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Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 04/02/15

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league games held on Thursday, April 2. The Cardinals played their final spring 2015 games against the Marlins on the George Kissell Quad at the Jupiter, Florida complex.

With Memphis leaving for their Friday exhibition with St. Louis, the other four clubs played up a level, so Springfield took on Marlins’ Triple-A club, for example. Despite that, the Cardinals finished 2-1-1 on the day, with Peoria and State College claiming wins while Springfield tied and Palm Beach lost.

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.

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 40 for 2015, their rankings are noted in the tables below in the “TCN” columns. Four top 40 members are among the list of standouts on Thursday: Aledmys Diaz, Magneuris Sierra, Rowan Wick and Juan Perez.

Thursday’s Pitcher of the Day: Kyle Hald (pictured) allowed just one run on four hits in five innings. The lefty fanned two. The 2014 Texas League all-star should be back there after finishing in the top 10 of the system in many categories, including ERA, innings and strikeouts.

Honorable mention is given to a regular here this spring, Trey Nielsen. The Palm Beach righty also yielded just one run in five frames. Both these starters were let down by their bullpens with a whopping total of 16 runs scored by the Marlins in the late innings of the two highest-level games.

Thursday’s Hitter of the Day: Peoria’s Collin Radack was a table-setter, with a perfect day – three singles and a double in four at-bats, scoring twice and plating one.

Honorable mentions include someone I bet drove in Radack at least once – his 2014 State College teammate Nick Thompson. The latter had three hits in four at bats while collecting three RBI. These two, Radack and Thompson, should again be together in the 2015 Peoria outfield. Michael Ohlman and Derek Gibson drove in two each and Wick homered.

The Cardinal Nation members can also check out the complete list of minor league spring training invitees and full minor league spring training game schedules, posted earlier. 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 Cardinals organization view by level and position as last season ended is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Springfield (4-5-4) 7, New Orleans 7

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Kyle Hald 5 4 1 2 25 y/o LHP won 11 at Sgf Michael Ohlman C 2 1 2 1 1 New 40-man addition from Orioles
Others 6 Aledmys Diaz SS 12 2 2 1 Cuban SS reached base all three times

Palm Beach (8-5-1) 4 vs. Jacksonville 11

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
Trey Nielsen 5 4 1 2 5 Major 2015 sleeper alert Rowan Wick RF 28 3 1 2 1 1 Hit 20 HRs in 260 ABs last season
Others 10 Ouch!

Peoria (6-6-2) 6, Jupiter 3

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB K Notes
Jonathan Escudero 1 1 2 12.5 K/9 inn at JC in ’14 Magneuris Sierra CF 16 4 2 2 Continues to single, but XBH more rare
Others 3 Nick Thompson LF 4 3 3 T4th in NYPL with 42 RBI in 65 games
Collin Radack RF 4 2 4 1 1 Batted .375 in NYPL post-season

State College (5-0) 5, Greensboro 2

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
Juan Perez 40 2 1 89-90 mph + c/up + curve Derek Gibson RF 3 1 1 2 1 SE Mo State product hit .318 (GCL+PB)
Others 2

Overall this spring, the Cardinals are 31-20-10, including a 22-11-6 record against external competition (Mets and Marlins plus one game against the Long Island Storm).

Friday’s games: The spring season ends with a 10:00 a.m. camp day pair of games with Springfield vs. Palm Beach and Peoria taking on State College.

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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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37 Responses to “Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 04/02/15”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Nielsen’s revival following Tommy John surgery is encouraging. Wick with another home run, another day, another dinger.

  2. crdswmn says:

    There is Derek Gibson. I wondered about him. He is a product of my hometown High School. Going to be keeping an eye on him.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Gibson did very well at PB at the end of 2014, but him playing at SC yesterday suggests he may remain behind in EST, at least initially.

      • crdswmn says:

        I have hope, but I am not optimistic he will become anything. How often does an undrafted player make it to the big leagues? I would suspect rarely.

        But it’s fun having a home school player in the Cardinals organization. The last one I remember was Pete Tiefenauer, a pitcher in the 50s and early 60s. He was one of my Dad’s best friends and his son was one of my brother’s friends. There was another local player, Tim Lollar, a pitcher in the 80s, but he never played for the Cardinals and didn’t go to my school.

        • blingboy says:

          Tiefenauer was one of the guys on a Cards affiliated Rochester Red Wings team from late 50s or thereabouts I used to hear a lot about as a kid because the team was in Havana when war broke out between the Castro forces and the government. The stadium was actually engulfed while they were there and I think a couple guys got injured. They had to run for it and barely escaped the island as I remember the stories. Here is something I found online about it.

          http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/12/18/red-wings-last-baseball-team-cuba/20600617/

          I also remember that almost every guy from that roster ended up making it to MLB at some point.

          • crdswmn says:

            Yes, didn’t realize he was undrafted. Didn’t pan out though, and now he is playing in Japan, last I heard.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            A distinguished UDFA of the 1980s was 2b Tom Herr, from a Pennsylvania high school.

            A St Louis high school produced UDFA LF Bernard Gilkey who enjoyed a nice career.

            Today, the U.S. amateur draft ends at 40 rounds. Southpaw Kevin Siegrist A 41st rounder in 2008 would today have been passed over in the draft. siegrists ascent to the majors defies long odds.

            The same logic would apply in the case of MVP Keith Hernandez, another 41st round success. Hernandez was a star in high school, but fell out with his coach and did not play as a high school senior. The birds gave him a big bonus and turned him pro, after other teams backed off.

  3. crdswmn says:

    So the Cardinals/Memphis game is a free preview on Milb.TV. It’s FREE people.

    http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?topic_id=69616810&content_id=58135283

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    The pick up of Gary Brown is a nifty move by Mo. We like center fielders. Brown is a less costly Bourjos.

    • crdswmn says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha.

      Mozeliak was asked about Brown on the Memphis broadcast. Didn’t sound particularly high on him. Basically said he was filler for Pham.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        It is prudent for a GM not to set high expectations for any waiver claim.

        • crdswmn says:

          You believe whatever you want Jumbo.

          The fact that 24 teams passed on Brown, is fairly telling.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Brown gets down the first base line in 3.7 seconds, a reason why he went high in the draft.
            Brown finally modified his swing for his second year at AAA and was rewarded by lifting his on base percentage by 15 percent. If he continues to improve, he adds to our depth at CF, permitting a trade. Brown at least backfills Ramsey and undoes the Masterson trade.

          • Brian Walton says:

            True, they did pass, but this is the worst time of year for teams and roster management. So some teams purposely choose this time to try to slip players through waivers.

            • crdswmn says:

              Oh, I get that. But still it is hard to believe that out of 24 teams there wasn’t at least one that could swing the claim if he was all that valuable. He obviously wasn’t as valuable to the Giants as others on their 40 man roster, despite being a 1st round pick, or they would have optioned him instead of outrighting him.

              • Brian Walton says:

                It seems the debate is regarding the level of value of the player. Re-reading this thread, I did not see any overly-optimistic expectations for Brown.

                Sometimes one organization has excess at a position and another has a need.

                Adam Ottavino is another first-rounder whom the Cards exposed to waivers in a very similar manner. Exactly three years ago to the day of the Brown transaction, in fact, he was claimed by the Rockies. Ottavino is now one of the best set-up men in the NL and could become the closer whenever 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkins finally craters.

                It happens.

                • crdswmn says:

                  Okay. I took equating Brown to Bourjos was a bit of a stretch (actually more than a stretch, imo), considering one is a failed prospect described as a “bust” by his own team and the other one is a major league center fielder. Opinions will differ.

                  BTW, I checked the 4O man rosters of a few teams, and both the Braves and the Philllies (each rebuilding teams) had room on their 40 man roster for Brown. I only checked a few teams, so it’s entirely possible there were more.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    OK, I considered that a throwaway comment as I did not want to believe that even Jumbo puts great stock in spring numbers. Anyway, no, Brown is not yet Bourjos. That is for sure. And he may never be.

                    Regarding 40-man rosters, be careful about drawing premature conclusions. Many teams have not yet made all of their Villanueva-like additions, where non-roster players earned spots during the spring. The Cards moved faster than most with all of their transactions because of the exhibition and Sunday night opening.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Perhaps. The Phillies have only 37 on their 40 man as of today and that includes an OFer, Dominic Brown, who is on the DL. The Braves have 39, including their CFer, Melvin Upton, who is also on the DL.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Players Phillies have yet to add to 40-man based on projected opening day roster:

                      Reserve OF Jeff Francoeur
                      5th starter Sean O’Sullivan
                      Relievers Cesar Jimenez, Jeanmar Gomez

                      So, at 37 today, they actually would have to drop someone or put him on 60-day DL.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Braves additions needed:

                      Starting CF Eric Young, Jr.
                      5th starter Eric Stults
                      Reliever Cody Martin

                      So two more spots would be needed.

                      Ready to accept the point yet?

                  • crdswmn says:

                    I am willing to concede the Braves and the Phillies. That leaves 22 other teams. 🙂

                    I do get carried away sometimes, I admit. Part of it is boredom.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      I took the time to explain as I know you are always interested in learning, even when apparently bored.

                      Now, I am going to return to preparing a Mitch Harris interview.

                    • blingboy says:

                      “Pham missed his flight to Dallas on Friday morning and had to reschedule a visit with the specialist there.”

                      Maybe Brown is better at getting to the airport on time. Is there a stat for that?

              • JumboShrimp says:

                Bourjos with his hip repaired had an OPS of 507 during spring training. Brown had an OPS of 506. We are cornering the market in weak hitting CFs. If brown gets playing time at Memphis, his hitting may improve. A loser may be O’Neill at Memphis, who loses playing time to brown

                • Brian Walton says:

                  O’Neill isn’t more than an emergency option in CF. Ortega will be the back up CF there to Brown, I imagine.

                  My guess as to the Memphis OF is Ortega, Brown, Piscotty from left to right with O’Neill as reserve. Ty Kelly and Xavier Scruggs can also fill in as needed on the corners. Plenty of options now that they have more than one centerfielder.

  5. blingboy says:

    “Pham missed his flight to Dallas on Friday morning and had to reschedule a visit with the specialist there.”

    Within hours Mo hired his replacement.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    This is an interesting discussion in relation to use of 40 man roster slots. Last fall, we waivered two Memphis relievers who had decent seasons. Both were snagged by other teams, farinaro by the Nats. In effect, by surrendering these decent borderline relievers we have ended up with two bonus baby position players at our favorite positions, catcher and CF. Ohlmann will get a second season at AA. Brown will get a second season at AAA with a new improved swing. If either man thrives, we gain a nice prospect. If neither does, we will opportunistically look for another undervalued talent.
    For our bullpen, we added vets in Belisle and Villanueva, instead of borderline rookies. Overall, smart use of limited roster slots.
    We do not get to sign top 5 draft talents. So we have to hustle and try harder. One tactic is to grab toolsy guys who other teams cannot protect and see if we can develop them a little bit, because there is a fine line between success and failure. If somebody can improve a little, he can contribute in the majors.

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