2022 Palm Beach Cardinals Team Review

photo: Roger Dean Stadium (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Low-A affiliate had a slow to start but turned it around to have the best second half record in the Florida State League East Division. Palm Beach excelled mostly due to its talented pitching staff led by Inohan Paniagua until late-July then by TCN no 7 prospect Tink Hence.

Florida State League

The Palm Beach Cardinals represented the St. Louis Cardinals in the Low-A Florida State League’s East Division. There are 10 teams in the FSL: four represent the East and six are in the West Division. The teams play in their MLB affiliate’s spring training facility. Spring training ballparks tend to be larger than most minor league parks which helps this league to be pitching oriented.

The regular-season schedule began on April 8 and ended on September 10. Each team was scheduled for 132 games, but due to inclement weather, four of the Beach Birds’ games were canceled. Playing 128 games, Palm Beach logged an even split of 64 games at home and on the road. They finished with a positive record of 39-25 at Roger Dean and a negative record of 28-36 on the road.

Gary Kendall (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Coaching Staff

The 2022 Cards were managed by veteran manager Gary Kendall, who was hired from the Baltimore Orioles organization prior to the season. Kendall worked as a scout for the Orioles from 1991-95 and the San Diego Padres from 1996-99. Kendall spent time in the Braves organization as a coach for the Idaho Falls Braves before first becoming a manager in 2004. In 2015, Kendall Led Double-A Bowie to an Eastern League Championship.

Giovanni Carrara was the pitching coach for the Beach Birds after being promoted form the same role with the Florida Complex League Cardinals. Carrara was a relief pitcher primarily for the Dodgers for 11 MLB seasons form 1995-2006.

Kadeem Octave served as the hitting coach this season coming from the New York Mets player development staff last year. He also worked in a similar role for St. Louis and within the Minnesota Twins organization. Octave served as the Director of Baseball Operations at the US Military Academy prior to working in MiLB.

Results

The first and second halves of 2022 were opposites for the Beach Birds. They showed little consistency before the break as they finished 9.5 games back of first place with a 30-34 record.

After an influx of offensive talent from the draft, Palm Beach turned it around to finish in first place with a record of 37-27 in the second half for their first playoff berth since 2018. The Cardinals won six six-game series and split two six-game series. (The league schedule had a pair of teams play each Tuesday through Sunday.)

Palm Beach had a few standout players promoted to the High-A Peoria Chiefs during the year. Several rookie players from the Florida Complex League and the 2022 draft were brought in in the summer to give a boost to the roster.

Overall, Palm Beach came in third place in the division out of 10 teams with a 67-61 record (5.5 games back of first place St. Lucie Mets.)

Due to their stellar second half, the Beach Birds made the FSL playoffs but lost in the first-round semi-finals to the first-half Mets in a best-of-three game series. After missing the playoffs last season, Palm Beach participated for the first time since 2018 when they lost to Fort Myers.

Pitching

Pitching was the strength of the 2022 Beach Birds.

34 pitchers took the mound for the Cardinals in 2022, comparable to last season when 36 pitchers took the mound. 19 of those pitchers threw at least 20 innings for Palm Beach. The staff finished third in the FSL out of 10 teams with a 3.71 ERA.

The Beach Birds were second in saves with 42, ninth in batting average against (.241), eighth with 1221 total strikeouts and second fewest home runs allowed (78). Their staff allowed second most hits (1000), pitched the fewest shutouts (5) and issued the fifth fewest walks (491).

Hitting

38 players took at least one at bat for Palm Beach in 2022. 15 had at least 100 at bats and four took 200 or more. Shortstop Jeremy Rivas was the constant, leading the team with 425 at bats, with second baseman Darlin Moquete a distant second with 220.

Palm Beach was ninth out of 10 teams in the FSL in OPS (.664) and runs (525) and sixth in hits (946). They were also ninth in home runs (76), eighth in RBI (462) and seventh in average (.231).

The Beach Birds was fanned 1231 times, sixth in the FSL and were walked 487 times, tied for fourth. The Beach Birds stole 80 bases on the season.

Fielding

The Cardinals finished 2022 with a fielding percentage of .977, best in the league. The defense committed 103 errors. They completed 292 double plays and allowed 23 passed balls. Catchers for Palm Beach allowed 157 stolen bases and caught 43 runners stealing good for 21.5%.

TCN Top Prospects

Palm Beach featured 13 of TCN’s Top 50 prospects in the Cardinals organization throughout the season. They include #7 prospect Tink Hence, #12 prospect Joshua Baez, #14 prospect Inohan Paniagua, #18 prospect Leonardo Bernal, #22 prospect Trent Baker, #23 prospect Jose Davila, #24 prospect Jimmy Crooks III, #25 prospect Zane Mills, #34 prospect Victor Scott II, #35 prospect Patrick Romeri, #36 prospect Jeremy Rivas, #44 prospect Andrew Marrero, and #50 prospect R.J. Yeager.

Notable Contributors

Tink Hence

Tink Hence started 16 times and posted a 1.38 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings pitched for Palm Beach. He led the starters in ERA though he did not officially post enough innings pitched to qualify for the league lead.

Osvaldo Tovalin

Osvaldo Tovalin appeared in just 56 games for the Beach Birds but made a big enough impact to make this list with a slash line of .313/.378/.429, four home runs and 32 runs batted in.

Jeremy Rivas

Jeremy Rivas appeared in 117 games (the most of any Palm Beach player). The shortstop batted for .245 with two home runs, 16 doubles and 37 runs batted in.

Trent Baker

Trent Baker started 25 games, the most for the beach birds in 2022. The starter accumulated 123 innings pitched, 138 strikeouts and posted a 3.14 ERA.

Inohan Paniagua

Inohan Paniagua posted stellar results for Palm Beach prior to being called up to High-A. He logged a 2.18 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and struck out 107 batters in 99 innings for the Cards.

Conclusion

2022 turned out to be a stellar, better than expectations season for Palm Beach. They utilized a deep talent pool of top prospects as well as newcomers; led by a new coaching staff that brought a good philosophy to the ball club. A number of promotions were earned during 2022, making the season an overall success.

Palm Beach filtered through top talent while making the playoffs for the first time in three years. 2022 has to be considered a success by the Cardinals organization.

What is next?

Much more detail on the Palm Beach Cardinals’ top hitters, relievers and starting pitchers is coming as we select the best of the best in upcoming articles in this series.

Check out The Cardinal Nation’s annual article series highlighting team results and top hitters and pitchers across the entire St. Louis Cardinals system. The Peoria Chiefs Team Review is next up.

The Cardinal Nation’s Team Recaps and Top Players of 2022


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Palm Beach playoff recap:

Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 24


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