fall Lg.

Springfield (1-1) 7 at Binghamton 0

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Rob Kaminsky 3 3 1 2 2 Seems very ready for Palm Beach Rowan Wick RF 28 4 2 2 3 1 1 Only Grichuk and Scruggs had more HRs in ’14
Fernando Baez 2 1 1 1 Hard thrower was SP for SC in 2014 Bruce Caldwell 3B 3 2 2 1 Tied for 8th in system in HRs, 3rd in triples
Josh Lucas 1 2 Dominated at SC, struggled at Peo Luke Voit 1B 3 1 2 1 In top 10 in system in both doubles and triples
Steve Bean C 3 1 2 1 Still just 21 years old in 4th year in organization

Palm Beach (1-1) 0 vs. St. Lucie 5

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
Austin Gomber 2 1 3 High 1.55 WHIP  with 2.30 ERA at SC Gerwuins Velazco C 2 2 Moved around to 3 clubs last year, still hit .295

Peoria (1-1) 3 vs. Savannah 1

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Ramon Santos 2 1 3 No word on hits or walks. Sorry. Jesus Ustariz DH 3 2 1 Was minors Rule 5 pick in December 2013
Jorge Rodriguez 2 2 Tiny 0.98 ERA in 5 GCL starts in 2014 Rafael Medina 3B 2 1 1 1 1 23 y/o struggled to Mendoza Line in ’14 (.200)

Saturday’s games: The Marlins are the Saturday opponent, with four games scheduled on the Cardinals side of the Jupiter complex.

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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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11 Responses to “Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 03/20/15”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Caldwell and Voit hit pretty well in 2014 at Palm Beach. They do not get mentioned on prospect lists, because not high draft picks. As a right swinging 1Bman, Voit has some steep odds to reach he majors. But in time he should reach AAA, because of hitting. Caldwell is likewise a good hitter. His position on the field and peak level of play remain to be determined.

  2. blingboy says:

    Recently, Mo I believe, or somebody in the Cards org, acknowledged the lack of power in the system. The Peoria squad hitters above might be illustrative of the proposition that you reap what you sow.

    The Tigers likely figured they did not want to spend development time, effort and roster space on a 1B/3B type with no power, like Ustariz. The Cards, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the high OBP. So now we are developing an infield corner with no power.

    We also have Medina, who came from our DOSL squad. He never had power, but started as a SS where it didn’t matter. He was almost immediately moved off SS to infield corner, where it does matter, except to the Cards. So now we are developing another infield corner with no power.

    Whatever you decide to spend your development resources on in the lower levels will eventually filter up to the upper levels, so it should be pretty predictable what your system will look like in a few years by examining the decisions you are making now.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      In the 2014 draft, our power gambit was 1B Justin Bellinger in the 11th round, but he went to Duke.
      In the system, the best power hitter is Rowan Wick. Wick looks a lot more promising than bonus baby Stryker Trahan, a first round catcher out of a Louisiana high school by the Diamondbacks. Both Wick and Trahan have been moved to corner OF as pros.
      In drafts, the Cards seem to focus on pitchers, perhaps hopeful they are more predictable and good value. If we drafted at the top of the draft like the Cubs, we could gather the most promising amateur hitters. We got lucky unearthing Pujols.
      We do a pretty good job in drafts, but the draft system is designed to be stacked against any successful team.

      • blingboy says:

        The Cards are in love with the idea of signing up guys who play the most demanding defensive positions, like SS and CF. The idea is a guy can always be moved to a less demanding position but can’t be moved to a more demanding one.

        The problem seems to be that there is too much wishful thinking as to whether the guy’s bat can develop into what is going to be needed to advance at the less demanding defensive position. And then a reluctance to admit that it isn’t happening until a lot of development resources have been expended on what is ultimately a dead end. Peoples-Walls and Wisdom come to mind as guys without the bat to avoid the dead end.

        Just now a lot is being made of Piscotty’s need to develop more power, corner outfield power instead of 3B power, and it seems that will be the goal this year in AAA. There is a lot of confidence and optimism. Maybe it will be successful, and I hope it will, but he has 3 pro seasons under his belt with no improvement in power at all. So one must accept that there is some wishful thinking going on.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Wisdom is about what the Cards expected, a good fielder with some power. He just needs to collect minor league at bats.

          Same with Piscotty, he has turned out as well as should expect.

          Peoples Walls was a high school SS who was always going to be a risky gamble.

          • blingboy says:

            ” He just needs to collect minor league at bats.”

            That I think is an example of the wishful thinking unsupported by reality that results in a lot being put into a guy who ultimately flat lines. (IMHO)

            However many PAs he gets, a .225 hitter isn’t going anywhere unless he’s an elite SS. Progress has to be shown to justify continuing to collect those PAs. If anything, Wisdom is going backwards and the pitching and defense are only going to get better, and get better quickly in the upper levels. Offensively, he has not mastered any level before being pushed along by guys coming up behind him that need the PAs at the level he was at.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              kozma has spent two years at Springield, 3 at AAA, 1 in majors. Wisdom has spent just 1 at AA. Players do not rise as rapidly as you may wish. piscotty just one year at Memphis, where Craig and Freese spent two years. You do not have a good sense of development time for hitters

              • blingboy says:

                Craig and Freese were not crappy .220 hitters in the lower levels who miraculously morphed into something they never were. Kozma is a UT because his glove is elite. I understand time Jumbo, but there must be something to work with besides a hope and a prayer. A player must progress to justify continued expenditure of resources.

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