photo: Victor Scott and Tekoah Roby (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
Eight St. Louis Cardinals prospects participated in the 2023 AFL, including three Fall Stars – Victor Scott, Tekoah Roby and Cooper Hjerpe. Luke Kotcher reviews the final stats for all eight.
The Scottsdale Scorpions (15-14) ended their 2023 Arizona Fall League season on Friday with a loss in the play-in semifinal game. They finished in third place in the six-team AFL.
Victor Scott was the primary center fielder for the Scorpions and batted leadoff in most games. In 84 at-bats, he posted a .286/.388/.417/.805 slash line. TCN’s no. 11 prospect was second in the AFL in stolen bases with 18 in 21 attempts.
At shortstop, Jeremy Rivas played in 21 games for Scottsdale. He hit .230 with one home run and seven walks. The 20-year-old struck out 22 times in 74 at-bats.
Jimmy Crooks scuffled offensively in limited playing time with a .498 OPS in 43 at-bats. Crooks moved among first base, catcher and the designated hitter spot in his 14 games.
Three pitchers were working this fall to get additional innings after missing time in 2023 – Tekoah Roby, Inohan Paniagua and Cooper Hjerpe. Though all three are starters, the latter two worked in relief in the AFL.
Roby was the Cardinals’ designated starting pitcher and posted a 5.93 ERA in five appearances. His batting average against was .263 with a 1.54 WHIP. One positive aspect was the right-hander’s 18 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Working in long relief, Paniagua appeared in six games and 16 2/3 innings, including one spot start. On the downside, he tied for the most home runs surrendered in the AFL at six. Still, Paniagua fanned 17 batters to only six walks and logged a 4.86 ERA.
Hjerpe tossed 8 1/3 innings of relief for the Scorpions. TCN’s no. 7 prospect struck out 15 batters against six walks with a 4.32 ERA.
The Cardinals had two relievers working in the back end of the bullpen. Edwin Nuñez was 2-for-3 in save opportunities in eight games. The 22-year-old posted a 2.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 10 2/3 frames.
Andre Granillo had the lowest ERA among the five Cardinals pitching prospects at 1.80. In 10 innings, TCN’s no. 37 prospect struck out 14 batters with three walks. The big right-hander did have a .310 average against and a 1.60 WHIP but was 3-for-3 in save opportunities.
Scottsdale’s offense ended the season fifth in the six-team AFL in runs scored (149) and last in team OPS (.692). The Scorpions staff had the third-lowest ERA in the league at 4.94.
In Friday’s play-in semifinal, the Scorpions went up 9-0 but lost a heartbreaker to Peoria by a score of 12-9 to end their season.
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