All posts by Blake Newberry

Cardinals Announce Top Players in May

Photo: Alec Burleson (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May, with Memphis Redbirds (AAA) outfielder Alec Burleson and Springfield Cardinals (AA) right-handed starter Gordon Graceffo (gruh-SEFF-oh) taking the honors for the second time in their respective careers.

Burleson, 23, hit for an .357 average (35-for-98), with five home runs, eight doubles, 24 RBI and 16 runs scored in 24 games with Memphis.  His .592 slugging percentage and 58 total bases led all qualified Cardinals minor league hitters for the month, while also ranking first in batting average and RBI.  Burleson finished the month strong, hitting .455 (20-for-44) with five 3+ hit games over his final 10 games, including his second career four-hit performance on May 28 vs. the Iowa Cubs.

“Alec put together an outstanding month offensively, his .980 OPS helped to lead Memphis to their winning month of May,” said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.

The 6’2”, 220-pound Burleson was a 2nd round compensation selection for the Cardinals (70th overall) in 2020 out of East Carolina University where he played both outfield and pitched.  Currently ranked the 9th best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America, Burleson previously earned Minor League Player of the Month honors in his first month of professional baseball in May 2021.  Among all Cardinals minor leaguers through the end of May, Burleson ranked 1st in hits (55) 2nd in average (.327), RBI (38), total bases (99), and 3rd in HR (11) and extra base hits (21).

Graceffo, 22, posted a 2-2 record with a 1.45 ERA (5 ER/31.0 IP), 0.84 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts to just three walks over his five May starts (four with High-A Peoria Chiefs and one with Double-A Springfield).  After earning a promotion to Springfield on May 23, Graceffo made his Double-A debut on May 27 at Tulsa, earning the win while allow two runs on six hits and striking out four over 7.0 innings.  He is the first Cardinals pitcher to win back-to-back Pitcher of the Month honors since LHP Austin Gomber (August 2017 & April 2018) and first to do so in the same calendar year since LHP Bud Smith (July & August 2000).

“Gordon’s month of May was highlighted by five quality starts and his well-deserved promotion to Double-A Springfield,” stated LaRocque.

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round (150th overall) in 2021 out of Villanova University, the 6’4” starter led all Cardinals minor league pitchers in ERA (1.20), wins (4), strikeouts (60), WHIP (0.70) and innings pitched (52.2) through the first two months of the season.  He currently ranks as the 10th best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America and did not allow more than two runs in any of his first nine starts this year.

Blake Newberry’s Take

We’ll start with the Pitcher of the Month, since the Cardinals and I both agreed that Gordon Graceffo is the top choice. He dominated High-A competition with Peoria and then was unfazed in his Double-A debut. He was the top starter in the system and completely deserving of the Pitcher of the Month honor.

Gordon Graceffo

It regards to the Hitter of the Month, Alec Burleson is a fine choice, though I chose Jordan Walker. The Memphis outfielder led all finalists in hits (35), RBI (24) batting average (.357), and slugging percentage (.592) while leading the way for the Memphis Redbirds lineup.

Alec Burleson

Burleson was chosen 70th overall in the 2020 MLB draft, but had to wait until 2021 to make his professional debut.  That didn’t effect him much, though, as all he’s done since joining the organization is hit. He reached Triple-A by the end of his first season, though his 81 wRC+ meant that he was less productive at the highest minor league level than he was in the previous two.

He debuted at High-A Peoria and tallied a 153 wRC+, a sign of his advanced bat coming out of college. He was then promoted to Double-A Springfield where he was still 16% above league average as a hitter (116 wRC+).

This season, he has proven that his Triple-A struggles in 2021 are nothing to be concerned about, as he has a 153 wRC+ while crushing 12 home runs and striking out in just over 13% of his plate appearances.

Jordan Walker

In my assessment, he finished in a close second to Jordan Walker, who led all finalists in walks (16), OBP (.418) and OPS (.996) in May. Ultimately, there is not a wrong choice as both players excelled last month.

If Burleson keeps playing the way he has been, then he may be looking at a major league debut in 2022.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Memphis Redbirds Notebook – 2022 Week 9


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Cardinals Shuffle Pitching Staff

Photo: Johan Oviedo (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced a series of roster moves prior to this afternoon’s game at Chicago.

The team announced that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo from Memphis (AAA) and selected the contract of rookie left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson from Memphis.

Pitchers Matthew Liberatore and Kodi Whitley were optioned to Memphis following last night’s game, and Memphis infielder Kramer Robertson has been designated for assignment to make room for Thompson on the 40-player Major League roster.

In addition, outfielder Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement) will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Memphis and outfielder Dylan Carlson (left hamstring strain) will begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Springfield (AA).  O’Neill has been out since May 18, missing 14 games, and Carlson has been sidelined since May 22, missing 11 games.

Oviedo, 24, has appeared in 19 games (18 starts) with the Cardinals since debuting in 2020.  The 6-5, 260-pound Cuba native was 4-2 with a 5.58 ERA in 10 starts for Memphis this season.  Thompson, the Cardinals 1st round draft selection (19th overall) in 2019, will become the 9th Cardinal to debut this season with his first game appearance.  The 24-year-old University of Kentucky alum was 2-2 with a 4.67 ERA in his 10 starts for Memphis season.

Oviedo wears uniform no. 59 and Thompson no. 57.

Blake Newberry’s take

With a doubleheader approaching on Saturday, the Cardinals will need innings. Fresh off his start yesterday, Liberatore would have been unable to help the rest of the series, and after struggling mightily in two of his first three starts, he was a relatively easy choice to send to Memphis.

Matthew Liberatore

Whitley also didn’t do himself any favors by allowing three runs on four hits and three walks in 2 ⅔ since being recalled from Memphis.

Kodi Whitley

The Cardinals have not yet announced who will start on Saturday. Packy Naughton would be due for a start considering that Saturday would be the fifth day since his last appearance, but he is far from a regular member of the rotation.

Oviedo’s last start for Memphis was on May 28th, so he should be well rested for Saturday, meaning that he could take the ball to open a game. Zack Thompson last pitched on May 31st, so he is probably not a candidate to start.

My guess is that the Cardinals will have Naughton start one game on Saturday and have Oviedo start the other, though one or both of those games could see the starter pulled early in favor of a bullpen approach.

Beyond the approaching innings complication, the Cardinals are simply looking for pitchers who can get outs as Nick Wittgren, Drew VerHagen, Kodi Whitley, and T.J. McFarland have been inconsistent at best.

Really, only Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, and Andre Pallante have established themselves as reliable options. Bringing up a pair of fresh arms from Memphis is a chance to alleviate that problem.

Oviedo has not had the strongest season with the Redbirds, tallying a 5.58 ERA and 6.68 FIP, but he was already on the 40-man roster which made him easy to move.

Johan Oviedo

Thompson has been better, though his 4.67 ERA in Triple-A is inflated by a disastrous last start in which he surrendered six runs (three earned) and didn’t escape the first inning.

The former first round pick has a more respectable 3.98 FIP and has bounced back in a big way after struggling with an aggressive Triple-A assignment in 2021. He will likely serve as a lefty out of the bullpen.

Zack Thompson

This could be a boost for the Cardinals, who have struggled to get production out of their left-handers as T.J. McFarland has a 7.65 ERA and Genesis Cabrera’s strong ERA (2.14) is portended by a 5.38 FIP.

In order to add Thompson to the 40-man roster, someone needed to be removed. Kramer Robertson is the casualty that allows the left-hander to join St. Louis, though Robertson will almost certainly remain in Triple-A if he clears waivers.

Kramer Robertson

Rehab Assignments

Tyler O’Neill has been out of the lineup for over two weeks dealing with a shoulder issue. He may only need a short rehab since he didn’t miss too much time, but that will depend on how he feels when he begins playing in Memphis.

Tyler O’Neill

Fellow outfielder Dylan Carlson is also on the path to returning to St. Louis and he will begin his rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield. Like O’Neill, Carlson may not need long since he has only missed around two weeks. Hamstring injuries can linger, though, and Carlson will need to feel comfortable before returning to St. Louis.

Dylan Carlson

Both O’Neill and Carlson have had their fair share of struggles this season, so the injury time and the rehab assignment could be their time to find their swings and return to form. If they don’t, playing time will become harder to earn, considering the increased competition from rookies Juan Yepez and Brendan Donovan.

For more

To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Follow Blake Newberry on Twitter @bt_newberry.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation’s May 2022 Hitter of the Month – Jordan Walker

Photo: Jordan Walker (Springfield Cardinals Fanatic Photos)

It is again time to select The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Month. This article covers play during May across the four full-season affiliates. The two short-season rookie level clubs will not be considered since they have not yet begun play.

This was a close decision as the top two prospects were neck-and-neck all month. One led all finalists in average and slugging while the other led in OBP and OPS. Ultimately, it is Jordan Walker who earned the crown, with Alec Burleson coming up just short.

As a reminder, this is NOT the “Pitcher of the Month Among Top Prospects”. Every player in the system has an equal chance, with only their performance during the month used to differentiate the best of the best. Age and level, which are key prospect considerations, are not factors here.

Guidelines

To qualify, a player must have had at least 50 plate appearances in April. To make the list of finalists an OPS over .810 was required, a much lower mark than last month (.900) as there were fewer offensive breakouts.

There are nine finalists from all four full season levels, with Peoria only represented by the recently promoted Masyn Winn, who now suits up for Springfield. The strongest affiliate was Triple-A Memphis, as the team has five of the nine finalists on its roster.

We will take two views of the data. The first look will be at rate stats, followed by counting stats. Names are listed in the same sequence in both tables, in descending OPS order. Leaders are bolded.

Rate Stats – Finalists

Hitter Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jordan Walker Springfield .311 .418 .578 .996
Alec Burleson Memphis .357 .388 .592 .980
Masyn Winn Peoria/Springfield .316 .367 .571 .938
Conner Capel Memphis .317 .371 .476 .847
Nolan Gorman Memphis .271 ..338 .508 .846
Ben Deluzio Memphis .257 .353 .486 .839
Luken Baker Memphis .245 .308 .511 .819
Osvaldo Tovalin Palm Beach .298 .359 .457 .816
Brady Whalen Palm Beach .284 .372 .444 .816

Only three batters broke the .900 OPS mark – Jordan Walker, Alec Burleson, and Masyn Winn. The other finalists all had fine months, but they do not measure up to this trio, so these are the only three names that I seriously considered for the title of Player of the Month.

Winn’s season-opening success earned him a promotion to Springfield at the end of May, and all he did was knock two home runs, one inside the park and one way over the fence, in his first seven games in Double-A. Still, each of his slash numbers lagged behind Burleson and Walker, leaving him short of earning the monthly honor.

Burleson led all finalists in batting average by a wide margin as he batted .357 while no one else cleared .320. His .388 OBP was the second best among finalists, behind Walker’s, and though his slugging percentage edged Walker’s, he finished a touch behind in OPS.

Alec Burleson

Walker was the only finalist to clear .400 in OBP and his .418 OBP was 30 points better than Burleson’s. Walker was also one of two finalists, with the other being Burleson, to rise above a .575 slugging percentage.

Even though the former first round pick finished second in slugging, he still showed more pure power than Burleson as his isolated power (.267) was 32 points higher than the Memphis outfielder’s. It is this combination of on-base skills and power that earned Jordan Walker our May Player of the Month recognition.

Further down the table, Conner Capel and Brady Whalen finished with OBPs above .370, which actually was better than Masyn Winn. Whalen and teammate Osvaldo Tovalin carried the Palm Beach lineup this month, and their impressive performances are even more impressive considering that the Florida State League generally saps power with its MLB sized stadiums and winds near the Florida coast.

Brady Whalen

Counting Stats – Finalists

Hitter Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS
Jordan Walker Springfield 24 90 23 28 11 2 3 14 16 25 4 2
Alec Burleson Memphis 24 98 16 35 8 0 5 24 3 14 2 0
Masyn Winn Peoria/Springfield 25 98 16 31 13 3 2 11 8 24 8 0
Conner Capel Memphis 20 82 11 26 6 2 1 10 7 22 4 2
Nolan Gorman Memphis 15 59 12 16 2 0 4 7 6 23 2 0
Ben DeLuzio Memphis 21 74 12 19 6 1 3 15 7 20 10 0
Luken Baker Memphis 25 94 12 23 4 0 7 18 8 24 0 0
Osvaldo Tovalin Palm Beach 25 94 17 28 5 2 2 14 6 14 0 0
Brady Whalen Palm Beach 24 81 12 23 4 0 3 12 10 17 2 0

Walker’s excellent OBP is explained by the fact that he led all finalists in walks with 16. The next closest finalist was Whalen, who had 10. Undoubtedly, this contributed to him leading all finalists in runs. However, despite the high walk total, he also led the table in strikeouts, though that’s justified a little bit by the fact that he was tied for the most plate appearances.

Another highlight is Burleson’s 35 hits. He led the entire system in hits in the month of May as he averaged almost a hit and a half per game. He hit practically everything that was thrown at him as he tied for the fewest strikeouts among finalists as well while hitting the second most home runs, behind only Luken Baker.

Luken Baker

On that note, Luken Baker really tapped into his power in the last month as his seven homers far surpassed his two in the prior month. He seems to have broken out of his extended slump that lasted through all of April and into May.

Two more of Baker’s teammates are worth noticing. Like Baker, Conner Capel broke out of an April slump with a strong May and his success was joined by that of speedster Ben Deluzio, who stole 10 bases in May, which only trailed Mike Antico’s 13 for Peoria for the most in the organization last month.

Ben DeLuzio

Though Baker may have led all finalists in home runs, Winn took the crown in both doubles and triples as his combination of speed and power helped him take plenty of extra bases. This helped give him the third highest slugging percentage despite only hitting two homers in the month (only one of which left the park).

Masyn Winn

TCN’s May Player of the Month – Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker’s stellar professional career continued in May with him dominating the Double-A level despite being over four years younger than his average competition. The 21st overall pick from 2020 has blazed through the minors, debuting in 2021 and crushing both Single-A levels before earning his Double-A debut at the start of this season and hitting the ground running.

Jordan Walker

Walker’s .996 OPS was an improvement on his measly .817 mark in April, the second worst monthly OPS of his career. That’s right. He’s only ever finished a month with a sub-.800 OPS once in his career. That’s not too shabby.

TCN’s 2nd ranked prospect was not a finalist for the award last month, but he still had a strong performance. He took the extra step this month with an OPS just shy of 1.000 to earn our Player of the Month honors due to his strong blend of power and on-base skills.

How April’s Winner Fared in May

Moisés Gómez followed up his outstanding April with another strong month, posting a .799 OPS in May, While that wasn’t good enough to make him a finalist for our Player of the Month again, and it was a significant step down from his inaugural month in the organization, it was still a respectable effort.

Moisés Gómez

The outfielder clubbed six home runs, which put him second to only Luken Baker in May. His 15 RBI were tied for the most among Springfield hitters, and he crossed the plate the second most times for the Double-A affiliate behind only Jordan Walker.

The powerful 23-year-old struck out a whopping 35 times in 101 plate appearances (34.7% K-rate), which was a marked increase from April when he fanned 18 times in 70 appearances (25.7% K-rate). He did walk nine times and was hit by three pitches, which helped him raise his OBP to .327 despite a .226 average.

On the season, Gómez still has an OPS over 1.000 (1.096), 17 home runs, and a wRC+ of 163 at the Double-A level.

What’s Next

This concludes our Pitcher and Player of the Month selections for May. The St. Louis Cardinals should follow soon with their picks for the best minor league pitcher and the top hitter in May, which will be updated here.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 8


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Blake Newberry on Twitter @bt_newberry.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation’s May 2022 Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo

photo: Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

It is again time to select The Cardinal Nation’s Pitcher of the Month. This article covers play during May across the four full-season affiliates. The two short-season rookie level clubs will not be considered since they have not yet begun play.

As a reminder, this is NOT the “Pitcher of the Month Among Top Prospects”. Every player in the system has an equal chance, with only their performance during the month used to differentiate the best of the best. Age and level, which are key prospect considerations, are not factors here.

Guidelines

To qualify, a pitcher must have thrown at least 10 innings during May. To make the list of finalists, an ERA below 3.00 was required.  The group broke out into five pitchers with ERAs between 1.00 and 1.99 and three between 2.00 and 2.99.

Counting Stats

Of the eight finalists, three are starters and five are relievers, covering all four full season levels of the minor leagues, though Springfield is only represented via a late-month promotion. The two Single-A levels tied for the most representatives with three each.

Four finalists posted an April ERA under 1.50, so it’s not a surprise that the Pitcher of the Month came from that group.

In the following table, finalist names are listed in ascending ERA order. Leaders are bolded.

Pitcher Team W L ERA G GS SV SVO IP H R ER HR BB K
Trent Baker Palm Beach 2 2 1.29 5 5 0 0 28 19 8 4 1 14 35
Nathanael Heredia Peoria 0 0 1.32 8 0 0 0 13.2 6 3 2 0 8 21
Jose Moreno Palm Beach 0 1 1.35 7 1 1 1 20 16 4 3 0 13 26
Gordon Graceffo Peoria/Springfield 2 2 1.45 5 5 0 0 31 23 6 5 0 3 30
John Beller Peoria 1 0 1.98 6 1 1 1 13.2 6 3 3 2 3 24
Tommy Parsons Memphis 2 0 2.03 8 0 0 0 13.1 8 3 3 2 2 7
Inohan Paniagua Palm Beach 1 2 2.67 5 5 0 0 27 31 12 8 2 11 25
Brandon Waddell Memphis 2 0 2.91 11 0 1 1 12.1 10 4 4 0 7 17

From this table, a list of four candidates rise above the rest – Trent Baker, Nathanael Heredia, Jose Moreno, and Gordon Graceffo. Baker has the lowest ERA but he also surrendered the most runs with four earned and four unearned. He has the most walks as well, but that goes with the most strikeouts.

Trent Baker

Heredia had the fewest hits and runs allowed but also the fewest innings of the four. That comes with the territory of being a reliever. Fellow reliever Moreno had a strong month, but his 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t the most impressive. Though he threw more innings than Heredia, the Peoria reliever has been more dominant.

Nathanael Heredia

Graceffo has the highest ERA of the four, but he also pitched the most innings, averaging over six innings per start. His five earned runs are one more than Baker’s but his six total runs allowed are two fewer. Additionally, he walked just three batters, which is fewer free passes than Heredia handed out in less than half the innings.

Further down the table, John Beller impressed out of Peoria’s bullpen with 24 strikeouts and only three walks. He did allow a pair of home runs, though, which is tied for the most among finalists. Beller has now earned a spot in Peoria’s rotation. Also allowing a pair of home runs was Tommy Parsons, who had the lowest ERA among Memphis’ arms and handed out the fewest walks.

Tommy Parsons

Rate Stats

In the following table, finalist names are listed in ascending batting average against (Avg.) order. Leaders are bolded.

Pitcher Team BAA HBP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 K9 K/BB
John Beller Peoria .125 1 0.66 4.0 1.3 2.0 15.8 8.0
Nathanael Heredia Peoria .133 1 1.02 4.0 0.0 5.3 13.8 2.6
Tommy Parsons Memphis .174 0 0.75 5.4 1.4 1.4 4.7 3.5
Trent Baker Palm Beach .190 0 1.18 6.1 0.3 4.5 11.3 2.5
Gordon Graceffo Peoria/Springfield .207 2 0.84 6.7 0.0 0.9 8.7 10.0
Jose Moreno Palm Beach .229 0 1.45 7.2 0.0 5.9 11.7 2.0
Brandon Waddell Memphis .250 0 1.46 8.0 0.0 5.1 12.4 2.4
Inohan Paniagua Palm Beach .295 4 1.56 10.3 0.7 3.7 8.3 2.3

Beller’s impressive month really stands out in this table. He led all finalists in WHIP, batting average against, and strikeouts per nine innings, while tying for the lead in hits per nine and finishing second in strikeout to walk ratio. This is enough to vault him into serious consideration for the Pitcher of the Month award, but not enough for him to win.

John Beller

Heredia’s strikeout rate of 13.8 is just short of Beller’s, but Heredia walked a few too many hitters, which raised his WHIP above 1.00.

Palm Beach starter Inohan Paniagua had the highest batting average against by a wide margin as it approached .300, which, when combined with his 3.7 walks per nine innings, gave him the highest WHIP at over 1.50. He still finished with a solid 2.67 ERA out of the Palm Beach rotation.

Inohan Paniagua

Graceffo also shines on this table, tying for the lead in home runs per nine innings with none and finishing top in walk rate and K/BB. He was one of only three finalists with a WHIP under 1.00, the other two being Beller and Parsons.

Despite leading all finalists in ERA, Baker was middle of the road in most of the rate stats. This was enough for him to not take the honors for the month as he was edged by Graceffo.

TCN’s May Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo

Graceffo’s impeccable control led the way for him again as he walked fewer than one batter per nine innings in May, though his walk rate actually more than doubled from 0.4 in April to 0.9 in May.

I’ll admit that I was hesitant to award the honors to Graceffo again after so many impressive performances from other pitchers, but he made it impossible for someone to take the crown from him. Trent Baker benefited from a pitcher-friendly Florida State League and actually allowed more runs than Graceffo.

Graceffo was more dominant overall with many fewer walks, fewer runs allowed, and a much better strikeout-to-walk ratio in more innings and longer starts on average.

Gordon Graceffo

Heredia and Beller each had strong months but Graceffo had a lower ERA than Beller in more than twice the innings. Heredia also walked more than twice as many batters than Graceffo in less than half the innings.

If there’s one area in which Graceffo lagged behind, it’s strikeouts, but his rate of 8.7 per nine innings wasn’t terrible and he excelled in every other area. Though he was fourth in ERA among finalists, it was only .16 points behind the leader, Baker. A pair of relievers also had slightly better ERAs than Graceffo, but the significantly higher innings total works in Graceffo’s favor as it’s much harder to keep a sub-1.50 ERA out of the rotation.

Graceffo’s ERA actually rose from last month, from 0.83 to 1.45, but he made an extra start and threw nearly 10 more innings. It was another impressive month in what has been an impressive professional career for Graceffo, and it earned him a promotion to Double-A, where he tossed a gem in his first outing, lasting seven innings and surrendering two runs.

The Cardinal Nation’s 12th-ranked prospect has torn his way through the minors and established himself as one of the hottest prospects in the Cardinals system. If he keeps up this level of success, he may see Memphis by the end of the year, though it’s still too early to tell.

What’s Next

I’ll be back on Thursday with our Player of the Month. The St. Louis Cardinals should follow soon with their picks for the best minor league pitcher and the top hitter in May.

June 2 Update

In the original article, I failed to include Ryan Loutos, whose strong performances earned him a promotion from  High-A Peoria to Double-A Springfield.

Ryan Loutos

In May, the reliever threw 12 innings and allowed just one run for an ERA of 0.75. He struck out 10.5 batters per nine innings and walked just three in a dominant performance last month.

Though his numbers were not enough to overcome our winner, Gordon Graceffo, they were certainly impressive enough to be highlighted.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2022 Week 8


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Blake Newberry on Twitter @bt_newberry.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation’s April 2022 Player of the Month – Moisés Gómez

Photo: Moisés Gómez (Springfield Cardinals Fanatic Photos)

It is time to select The Cardinal Nation’s first Player of the Month for the 2022 season. This article covers play during April across the four full-season affiliates. The two short-season rookie level clubs will not be considered since they have not yet begun play.

As a reminder, this is NOT the “Pitcher of the Month Among Top Prospects”. Every player in the system has an equal chance, with only their performance during the month used to differentiate the best of the best. Age and level, which are key prospect considerations, are not factors here.

There is very little drama in this decision, so I’ll just say it upfront. Springfield outfielder Moisés Gómez is the Player of the Month after a scintillating first month in the organization.

Guidelines

To qualify, a player must have had at least 50 plate appearances in April. To make the list of finalists an OPS over .900 was required, a high mark which demonstrates the hitting excellence of these finalists this month. There are eight finalists from three levels, with Palm Beach the only team not represented, which is unsurprising considering the pitcher friendly nature of the Florida State League.

We will take two views of the data. The first look will be at rate stats, followed by counting stats. Names are listed in the same sequence in both tables, in descending OPS order. Leaders are bolded.

Rate Stats – Finalists

Hitter Team AVG OBP SLG OPS
Moisés Gómez Springfield .412 .453 .985 1.438
Nolan Gorman Memphis .338 .390 .811 1.201
Masyn Winn Peoria .393 .458 .656 1.114
Pedro Pages Springfield .333 .442 .619 1.061
Juan Yepez Memphis .280 .326 .634 .960
Alec Burleson Memphis .286 .351 .586 .937
Chase Pinder Springfield .304 .394 .518 .912
Jacob Buchberger Peoria .381 .451 .460 .911

An impressive six of the eight finalists batted above .300 with Moisés Gómez the sole member of the .400 club. Exactly half of the finalists OBP’ed over .450 and four also OPS’ed over 1.000. This was a great month for a number of prospects, but none more so than Gómez, whose slugging percentage was higher than all but four players in the system (min 50 PAs).

Gómez led in every rate stat except for on-base percentage, topped only by Masyn Winn, who also had the second highest batting average.

Nolan Gorman put his power on display with a slugging percentage of .811, which would normally lead the system by a substantial margin. Gomez’s red-hot April is the only thing that kept Gorman in second for the first month of the season.

Nolan Gorman

Most of the players on this list are corner players who need to have strong bats to provide value. Pedro Pages, Chase Pinder and Winn are the exceptions as the latter two play up the middle and the former is a catcher. It’s a good sign for the system that it got excellent offensive production from the most demanding defensive positions.

Chase Pinder

Counting Stats – Finalists

Hitter Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS
Moisés Gómez Springfield 18 68 22 28 6 0 11 25 6 22 1 0
Nolan Gorman Memphis 19 74 19 25 2 0 11 16 6 27 1 0
Masyn Winn Peoria 16 61 12 24 3 5 1 12 9 12 10 0
Pedro Pages Springfield 14 42 7 14 3 0 3 12 9 12 1 0
Juan Yepez Memphis 21 82 14 23 5 0 8 23 5 21 0 0
Alec Burleson Memphis 18 70 15 20 1 1 6 14 7 12 1 0
Chase Pinder Springfield 15 56 12 17 3 0 3 9 9 15 0 1
Jacob Buchberger Peoria 18 63 8 24 2 0 1 16 8 13 4 0

Moisés Gómez and Nolan Gorman not only led the Cardinals organization in home runs in April with 11, they also led all of the minor leagues.

Gómez also topped the organization in runs scored and RBI, which isn’t surprising considering he had the second highest OBP in the system to go with his 11 home runs. He also hit six doubles as his power onslaught was not limited to balls that cleared the fence.

Another way to see Gómez’ April dominance is by looking at his ratio of games played to runs scored. The outfielder averaged over one run per game, making him a huge part of Springfield’s offense. The 23-year-old was the Texas League Player of the Week for each of the first two weeks of the season – another indication of dominance!

Gorman had the dubious distinction of leading the organization in strikeouts as his power came with some swing and miss. Our top ranked Cardinals prospect had nine multi-strikeout outings, including a pair of games in which he fanned three times. Don’t let that detract too much from his incredible month, though.

Juan Yepez didn’t quite match the power output of Gómez and Gorman, but his eight long balls and 23 RBI made him a force to be reckoned within the heart of the Memphis batting order.

Juan Yepez

Masyn Winn, the system leader in OBP, took a different route to high end production as he tied for the lead in walks among finalists while stealing 10 bases in 10 attempts and legging out five triples. Given the rarity of the triple in the modern game, this is no mean feat. Winn’s on-base skills and speed made for a deadly combination for opposing pitchers this month.

Masyn Winn

Pages and Pinder tied Winn for the lead in walks and Pages also tied Winn and Alec Burleson for the fewest strikeouts among the group of finalists.

TCN’s Player of the Month – Moisés Gómez

Moisés Gómez is a newcomer to the Cardinals organization, joining via free agency this winter. Thus, he is our Player of the Month in his first month of action with his new organization. That’s a great way to endear yourself to decision makers!

Moisés Gómez

His first and only other organization was the Rays, who signed him out of Venezuela and allowed him to make his professional debut at the age of 16. Gómez dominated the Venezuelan Winter League (which no longer exists) in 2015 but then struggled more as he advanced through the various rookie ball levels.

The slugger really found his power once he hit full-season ball, clubbing 19 long balls and tallying a .223 ISO in 2018 at Single-A.

It was this performance that really put him on the prospect map. Baseball America ranked him as the 10th best prospect in the Rays system prior to the start of the 2019 season. Gómez was unable to repeat his success in High-A, but he didn’t have a bad year by any means, finishing with 16 home runs and a 106 wRC+, making him a slightly above league average hitter at the level.

Moises Gomez (Springfield Cardinals)

He bumped down to 15th in Baseball America’s ranking the following year before a disastrous 2021 season in Double-A in which his strikeout rate ballooned over 38%, his batting average fell way below the Mendoza Line (.171) and wRC+ was a measly 58.

The lost 2020 minor league season may have been a detriment, but he has certainly bounced back so far in 2022. He has plenty of pop and has dropped his strikeout rate below 30% for the first time since A-ball. Gómez should be well on his way to a new career high for home runs in a season, as he needs just nine the rest of the year to break his previous high of 19.

There were plenty of strong candidates for this recognition but Gómez stood head and shoulders above the rest of the field after dominating Double-A competition. He is the clear choice and a deserving winner of our Player of the Month award.

What’s Next

The St. Louis Cardinals should follow soon with their picks for the best pitcher and the best hitter in April. The Cardinals’ choices will be posted here when they are announced.

Related Article

The Cardinal Nation’s April 2022 Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo


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The Cardinal Nation’s April 2022 Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo

Photo: Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

It is time to select The Cardinal Nation’s first Pitcher of the Month for the 2022 season. This article covers play during April across the four full-season affiliates. The two short-season rookie level clubs will not be considered since they have not yet begun play.

As a reminder, this is NOT the “Pitcher of the Month Among Top Prospects”. Every player in the system has an equal chance, with only their performance during the month used to differentiate the best of the best. Age and level, which are key prospect considerations, are not factors here.

Guidelines

To qualify, a pitcher must have thrown at least 10 innings during April. To make the list of finalists, an ERA below 3.00 was required.  The group broke out into five with ERAs between 1.00 and 1.99 and six between 2.00 and 2.99.

Counting Stats

Of the 12 finalists, seven are starters and five are relievers, covering three levels of the minor leagues, with only Springfield not having a representative. Notably, 3/5 of the Peoria rotation made the group of finalists while Single-A Palm Beach has the most representatives with five.

Three finalists posted an April ERA under 1.00, and it’s not a surprise that the Pitcher of the Month came from that group.

In the following table, finalist names are listed in ascending ERA order. Leaders are bolded.

Pitcher Team W L ERA G GS SV SVO IP H R ER HR BB K
Michael McGreevy Peoria 1 0 0.76 4 4 0 0 23.2 13 2 2 1 1 25
Gordon Graceffo Peoria 2 0 0.83 4 4 0 0 21.2 10 2 2 1 1 30
Jake Walsh Memphis 1 0 0.90 8 0 5 5 10.0 5 2 1 0 5 13
Jose Moreno Palm Beach 0 1 1.38 4 3 0 0 13.0 13 5 2 0 10 12
Packy Naughton Memphis 1 0 1.80 5 0 0 0 10.0 12 2 2 1 2 12
Andre Granillo Palm Beach 3 0 1.80 6 0 1 1 10 4 2 2 2 6 19
Dionys Rodriguez Peoria 0 1 2.00 4 4 0 0 18.0 11 4 4 1 10 21
Inohan Paniagua Palm Beach 0 1 2.14 4 4 0 0 21.0 13 10 5 0 5 28
Edgar Manzo Palm Beach 0 0 2.31 6 0 0 0 11.2 10 3 3 1 5 8
Angel Rondon Memphis 1 0 2.84 6 0 0 1 12.2 11 4 4 2 7 15
Connor Thomas Memphis 1 0 2.87 4 4 0 0 15.2 17 7 5 1 13 3
Zane Mills Palm Beach 1 1 2.96 4 4 0 0 24.1 22 9 8 2 3 16

From this table, it’s clear that the race between Michael McGreevy and Gordon Graceffo was a tight one. They both allowed only two earned runs and threw over 20 innings, though McGreevy tossed two more than Graceffo, hence the slight ERA difference. The two draftmates also tied for the fewest walks allowed this month among finalists.

Michael McGreevy

Graceffo collected five more strikeouts than his teammate in fewer innings and that helped him gain an edge despite having an ERA just a few notches higher.

Jake Walsh has been a force out of the Memphis bullpen, allowing just one earned run in eight appearances and going a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

Jake Walsh

Jose Moreno had a good month in terms of ERA, but he allowed three unearned runs and walked nearly as many hitters as he struck out. In this analysis, he was worth mentioning but he was toward the bottom of the finalists.

Jose Moreno

Inohan Paniagua is also someone whose success may be a little deceiving. His 2.14 ERA doesn’t factor in five unearned runs, though he did have an impressive 28 strikeouts compared to just five walks.

Inohan Paniagua

Both Paniagua and Moreno are pitching in Single-A, where the defense can be inconsistent, so it’s not a huge surprise to see a larger discrepancy between ERA and RA/9 (like ERA but factors in unearned runs).

Rate Stats

In the following table, finalist names are listed in ascending batting average against (Avg.) order. Leaders are bolded.

Pitcher Team BAA HBP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 K9 K/BB
Andre Granillo Palm Beach .121 0 1.00 3.6 1.8 5.4 17.1 3.2
Gordon Graceffo Peoria .133 0 0.51 4.2 0.4 0.4 12.5 30.0
Jake Walsh Memphis .147 0 1.00 4.5 0.0 4.5 11.7 2.6
Michael McGreevy Peoria .159 0 0.59 4.9 0.4 0.4 9.5 25.0
Dionys Rodriguez Peoria .169 0 1.17 5.5 0.5 5.0 10.5 2.1
Inohan Paniagua Palm Beach .171 4 0.86 5.6 0.0 2.1 12.0 5.6
Angel Rondon Memphis .229 0 1.42 7.8 1.4 5.0 10.7 2.1
Edgar Manzo Palm Beach .238 0 1.29 7.7 0.8 3.9 6.2 1.6
Zane Mills Palm Beach .244 2 1.03 8.1 0.7 1.1 5.9 5.3
Jose Moreno Palm Beach .260 1 1.77 9.0 0.0 6.9 8.3 1.2
Connor Thomas Memphis .283 1 1.28 9.8 0.6 1.7 7.5 4.3
Packy Naughton Memphis .300 0 1.40 10.8 0.9 1.8 10.8 6.0

It is this table which really shows Graceffo’s advantages over McGreevy. McGreevy edged him slightly on walks allowed per nine innings, but Graceffo took the crown in WHIP and K/BB ratio among all finalists. This explains why his FIP (1.54) was much better than McGreevy’s (2.13) even though his ERA was a touch higher. Graceffo was also stingier in allowing hits than McGreevy.

Speaking of being stingy against hits, Palm Beach reliever Andre Granillo was nearly unhittable this month, leading all finalists with 3.6 hits per nine and a .121 batting average against. He also was the leader in K9 by a wide margin as the next closest pitcher to his 17.1 mark was Graceffo (12.5), who was short by nearly five strikeouts per nine innings.

Andre Granillo

Both Graceffo and McGreevy had eye-popping K/BB ratios, but Graceffo’s 30-to-1 ratio this month had the edge as he showed great stuff to go along with strong control.

Three of the top five pitchers in terms of BAA were Peoria starters as Dionys Rodriguez joined the group by allowing a batting average below .170. This is a great sign for the Cardinals High-A affiliate as the Peoria rotation has gotten off to a hot start.

Dionys Rodriguez

On the other end of the table, Packy Naughton was promoted to St. Louis despite allowing Triple-A hitters to bat .300 against him. Connor Thomas’ BAA of .283 was not much better, but it’s not surprising to see a pair of pitch-to-contact arms at the bottom of the table.

TCN’s Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo

Gordon Graceffo was the Cardinals’ 5th Round pick in the 2021 MLB draft. He began his professional career with 26 innings in Single-A Palm Beach last year and pitched well enough to be named TCN’s System-wide Rookie Pitcher of the Year after posting a 1.73 ERA and 2.72 FIP.

Gordon Graceffo

In college, Graceffo dominated Big East competition in Villanova’s rotation. He was a three-year starter and compiled a 1.51 ERA in his final two years, though he made only 15 starts in that time.

Following his impressive debut, TCN ranked him as the 17th best prospect in the system to open 2022 and bumped up three spots in the April re-ranking. If he continues to pitch like this, he won’t peak there.

The 22-year-old right-hander has always had great command, as evidenced by his low walk rates in college and to open this season, but he added plenty of velocity since being drafted. Scouts clocked him around 93 mph in his final year of college, but in Spring Training this year, Graceffo touched 100. An uptick in stuff to go with excellent command makes Graceffo an intriguing prospect who could be a candidate to rise quickly.

For now, though, he’ll simply focus on continuing to dominate High-A competition and earn a promotion to Double-A. He appears well on track to do that.

Graceffo fully earned the honor of being TCN’s Pitcher of the Month and he deserves recognition for his excellent performances.

What’s Next

I’ll be back tomorrow to name our Player of the Month. The St. Louis Cardinals should follow soon with their picks for the best pitcher and the best hitter in April.


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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 31

photo: Steven Matz (Rhona Wise/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system went 1-3 in spring games on Thursday as Memphis claimed the only victory. All four affiliates combined to score just seven runs as it was a slow day on offense for most hitters. That excludes Evan Mendoza who clubbed a home run and reached base two more times, via walk and hit by pitch, for Memphis.

Memphis also benefitted from Cardinals starter Steven Matz pitching six shutout innings.


Pitcher of the Day – Steven Matz

Steven Matz (St. Louis Cardinals)

Steven Matz has only thrown 3 ⅔ innings across two starts in Spring Training with the Cardinals, but he was sent to minor league Spring Training on Thursday to get some innings and he performed very well. The left-hander tossed six scoreless innings while allowing just a pair of walks and a pair of hits and fanning seven. 

The length of the start is notable since Opening Day is now less than a week away. It is good for the Cardinals that Matz was able to handle six innings and show that he is ready for the season to begin.

Matz is an established MLB pitcher, so it should not be surprising that he pitched well against minor league competition. Still, after a rough pair of outings at the major league level, getting through six clean innings with Memphis is a good sign as the season approaches. 

The honorable mention goes to Trent Baker, who fanned five and allowed just one base runner in three innings for Palm Beach.


Hitter of the Day – Evan Mendoza

Evan Mendoza (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

For a hitter without much power, Mendoza has shown an ability to clear the fence and collect extra bases this spring. He hit a home run in his only at-bat on Thursday while reaching base a total of three times as he added a walk and a hit by pitch. 

The infielder has hit 14 career home runs in four seasons and had an ISO of .048. He could definitely stand to add power to his game as he is so glove first that he borders on being glove-only. He has plenty of versatility too, so his bat is the only thing holding him back.

The honorable mentions go to Ben DeLuzio, who tallied a triple and a single, and Chandler Redmond, who reached base three times for Springfield. 


Memphis (3) vs Jacksonville (1)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Steven Matz 6 2 0 2 7 Signed a 4-year, $44 million contract in the offseason after collecting 2.8 fWAR in 2021 with the Blue Jays
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Evan Mendoza INF 1 1 1 2 1 (also an HBP) Slick fielder has continued to show more power in camp
Justin Toerner OF 1 1 Received an invite to major league spring training in 2021 but not in 2022
Ben Deluzio OF 3 2 1 Selected in the minor league Rule V Draft earlier in the offseason

Springfield (2) vs Pensacola (4)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
T.J. Zeuch 3 ⅓  1 2 4 4 Started the game for Springfield, started in five of his nine appearances in Memphis last season
Angel Rondon 9 4 4 2 1 6 TCN’s and the Cardinals’ Pitcher of the Year in 2019 did not build on his momentum after the lost 2020 season, tallying a 4.58 ERA at Memphis
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Chandler Redmond INF/OF 25 3 2 1 Hit 18 home runs last year between High-A and Double-A while playing five different positions
Tommy Jew OF 3 2 1 Stole 14 bases last year but did not hit well in Single-A or High-A

Peoria (1) at Beloit (5)

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Carlos Guarate 4 1 1 1 4 Struggled to make the transition to full season ball last year before being picked by the Cardinals in the minor league Rule V Draft
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 3 1 1 Another strong performance from the 2021 10th round pick who has had a strong camp
Thomas Francisco 1B 50 3 1 1 1 19th round pick last year earned a .415 OBP in Palm Beach before moving to Peoria

Palm Beach (1) at Jupiter (3)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Trent Baker 3 1 0 0 5 Fanned 10 in 7 ⅔ innings last year but also allowed five runs
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Jeremy Rivas SS 46 3 1 1 Second straight day with an extra base hit, had only 8 extra base hits in 2021
Patrick Romeri OF 3 1 1 20-year-old had a 102 wRC+ last season in his first exposure to full season ball

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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 30

Photo: Jeremy Rivas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system went 2-2 on Wednesday with wins coming from Memphis and Palm Beach. There were a number of strong pitching performances as Peoria was the only team that allowed more than three runs. Memphis and Springfield each allowed one, though Springfield didn’t generate enough offense to get the win.

Four hitters tallied home runs with three of the four coming from the bottom two levels and five players had multi-hit games.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 30th


Pitcher of the Day – Dalton Roach

Dalton Roach (Robert Kell)

Dalton Roach threw the middle innings for Springfield and didn’t allow a single run in his four innings of work from the 4th through the 7th inning. He did allow four base runners but he did well to strand them while fanning four Pensacola batters.

Roach will likely return to Double-A this year as the Cardinals have a group of prospects and veteran minor league signings who will fill up the Memphis pitching staff. The soon-to-be 26-year-old will need to work on being less hittable as he allowed 135 hits in 114 ⅔ innings last year, including 27 home runs at a rate of 2.12 home runs per nine innings.

The honorable mention goes to Austin Love fanned seven and allowed just one run in his four inning start for Palm Beach.


Hitter of the Day – Jeremy Rivas

Jeremy Rivas (St. Louis Cardinals)

Jeremy Rivas signed a 2020 contract as an international amateur free agent, so he had to wait until 2021 to make his professional debut because of the lost 2020 season. He was a highly touted amateur prospect who signed with the Cardinals for $600,000 out of Venezuela. He is more of a glove-first shortstop, but he showed an impressive approach at the plate last year as he struck out just 32 times in 200 plate appearances while reaching base at a .345 clip.

He doesn’t have much power to speak of as only 8 of his 48 hits went for extra bases with none clearing the fence. Thus, it’s notable that he hit a home run on Wednesday as one of his three hits. He was the only player of the day to record more than two hits.

The honorable mention goes to catcher Aaron Antonini who went 2-for-2 with a home run and an RBI single in Memphis’ winning effort.


Memphis (6) at Jacksonville (1)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
James Naile 2 1 0 1 0 Nick Wittgren, Kyle Ryan, Zach McAllister, Blake Parker, and Packy Naughton each threw a scoreless inning as well.
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Ben Deluzio OF 4 2 2 Stole 37 bases in 2018 while in the Diamondbacks organization
Justin Toerner OF 2 1 2 TCN’s Palm Beach Cardinals Player of the Year in 2019 reached Triple-A for the first time in 2021
Moises Gomez OF 2 1 2 1 Once ranked as high as 10th in the Rays farm system according to Baseball America
Aaron Antonini C 2 1 2 2 1 Former 18th round pick bounced between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A last year despite being a below average hitter at each level

Springfield (0) at Pensacola (1)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Zack Thompson 7 2 2 0 0 2 2019 first round pick made the jump to Triple-A in 2021 after previously throwing just 15 ⅓ professional innings
Freddy Pacheco 47 1 0 0 0 1 Had the most saves and tied for the most games finished in the minor league system last year
Dalton Roach 4 2 0 1 4 Finished fourth in the system in innings pitched last year with 114 ⅔
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Todd Lott 1B/OF 45 2 1 1 Right-handed slugger has been hot this spring and is likely in contention for a Double-A role to open the year

Peoria (1) vs Beloit (11)

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Wilfredo Pereira 43 2 ⅔ 2 0 (2 R) 1 1 Started in 13 of his 29 appearances for Peoria last season and compiled a 3.33 ERA in 97 ⅓ innings
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Masyn Winn SS 5 3 1 1 1 1 Will likely open the season in Peoria after posting a 48 wRC+ at the High-A level following his promotion from Single-A

Palm Beach (5) vs Jupiter (3)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Austin Love 22 4 4 1 0 7 2021 third round pick fanned 13 and waked one in eight innings last year
Jose Moreno 3 2 1 2 2 21-year-old struggled with control in the Single-A rotation but he did have a 26.5% strikeout rate
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Jeremy RIvas SS 46 4 1 3 2 1 .345 OBP in FCL but no home runs in 48 games
Adanson Cruz OF 4 1 2 2 1 The 21-year-old reached full season ball for the first time with a late season promotion in 2021 after posting a .774 OPS with 9 outfield assists at the FCL level
Won-Bin Cho OF 4 2 Left-handed hitter and thrower has a solid 6’2”, 200 pound frame despite being just 18 years old

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Surveying the St. Louis Bullpen Candidates

The Cardinals have a pair of bullpen roles up for grabs. Jake Woodford (if he doesn’t make the rotation) and Blake Parker are the veteran favorites, but Connor Thomas, Jake Walsh, and Andre Pallante lead a group of talented minor league pitchers vying for a role on Opening Day.

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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 28

Photo: Inohan Paniagua (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Monday was a camp day for the St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers as Memphis played Springfield and Peoria squared off with Palm Beach. Both of the more senior squads were the home teams but the junior teams were victorious in both games with Springfield beating Memphis and Palm Beach gaining the upper hand on Peoria in a seven inning game.

The Palm Beach pitching staff combined for a shutout, with Inohan Paniagua leading the way, while Springfield won due to excellent pitching and timely hitting.


Pitcher of the Day – Inohan Paniagua

Inohan Paniagua (State College Spikes)

Inohan Paniagua only threw 46 ⅓ innings in 2021, but he pitched well when he was on the mound. The now-22-year-old tallied a 3.88 ERA and 3.65 FIP while striking out 31.5% of the batters he faced. The season represented a quiet breakout for Paniagua who established himself at the full season level for the first time after struggling in rookie and short-season ball in 2019.

The right-hander made just five starts in 16 appearances, but I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals give him a chance at being a starter long-term. In fact, he started the game for Palm Beach on Monday and cruised through the first four innings.

His walk rate is a bit high (9.6%), but not as high as some other young, strikeout-heavy arms in the system. This gives him plenty of promise and in a year’s time, it is entirely possible that he will jump up our rankings. Our 2021 Emerging Pitcher of the Year has a big season ahead of him since he is eligible for the Rule V Draft in December.

On Monday, Paniagua allowed just one base runner (via hit) in four innings while fanning four.

The honorable mention goes to Gordon Graceffo, who fanned six in four innings for Springfield but also yielded a trio of hits.


Hitter of the Day – Tommy Jew

Tommy Jew (UC Santa Barbara)

Despite being drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round in 2019, Tommy Jew had to wait until 2021 to make his professional debut. It didn’t exactly go well. He was a below average hitter at both the Single-A and High-A level while striking out in over 35% of his plate appearances at each stop.

Jew did show decent speed as he stole 14 bases in 19 attempts. This speed helped him play all three outfield positions, but he is going to struggle to advance in the organization if he doesn’t learn to make more contact and hit the ball with more authority.

The outfielder had only one hit on Monday but not only did it clear the fence, it brought in three runs. Jew didn’t show much power last year but his home run helped Springfield top Memphis, the more advanced affiliate, in a 4-1 victory.

Honorable mentions go to Chase Pinder and Irving Lopez, who each had two hits with Pinder totaling three bases and Lopez adding an RBI.


Memphis (1) vs Springfield (4)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Logan Gragg 39 4 2 0 0 2 Threw 99 innings for Peoria last season and earned a 4.45 ERA while seeing a decrease in both strikeouts and walks
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Evan Mendoza INF 3 1 1 Another extra base hit for Mendoza, which is important considering how little power he has shown in his career
Irving Lopez INF 3 2 1 One of two players to record two hits on the day
Matt Koperniak OF 2 1 1 Left-handed hitter began 2021 in Single-A and ended it in Double-A
Wade Stauss C 2 1 1 1 Moved to the Memphis spring roster after an injury to Nick Raposo

Springfield (4) at Memphis (1)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Gordon Graceffo 17 4 3 0 0 6 2021 Rookie Pitcher of the Year should move into a rotation, likely Peoria’s, in 2022
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Tommy Jew OF 4 1 1 3 1 2019 13th round pick struggled at the plate in Palm Beach and Peoria
Roberto Baldoquin INF 4 1 1 Minor league free agent signing can play across the infield
Chase Pinder OF 3 2 1 Still looking to make Triple-A debut despite playing in Double-A for the last three seasons

Peoria (0) vs Palm Beach (1) – 7 Innings

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Edwin Nunez 44 3 0 1 4 5 Lots of velocity and not a lot of control, his outing on Monday was pretty typical
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Masyn Winn SS 5 2 0 1 TCN’s 5th ranked prospect led the organization in SBs last year with 32 in 37 attempts
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 3 1 Hit 15 home runs in his final season at Azusa Pacific University

Palm Beach (1) at Peoria (0) – 7 Innings

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Inohan Paniagua 48 4 1 0 0 4 TCN’s system-wide Emerging Pitcher of the Year in 2021 made his top-50 debut at #48 this offseason
Nick Trogrlic-Iverson 3 1 0 2 3 Split time between the rotation and bullpen after a quick promotion to Peoria
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Won-Bin Cho OF 2 0 1 1 The Cardinals’ first amateur prospect signed from Korea received a bonus close to $500,000
Jeremy Rivas SS 46 1 0 1 2 Had a .345 OBP in the Florida Complex League in 2021 after signing for a $600,000 bonus

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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 26 and 27

photo: Todd Lott (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers were active this weekend as each team played games on Saturday and Sunday. This notebook will cover both Saturday, March 26 and Sunday, March 27.


The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system went 1-3 on Saturday, with Springfield tallying the only win, a 4-1 triumph over Binghamton. Todd Lott led the system offensively by reaching base four times while T.J. Zeuch had the best of three strong performances from the Springfield pitching staff.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 26th.


Pitcher of the Day – T.J. Zeuch

T.J. Zeuch (Toronto Blue Jays)

T.J. Zeuch spent five and a half seasons with the Blue Jays before being acquired by the Cardinals in exchange for cash. He has been a starter throughout his career, but in recent years he has begun spending time in both the rotation and the bullpen. The 26-year-old has MLB experience in each of the last three seasons, though he has accumulated a 4.59 ERA and 5.79 FIP in 49 innings.

After being acquired by the Cardinals, he made nine appearances (five starts) for Triple-A Memphis and pitched his way to a 4.93 ERA. He actually saw his strikeout rate tick upwards to 21.6% in Memphis, which is notable for someone who doesn’t typically miss many bats. The problem for Zeuch was that his walk rate and home run rate also increased above his career norms, as reflected by his 4.82 FIP.

Zeuch will provide swingman depth in Triple-A this year, where he will have the opportunity to prove that his strikeout rate gains were not just a fluke. On Saturday, Zeuch fanned five in three innings for Springfield while allowing only one hit and no walks. The honorable mention goes to fellow Springfield pitcher Garrett Williams for his scoreless effort.


Player of the Day – Todd Lott

Todd Lott (Palm Beach Cardinals)

If you have been reading these reports consistently, then you will have seen Todd Lott’s name pretty frequently. He has gotten off to a hot start this spring and that continued on Saturday as he went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk for Springfield.

Lott’s best tool is his power, so it is no surprise that he is racking up the extra base hits. He will need to continue doing this to add value since he is limited to first base and the corner outfield. After splitting time between Palm Beach and Peoria last season, Lott is fighting for a spot in the Springfield lineup this spring. His strong performances may help him get there.

The honorable mention goes to Evan Mendoza, who went 2-for-2 with a three-run homer.


Memphis (5) at Syracuse (7)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Angel Rondon 9 3 4 2 0 5 TCN’s 9th ranked prospect had a 4.13 ERA in the Memphis rotation but a 5.60 in the bullpen
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Jordan Walker 3B 2 4 2 1 1 19-year-old hit 14 home runs between Palm Beach and Peoria
Evan Mendoza INF 2 2 3 1 Slick fielding infiedler has shown some power this spring after hitting for very little in his career
Justin Toerner OF 3 1 1 1 1 The former 28th round draft pick reached Triple-A last year
Matt Koperniak 2 Koperniak, who began the year in Single-A and ended it in Double-A, stole just 4 bases last year

Springfield (4) at BInghamton (1)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
T.J. Zeuch 3 1 0 0 5 Acquired from the Blue Jays in July and was a swingman in Triple-A
Garrett Williams 3 2 0 1 4 Selected from the Angels in the 2020 minor league Rule 5 Draft and pitched at Springfield and Memphis in 2021
Connor Lunn 42 3 4 1 0 3 Threw over 120 innings for Peoria in 2021 and earned a 3.96 ERA.
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Chase Pinder OF 3 2 1 Lost 2020 season due to Covid and lost most of 2021 due to injury
Todd Lott 1B/OF 45 3 3 2 2 1 Power hitting primary first baseman has been hot this spring
Roberto Baldoquin INF 3 1 2 1 Minor league signing originally signed with the Angels for $8 million after leaving Cuba

Peoria (6) vs. Brooklyn (8)

Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Masyn Winn SS 5 3 1 1 1 The super athletic shortstop struggled at High-A after starting 2021 well with Palm Beach
Adari Grant OF 2 1 2 1 1 The Cardinals’ first ever signing out of the Bahamas had an 88 wRC+ in the DSL in 2021

Palm Beach (2) vs. St. Lucie (3)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Trent Baker 2 3 1 1 4 Threw 7 ⅔ innings at the FCL level after being drafted in the 9th round
Gustavo J. Rodriguez 3 1 1 1 3 Had a 7.36 ERA (4.89 FIP) in Single-A last year as a 20-year-old
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 3 1 1 2021 10th round pick only played third base in his first professional season
Elijah Cabell OF 1 1 1 The 17th round pick in the 2021 draft has a lot of power (.213 ISO) but strikes out a lot (40.8% K rate)
Hansel Otamendi OF 2 1 2 1 Batted .296 and posted a 109 wRC+ at the FCL level in 2021

On Sunday, the Cardinals system again went 1-3 with Springfield earning the only victory. Todd Lott’s hot streak continued with two more hits, including a home run, and he is now 9-for-10 in his last four games with five extra base hits. However, Jacob Buchberger is the Player of the Day after reaching base four times and leaving the yard.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 26th.


Pitcher of the Day – Gianluca Dalatri

Gianluca Dalatri (University of North Carolina)

The Cardinals signed Gianluca Dalatri as an undrafted free agent in 2020, but he had to wait until 2021 to make his debut. He made 13 appearances with Palm Beach and earned a 5.60 ERA, but his 3.18 FIP was much better. The right-hander had a 31.6% strikeout rate with Palm Beach and a decent 9.2% walk rate.

He then got his feet wet in Peoria, tossing 4 ⅔ innings but his four appearances did not go well. Dalatri was touched six runs on ten hits, two of which left the park, and two walks. He doesn’t have many professional innings to his name but he will be competing for a place in Peoria. As a soon-to-be 24-year-old, he will not want to start the year in Palm Beach again.

On Sunday, the right-hander tossed a pair of clean innings in Springfield’s victory and fanned three. The honorable mention goes to Edgar Manzo who struck out three in two innings while allowing a hit and a walk for Palm Beach.


Hitter of the Day – Jacob Buchberger

Jacob Buchberger (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Jacob Buchberger began 2021 in Palm Beach as a 23-year-old and posted a 126 wRC+, largely due to solid on-base skills and a high average. The corner infielder batted .308 with an 11.1% walk rate, giving him an OBP just a hair under .400 (.392). Only 20 of his 62 hits went for extra bases, though, and of those 20, only three cleared the fence.

As a result of his strong performance at the plate, Buchberger earned a promotion to Peoria, where he was not as successful. In 21 games, he batted just .163 while his walk rate was slashed to 5.9%. This led to him posting a wRC+ of just 32. With little power, he is a questionable fit as a corner infielder. Unless he adds power, Buchberger will need to bat near .300 and take a lot of walks if he wants to provide value and make up for his lack of power and defensive limitations.

Buchberger showed a bit of power on Sunday, clubbing a home run while walking twice and also being hit by a pitch. The honorable mention goes to Todd Lott, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run to continue his hot streak. Won-Bin Cho was also perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 for Palm Beach.


Memphis (1) vs Jacksonville (14)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Michael McGreevy 8 3 ⅔ 4 3 1 3 2021 first round pick is rated by Baseball America as having the best curveball and the best control of any pitcher in the Cardinals system
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Justin Toerner OF 4 2 Second consecutive day of reaching base multiple times
Nick Dunn 2B 3 1 1 Light hitting second baseman makes a lot of contact but has only hit 12 career home runs
Irving Lopez INF 3 1 1 1 Utilityman played five positions in 2021 for Springfield and Memphis

Springfield (4) vs Pensacola (2)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Gianluca Dalatri 2 0 0 0 3 Threw 22 ⅓ innings between Single-A and High-A last year and earned a 6.85 ERA
John Beller 3 1 0 3 4 Left-hander compiled a 4.59 ERA and 4.09 FIP in 80 ⅓ innings for Palm Beach in 2021
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
L.J. Jones OF 4 2 1 Had 7 outfield assists in 2021, also played 1B
Todd Lott OF 45 3 1 2 2 1 Fourth straight day with multiple hits, has gone 9-for-10 with four doubles and a homer in that stretch
Zade Richardson C 3 2 Hit 12 home runs for Peoria in 2021 but also batted .180

Peoria (3) at Beloit (7)

Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Joshua Baez OF 12 2 0 1 2 Stole five bases and tallied six extra base hits in 23 games after being the Cardinals’ 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft
Jacob Buchberger 1B/3B 1 1 1 1 1 2 (also an HBP) 126 wRC+ in Palm Beach dropped to 32 in Peoria
Masyn Winn SS 5 2 1 2 1 Tallied an extra base hit in each day of the weekend

Palm Beach (3) at Jupiter (5)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Tink Hence 19 1 0 0 0 1 2020 draft pick has thrown just 8 professional innings (9.00 ERA)
Edgar Manzo 2 1 0 1 3 Threw 66 innings for Palm Beach and was TCN’s Pitcher of the Month in July
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Won-Bin Cho OF 3 3 1 Potential five star outfielder will likely make his professional debut in the Florida Coast League this season

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Cardinals Sign Reliever Blake Parker to a Minor League Deal

Photo: Blake Parker (Andrew Villa/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

JUPITER, Fla., March 26, 2022 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced this morning that they have  agreed to terms on a minor league contract with veteran right-handed pitcher Blake Parker and invited him to join the team’s Major League Spring Training Camp.

Parker, 36, has spent nine years in the majors since debuting in 2012 with the Chicago Cubs, posting a career mark of 16-11 with a 3.47 ERA in 350 games, primarily as a reliever.   The 6-3, 225-pound Arkansas native went 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 47 relief outings with Cleveland last season.  He logged 60 or more relief innings for three consecutive seasons from 2017-19 with the Angels, Twins and Phillies.  Parker has been assigned uniform no. 26.

Blake Newberry’s Take

The Cardinals have signed yet another pitcher to a minor league deal in their quest to add pitching depth to the organization. With two injuries to the pitching staff already, the Cardinals are looking to avoid a similar scenario as last year.

For a pitcher signing a minor league deal, Blake Parker has a lot of MLB experience and he has had a lot of success at the highest level. The Cardinals will be the eighth organization that Parker has joined since being drafted by the Cubs in 2006 and he has thrown 345 ⅓ innings at the MLB level.

Blake Parker

Last season, Parker experienced a good deal of success, though his 4.06 FIP was nearly a full point higher than his 3.09 ERA. Parker generally limits walks (career 7.9% walk rate) and he has a solid career strikeout rate (26.7%) even though it dipped last year (20.0%). Still, Parker fits the mold of a pitcher that utilizes the defense, and that, combined with his success last year and over the course of his career, likely made him an appealing option for the Cardinals.

At 36 years old, Parker’s fastball has lost a few ticks and sits around 90 mph. The low velocity, combined with a 7th percentile spin rate makes his fastball an easy pitch to hit. Opposing batters have had at least a .370 wOBA against the pitch every year since 2018. Despite this, it is still his primary offering, leaving his hand over 46% of the time in 2021.

Parker’s real weapon is his splitter. Only 54 pitchers threw more than 50 splitters last year, with Parker’s having the lowest average velocity at 79.3 mph. In 2021, he threw the pitch nearly 35% of the time and hitters had just a .278 wOBA against the pitch. That was actually the most success that hitters have had against the pitch since 2016. He also got hitters to swing at 50% of his splitters despite throwing only a third of them in the zone. This is how he stays out of trouble.

Hitters don’t see too many splitters over the course of the season, so it can be tough for them to adjust when they face someone whose primary weapon is a splitter. On top of that, Parker still gets above average drop with the pitch. It’s a good combination that has allowed Parker to stay effective despite his age and lack of a dominant, or really even average, fastball. Additionally, Parker’s high fastball usage and location at the top of the zone sets up his splitter to thrive at and below hitters’ knees.

The right-hander has actually pitched better against right-handed hitters than against left-handed hitters throughout his career, and that was especially true last year when he had a 3.29 FIP against left-handers and a 5.13 FIP against right-handers. Pitchers with reverse splits are uncommon, but Parker seems to be among the small group of arms with reverse splits over the course of their career.

Considering the right-hander’s solid performance in the last two seasons, it is difficult to believe that the Cardinals were the only team interested in acquiring Parker’s services. He may see himself as having a good chance of breaking camp with the Cardinals, which surely would have influenced his decision.

With Aaron Brooks being added to the 40-man roster yesterday, there is presumably one open bullpen spot if the Cardinals elect to keep two additional pitchers as the 27th and 28th men on their roster. Parker will compete for that spot. If he doesn’t make the team he will provide depth in Triple-A, but his track record suggests that he will be in St. Louis at some point this season, if not on Opening Day. Parker will join the Spring roster in the upcoming days.

To see all players remaining in camp by position, check out the always-free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

St. Louis Cardinals Organization Roster Matrix – 2022 Spring Training


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Cardinals Trim Spring Roster and Announce Signing of Cory Spangenberg

Photo: Cory Spangenberg (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

JUPITER, Fla., March 25, 2022 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced today several roster moves as they optioned pitchers Packy Naughton, Johan Quezada, Angel Rondón and T.J. Zeuch to the Memphis (AAA) roster and assigned pitcher Zack Thompson to minor league camp.  In addition, pitcher Alex Reyes (right shoulder) has been placed on the 60-day Injured List, and the team has selected the contract of pitcher Aaron Brooks to the team’s 40-player Major League roster.

The team also announced that it has agreed to terms on a minor league contract with veteran infielder/outfielder Cory Spangenberg, and have invited him to join in the team’s Major League Spring Training Camp.

The left-handed hitting Spangenberg, 31, has compiled a career .256 batting mark with 29 HR’s and 119 RBI in 419 games with San Diego (2014-18) and Milwaukee (2019).  The former 1st round (10th player overall) draft selection of the Padres in 2011 has seen extensive time at third base and second base, while also playing shortstop and the outfield.

Spangenberg played in Japan from 2020-21 with Seibu of the Nippon Professional Baseball league, homering 15 times in 111 games played for the Lions in 2020.  Spangenberg will wear uniform no. 18.

Blake Newberry’s Take

The Alex Reyes shoulder injury has been known for some time, and it has been speculated that he would be added to the 60-day IL, so this move is not a surprise. By optioning him to the 60-day IL, the Cardinals opened a 40-man roster spot that was then filled by Aaron Brooks.

With rosters expanding to 28 players at the start of the season, the Cardinals now have two extra roster spots to use, and I would expect both of those spots to go to pitchers, with one being Brooks. To be on the MLB roster, the team would have needed to add Brooks to the 40-man anyway, so doing it now is a sign that his role likely lies in St. Louis on Opening Day.

Brooks is currently competing for the fifth rotation spot, so his role is  still unknown, even as his level of competition is becoming clearer.

The other part of the announcement deals with he next wave of Spring Training cuts being announced as five pitchers being moved to Memphis.

None of the five cuts were surprising, though three of them had MLB experience. Angel Rondon made his MLB debut last year but he also struggled in Triple-A. The same is true of Packy Naughton, who was recently claimed by the Cardinals, as detailed earlier at TCN. T.J. Zeuch has bounced between the majors and Triple-A in recent years and was always a longshot to make the roster.

While Zack Thompson was simply reassigned, Naughton, Quezada, Rondon, and Zeuch were all optioned to Triple-A. The result is the same for all five but the latter four needed to be optioned because they were on the 40-man roster.

Cory Spangenberg (USA TODAY Sports)

In regards to the new minor league signing, Cory Spangenberg reportedly (via John Denton) came highly recommended by new bench coach Skip Schumaker. The infielder spent five seasons with the Padres, where he overlapped with Schumaker, and 2019 with the Brewers before playing in Japan for the past two seasons. The 31-year-old has spent most of his time playing second base, third base, and left field, but he has also seen limited time at shortstop, right field, and center field.

Last year in Japan, Spangenburg had a .713 OPS, though he was much better in 2020 (.807 OPS). In Japan, he primarily played third base and outfield. He is the third player the Cardinals have signed from Asia leading up to the 2022 season, joining Aaron Brooks and Drew VerHagen.

Spangenburg has a career 92 wRC+, though the left-handed hitter has done most of his damage against right handers (102 wRC+ vs 56 wRC+ against LHPs). He marks the second left-handed hitting depth piece signed by the Cardinals recently, with the other being outfielder Corey Dickerson.

The utilityman should provide competition for a bench spot with Brendan Donovan, though it is possible that both begin the year in Triple-A, especially if the Cardinals use the two extra roster spots on pitchers.

To see all players remaining in camp by position, check out the always-free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

St. Louis Cardinals Organization Roster Matrix – 2022 Spring Training


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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 24

Photo: Evan Mendoza (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system swept its four contests on Thursday, the fifth day of games, behind some impressive pitching performances. Springfield allowed just one run in its win and the Palm Beach pitching staff combined for a shutout in the team’s 3-0 victory.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 24th.


Thursday’s Pitcher of the Day – Dalton Roach

Dalton Roach (Robert Kell)

Dalton Roach spent last season in the Springfield rotation and he struggled to the tune of a 5.65 ERA and 5.72 FIP, largely due to an inability to keep the ball in the yard (2.12 HR/9). The soon-to-be 26-year-old tossed three clean innings for Springfield and fanned four. He took over from starter Edgar Escobar and threw the fourth, fifth, and six innings while keeping Corpus Christi at one run.


Thursday’s Hitter of the Day – Evan Mendoza

Evan Mendoza (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Though Even Mendoza is primarily known as a defensive wizard (Mendoza was given a 70 grade glove by TCN in 2021), his bat is what helped Memphis the most on Thursday. The infielder hit a double and a three-run homer in three at-bats while also drawing a walk. He knocked in half of Memphis’ runs and was one of three Memphis hitters to clear the fence.

Last year, Mendoza showed very little power (.048 ISO) and batted just .242 at the Triple-A which is why he tallied just a 63 wRC+. The 25-year-old has only clubbed 14 home runs in four minor league seasons and though he has increased his walk rate in recent years, he simply hasn’t done enough when making contact to be a league average bat at any level since High-A in 2018. The slick fielder will need to improve with the bat if he wants to make his MLB debut and then stick at the highest level.

The honorable mention goes to Delvin Perez. Perez almost won the recognition by reaching base four times via three walks and a home run for Springfield. Mendoza’s extra double and RBI gave him the edge over Perez’s walks, especially considering that pitchers are still finding their command since we are in the early stages of Spring Training.


Memphis (6) at Sugar Land (4)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Tommy Parsons 3 1 1 1 4 26-year-old cruised through the lower minors but posted a 5.86 ERA with Memphis in 2021
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Evan Mendoza INF 3 1 2 3 1 1 1 Primarily a 1B/3B early in his career, but started at SS last year for Memphis
Pedro Pages C 36 4 1 2 1 1 1 6th round pick in 2019 had a 102 wRC+ with Peoria last year
Aaron Antonini C 3 1 2 1 1 Played at three different levels last year, but was a below average hitter at all three
Justin Toerner OF 1 1 3 Former 28th round pick reached Triple-A in 2021
Ben  DeLuzio OF 3 1 2 1 Played five seasons in the Diamondbacks organization before joining the Cardinals in the minor league Rule V Draft
Scott Hurst OF 4 2 1 Made his MLB debut in 2021 despite a 63 wRC+ with Memphis

Springfield (2) at Corpus Christi (1)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Edgar Escobar 3 2 0 (1 unearned run) 1 5 2-time TCN Reliever of the Year (2018 in GCL, 2019 with Peoria)
Dalton Roach 3 0 0 0 4 Going into his third season in the Cardinals organization, threw over 114 in Double-A last year
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Delvin Perez SS 30 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 Slick fielding shortstop would have been eligible for the Rule V Draft had it been held
Todd Lott 1B/OF 45 2 2 1 Third straight day with two hits

Peoria (Win) vs Asheville (3)

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Domingo Robles 3 2 0 1 2 Recorded a 6.09 ERA in 2021, his first season in the Cardinals organization
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 3 2 94 wRC+ in Palm Beach after being selected in the 10th round last year
Edgardo Rodriguez C 1 Played in 30 games last year after being acquired in the Randy Arozarena trade, Two runners caught stealing at 2B in this game

Palm Beach (3) vs Fayetteville (0)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Jose Moreno 3 0 0 1 3 5.53 ERA and 4.49 FIP with Palm Beach last year at age 20
Chris Gerard 2 0 0 0 4 2021 12th round pick threw 7 ⅔ innings at the FCL level
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Joshua Baez OF 12 4 1 2 2021 2nd round pick struck out in just under 30% of his FCL plate appearances, lots of power to tap into if he can make more contact
Adari Grant OF 2 2 1 1 1 Cardinals first signing from the Bahamas had an 88 wRC+ in the DSL last year and is one of a handful of 18-year-olds in camp
Sander Mora 2B/SS 4 1 1 1 Second straight game with an extra base hit

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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 23

Photo: Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals minor league system went 2-2 in Wednesday’s competitions with Memphis and Springfield picking up wins. The Memphis pitching staff combined for a shutout in a day that was light on offense for all teams, as no Cardinals affiliate tallied more than four runs.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 23rd.


Wednesday’s Pitcher of the Day – Gordon Graceffo

Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Gordon Graceffo was our 2021 Rookie Pitcher of the Year after compiling a 1.73 ERA and 2.72 FIP in 26 innings (11 games). He struck out over 30% of the batters he faced (31.9%) while walking fewer than 8% (7.8%). He has also seen his fastball velocity tick up since being selected by the Cardinals in the 5th round of the 2021 MLB Draft.

On Wednesday, Graceffo collected eight of his nine outs via strikeout. He only allowed two base runners in three innings (one hit and one walk). The 22-year-old threw innings five, six, and seven for Memphis as part of the team’s shutout effort against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

The honorable mention goes to Matthew Liberatore, who fanned three in a pair of clean innings.


Wednesday’s Hitter of the Day – Todd Lott

Todd Lott (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Todd Lott was the Cardinals’ 9th round selection in 2019 and he had a solid year at the plate last year after initially struggling a bit following the draft. In 2019, Lott had a wRC+ of 99 in rookie ball. In 2021, he crushed his way to a 132 wRC+ in 52 games at the Single-A level before receiving a promotion to High-A where he compiled a 99 wRC+.

Lott’s walk rate was cut in half after the promotion and his strikeout rate rose from 28.1% to 35.8%. Despite these negative signs, Lott maintained his power output at the higher level as he had a .203 ISO with Peoria, which was just below his .220 ISO with Palm Beach. Across both levels, Lott hit 13 home runs and 42 of his 85 hits went for extra bases.

On Wednesday, the 24-year-old reached base three times for Springfield, via a double, a walk, and a single. The honorable mention goes to Franklin Soto, the only Cardinal to homer.


Memphis (4) vs. Jacksonville (0)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Matthew Liberatore 3 2 0 0 0 3 Top pitching prospect jumped from Single-A in 2019 to Triple-A in 2021
Gordon Graceffo 17 3 1 0 1 8 Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 2021 has touched 100 mph
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Chase Pinder OF 4 1 2 2 26-year-old has been in the system since 2017 and peaked at #34 in TCN’s prospect rankings
Ben Deluzio OF 3 2 1 1 1 Cardinals’ first round pick in the 2021 minor league Rule V Draft has stolen 110 bases in his career
Moises Gomez OF 4 2 1 1 Free agent signing has hit 43 home runs in last three minor league seasons

Springfield (4) vs. Pensacola (3)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Logan Gragg 39 3 1 0 (1 unearned run) 0 2 Started 20 games for Peoria last year
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Masyn Winn SS 5 3 1 1 1 5th ranked prospect was drafted as a 2-way player, but has only thrown one inning in his career
Todd Lott 1B/OF 2 2 1 1 24-year-old clubbed 42 extra base hits in 2021

Peoria (1) at Beloit (3)

Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Mike Antico OF 2 1 1 8th round pick last year played CF for Palm Beach and posted a .224 ISO
Jacob Buchberger INF 2 1 1 24-year-old played five positions last year and earned a promotion to High-A.

Palm Beach (3) at Jupiter (7)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Nick Trogrlic-Iverson 3 5 0 1 5 UDFA signing started 14 of his 24 appearances between Single-A and High-A last year.
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Sander Mora INF 1 1 1 21-year-old had a 62 wRC+ in 97 FCL plate appearances.
Franklin Soto 2B/SS 1 1 1 22-year-old struggled to hit in Single-A last year in his first year of full season ball

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Spring Camp Report – 3/23/22


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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 22

Photo: Osvaldo Tovalin (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On Tuesday, the Cardinals’ different minor league working groups played their fourth competitive games of the spring. The four teams combined to go 2-1-1 with Memphis and Palm Beach winning and Springfield playing to a 3-3 tie. There were a number of strong hitting performances and three of TCN’s top 10 prospects had games worth noting.

Listed below are stats and results from games on March 22nd.


Tuesday’s Pitcher of the Day – Grant Black

Grant Black (Springfield Cardinals)

Grant Black joined the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in February of 2020, but he waited until the 2021 season to make his system debut. The 27-year-old split time between Memphis and Springfield while starting six of his 30 appearances.

Interestingly, the right-hander actually pitched better in Triple-A with Memphis as he posted a 3.91 ERA and 3.93 FIP as opposed to a 5.70 ERA and 4.80 FIP with Double-A Springfield. He began the year in Memphis before being demoted to Springfield, where his diminished production was largely due to an increase in walk rate from 9.1% to 14.9%.

On Tuesday, Black pitched with the Memphis group and allowed just one baserunner in 3 ⅔ innings while fanning four. The honorable mention goes to Michael McGreevy who tossed three scoreless innings with Springfield.


Tuesday’s Hitter of the Day – Osvaldo Tovalin

Osvaldo Tovalin (Azusa Pacific University)

Osvaldo Tovalin was the Cardinals’ tenth round pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Azusa Pacific University. He made his professional debut in Single-A with Palm Beach and posted a 94 wRC+. Nine of his 20 hits went for extra bases, with two clearing the fence. The left-handed hitter played in just 32 games and made 115 plate appearances. Considering his size (6’2”, 225 pounds) and corner limitations defensively, Tovalin will need to hit to ascend the minor league ladder.

He played with Peoria on Tuesday and went 4-for-4 with a double and a home run despite Peoria’s loss. Honorable mentions go to 2021 international signing Leonardo Bernal (2-for-2 with a double and a home run) and Memphis outfielder Justin Toerner (home run and two walks).


Memphis (7) at Rochester (6)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
T.J. Zeuch 2 1 0 2 5 Acquired from Blue Jays last July, 4.93 ERA in Memphis
Grant Black 3 2/3 1 0 0 4 2020 free agent signing pitched in AA and AAA last year
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Mike Antico OF 3 1 1 HBP Also had an OF assist, TCN’s Rookie Player of the Year in 2021
Todd Lott 2 1 Power hitting 1B/LFer was a 9th round pick in 2019
Justin Toerner 1 1 1 1 2 Has spent time in MLB Spring Training, Palm Beach Player of the Year in 2019

Springfield (3) at Harrisburg (3)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Angel Rondon 9 2 3 1 (2 R) 0 2 Threw first pitch strikes to 8 of 9 batters
Michael McGreevy 8 3 0 0 0 0 First round pick in 2021, appeared in 7 games last year
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Masyn Winn SS 5 4 3 1 1 2nd Round pick in 2020, struggled in High-A after hitting well in Single-A
L.J. Jones OF 1 1 84 wRC+ in Single-A last year

Peoria (4) vs. Wilmington (8)

Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 4 4 1 1 10th Round pick in 2021, played in 32 single-A games last year
Leonardo Bernal C 2 2 1 1 Switch hitting catcher signed for nearly $700,000 in 2021

Palm Beach (5) vs Fredericksburg (4)

Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Won-Bin Cho OF 1 1 (also a HBP) New international signing has been touted as a potential five tool player.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Spring Camp Report – 3/22/22


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

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2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – March 18-20

Photo: Malcom Nunez (Trevor Travis/Peoria Chiefs)

Welcome back to our 12th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at the Cardinal Nation.

Following are the highlights from the Cardinals first three days of minor league action in 2022. Home contests were held at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida. On Friday, March 18, Triple-A Memphis played the Syracuse Mets at home and the Double-A Springfield group also stayed home against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, while the High-A Peoria group and Single-A Palm Beach team took to the road against the Brooklyn Cyclones and St. Lucie Mets, respectively.

Only Peoria was victorious on Friday, beating the Brooklyn Cyclones by a score of 4-3.

Before I go any further, I should mention that the data for these pieces comes from Carson Shipley, the multimedia communications strategist for the Cardinals. However, I will be the one making comments and handing out awards.

Only minimal hitting and pitching results are shared – what you see here. Thus,  it will be tough to tell who is struggling in camp games. Look for the names that are missing to give you some sort of clue.

Also, remember that these working camp assignments are fluid and can change by the day. Players will move between the different teams as the spring progresses.

The initial working rosters were released earlier this week for paid subscribers. They can be found here.

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2022, their rankings are noted.


Friday’s Pitcher of the Day – Gordon Graceffo

Gordon Graceffo has hit the ground running in the spring after taking home our Rookie Pitcher of the Year honors following the 2021 season. The fifth round pick racked up 37 strikeouts in 26 innings at the Single-A level last year and earned a 1.73 ERA and 2.72 FIP. He should take a rotation spot in the upcoming season considering his extensive success in the same role in college and his early professional production.

Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

He pitched with the Springfield group on Friday and threw two perfect innings while collecting four of six outs via the strikeout. There will be plenty of arms jockeying for rotation spots this spring, but Graceffo is already on track to nail one down for himself.

The honorable mention goes to Ludwin Jimenez who also fanned four in two scoreless innings. The difference is that he allowed a hit, giving Graceffo the edge. Jimenez pitched for Palm Beach.


Friday’s Hitter of the Day – Malcom Nuñez

Malcom Nuñez played at both the High-A level and the Double-A level as a 20-year-old last year. The Cardinals challenged him out of the gate with a promotion to High-A despite the fact that he had just 21 games of Single-A experience in which he batted .183. The infielder responded well and his 120 wRC+ in Peoria earned him a promotion to Springfield where he took a step back (91 wRC+). He kept his strikeout rate below 20% at both levels, which is a good sign for someone so young, and he has plenty of power potential in his frame. 2022 could be a big year for him if he has adjusted to Double-A pitching.

Malcom Nuñez (Peoria Chiefs)

To begin his spring games, Nuñez was the only hitter of the day to tally three hits – two singles and a double. He also stole a base and knocked in a run while playing third base in Springfield’s 3-3 tie.

Honorable mention goes to Won-Bin Cho who was the only hitter at any level with a home run. The new signing also walked.


Memphis vs Syracuse

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Austin Warner 2 1 0 2 2 27-year-old LHP was one of the most dependable relievers for Memphis in 2021
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Moisés Goméz OF 1 MiLB signing with loads of power, but also swing and miss.

Springfield (3) vs Binghamton (3)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Gordon Graceffo 17 2 0 0 0 4 TCN Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 2021
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Malcom Nuñez 3B 15 4 0 3 1 1 1 Reached Double-A as a 20-year in 2021

Peoria (4) at Brooklyn (3)

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Alex Cornwell 2 2 0 0 3 15th Round Pick in 2021, threw fewer than 100 collegiate innings after missing first 2 years with injury
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Osvaldo Tovalin 3B 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 10th round pick in 2021 from Azusa Pacific University

Palm Beach (3) at St. Lucie (5)

Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Ludwin Jimenez 2 1 0 0 4 TCN’s GCL Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2019, 6.17 ERA with Palm Beach in 2021
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Won-Bin Cho OF 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 First Cardinals amateur signing from Korea, $500,000 bonus

Saturday, March 19

On Saturday, the Cardinals had a camp day with Memphis taking on Springfield and Peoria competing against Palm Beach. 


Saturday’s Pitcher of the Day – Victor Villanueva

Victor Villanueva tallied a 5.75 ERA and much too high 7.98 FIP last year with the Cardinals FCL team. He appeared in 16 games in relief, throwing 20 ⅓ innings and surrendering six home runs. Last season was Villanueva’s stateside debut after he earned our DSL Blue Reliever of the Year award, but he was unable to continue the momentum after a lost 2020 season. He was 20 years old last year and will turn 21 in a week. 

The native of the Dominican Republic fanned three in two innings for Peoria while walking one. The honorable mention goes to Levi Prater, who tossed a clean inning while fanning one for Palm Beach. 


Saturday’s Hitter of the Day – Chase Pinder

Chase Pinder played 23 games last season as he dealt with injury. The outfielder spent 18 of those games with Springfield where he was a slightly below league average hitter. He was boosted by a 14.3% walk rate, but he only had 80 plate appearances so he didn’t have many opportunities to produce. Pinder played all three outfield positions and has been unable to reach Triple-A despite first playing in Double-A in 2018.

Chase Pinder (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

The 26-year-old hit a three run homer to left field against Springfield and tallied another RBI with a sac fly. He was one of three Memphis hitters to clear the fence and one of four in the system to hit a home run on Saturday.

Honorable mentions go to Nick Dunn, Scott Hurst, and Chandler Redmond, who had the other long balls.


Memphis vs. Springfield

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Dalton Roach 2 2 0 1 2 Started  19 games for Springfield in 2021, posted a 5.65 ERA
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Roberto Baldoquin 3B 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 Free agent signee spent five seasons in Angels system
Chase Pinder OF 1 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 Played just 23 games due to injury in 2021
Nick Dunn 2B 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 Defense first contact hitter who spent 2021 in Springfield
Scott Hurst OF 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 Debuted in St. Louis last year, has spent time in MLB camp
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Chandler Redmond INF/OF 25 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 Played 5 different positions and hit 18 HRs across two levels,
Delvin Perez SS 30 1 1 Stole 24 bases in 98 games with Springfield

Peoria vs. Palm Beach

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Victor Villanueva 2 0 0 1 3 DSL Blue Reliever of the Year in 2019, 5.75 ERA in FCL in 2021
Palm Beach Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Levi Prater 1 0 0 0 1 Fanned 104 and walked 68 in 68 ⅓ IP with Palm Beach
Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Hansel Otamendi OF 1 109 wRC+ with FCL Cardinals, batted .296 in 2021

Sunday, March 20

On Sunday, Memphis was victorious while Palm Beach played an intrasquad game. Hitting was the story of the day as seven players hit home runs across the system, but the Memphis pitching staff also held Sugar Land to three runs in a strong overall game. 


Pitcher of the Day – Tyler Pike

Tyler Pike signed with the Cardinals in the middle of last season and went on to throw 68 ⅔ innings while starting 10 of his 15 games in Springfield. The southpaw had a 4.85 ERA but a much stronger 3.23 FIP. He left affiliated ball following the 2018 season and played in the American Association with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks until being signed by the Cardinals.

Tyler Pike (Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks)

The 28-year-old fanned three in two innings while allowing only one baserunner in Memphis’ win over the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.

Honorable mention to Alex Cornwell who also struck out three in a pair of innings. The difference was that Cornwell allowed an extra hit in Peoria’s loss. 


Hitters of the Day – Moises Goméz, Todd Lott, L.J. Jones

Moises Gomez (Charlotte Stone Crabs)

There is a three-way tie for the award as each of the three winners collected a home run and a double. Goméz is a free agent signee of the Cardinals who has shown plenty of power, but also swing-and-miss, while in the Rays system. The native of Venezuela ranked as high as 10th in the Rays farm system according to Baseball America.

Todd Lott also has plenty of power, as emphasized by the fact that he hit 42 extra base hits and 13 home runs last year across both A-ball levels. He struck out in over 31% of his plate appearances, though, so he has similar issues to Goméz. L.J. Jones was a fifth round pick of the Cardinals in the 2020 draft and he tallied an 84 wRC+ in 2021 with Palm Beach. 


Memphis (7) at Sugar Land (3)

Memphis Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Tyler Pike 2 1 0 0 3 Indy ball veteran, 4.85 ERA and 3.23 FIP with Springfield
Memphis Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Moises Gomez OF 1 2 3 1 1 Free agent signee, former top-10 prospect in the Rays’ system
Chase Pinder OF 1 2 1 Former 7th round pick, has spent parts of 3 seasons in Double-A

Springfield (10) at Corpus Christi (12)

Springfield Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Connor Lunn 42 3 3 1 1 1 Finished third in the organization with 120 ⅓ IP in 2021
Springfield Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Malcom Nuñez 3B 15 3 2 1 Reached Double-A at age 20
Todd Lott 1B/OF 1 2 1 1 1 42 of 85 hits went for extra bases in 2021
L.J. Jones OF/1B 1 2 1 1 1 Spent all of 2021 with Palm Beach in first professional season
Irving Lopez INF 1 2 4 1 Offensive output decreased significantly in 2021

Peoria (5) vs. Asheville (6)

Peoria Pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Alex Cornwell 2 2 0 0 3 Threw just 8 innings after being drafted in 2021
Peoria Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Mike Antico OF 1 1 3 1 0 TCN’s 2021 Rookie Player of the Year, 122 wRC+ with Palm Beach
Jhon Torres OF 18 1 1 2 1 1 Dominated rookie ball, but has yet to see his production translate to the full season levels

Palm Beach intrasquad game

Palm Beach Hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Joshua Baez OF 12 2 1 1 2nd Round pick in 2021 had a 65 wRC+ in 95 PAs at FCL level

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Youngest Players in Cardinals Minor League Camp


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

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Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members can purchase our Prospect Guide PDF at 50% off!

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© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Youngest Players in Cardinals Minor League Camp

With minor league camp underway, plenty of prospects are getting ready for the upcoming season. A group of eight stands out because of their youth. As promising players with little name recognition, this article will provide an introduction to each of the exciting youngsters aged 18 years old at the start of camp.

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Cardinals Sign Corey Dickerson

photo: Corey Dickerson (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals have found their part-time designated hitter and fourth or fifth outfielder. On Thursday, Corey Dickerson agreed to a one-year contract for a reported $5 million plus incentives. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first with the news, and Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch provided the finances. The signing will not be official until Dickerson passes his physical examinations.

Corey Dickerson

Dickerson is a left-handed hitter who does most of his damage against right-handed pitchers. The 32-year-old has a career 121 wRC+ when he has the platoon advantage and a career 87 wRC+ when he does not.

Dickerson is very firmly in the platoon player category, so it seems unlikely that he will be the Cardinals full-time designated hitter. Rather, his left-handed bat could pair nicely with Juan Yepez’s right-handed bat to give the Cardinals plenty of production and matchup options.

In 2021, Dickerson split the season between Miami and Toronto, while playing better with the Blue Jays (107 wRC+) than with the Marlins (96 wRC+). He also had a down year at the plate in 2020, also with the Marlins, as he tallied a 95 wRC+, making 2020 the first year that he was a below average hitter since 2013.

Between 2014 and 2019, Dickerson averaged just under a 120 wRC+ while playing for four different teams. The outfielder is also familiar with the NL Central as he had perhaps the best stretch of his career playing for the Pirates. In Pittsburgh in 2018-2019, Dickerson collected 3.4 fWAR in 179 games.

Dickerson puts a lot of balls in play as he walks at a below average rate but also strikes out less than the average player. Thus, quality of contact is especially important for Dickerson. His average exit velocity hasn’t been above 88 mph since before 2018 and he had just a 23rd percentile exit velocity last year (87.8 mph). This may be why Dickerson’s power numbers have been down in the past two seasons, but he still has a strong history of hitting for power.

In both 2020 and 2021, the outfielder’s ISO dropped below .150, but he has a career ISO of .205 and he posted a career high .262 ISO in 2019. He has clubbed 128 home runs in his career and has cleared 20 in three different seasons.

Defensively, Dickerson has played all three outfield positions, though he has spent the most time in left field by far. Having him in the outfield will represent a downgrade defensively for the Cardinals, but that’s only because the starting outfield is so strong defensively. Dickerson is about an average defender, though, so he is certainly playable outside of the DH spot.

The 32-year-old’s best days seem to be behind him, but he is still a strong right-handed bat who gives the Cardinals options in the outfield and at the DH spot. All three of the Cardinals’ outfielders have had more success against left-handed pitchers in their career, so Dickerson provides a nice right-handed complement.

Lars Nootbaar is also a left-handed hitter, so he and Dickerson will be fighting for playing time in the outfield, but Dickerson should see more time as a DH than Nootbaar. Depending on the roster size, there may not be room for the rookie with St. Louis initially.

This signing seems to potentially cut into Juan Yepez’s playing time as well, but it gives the Cardinals an experienced and talented bench option. It can’t hurt to have another good hitter. Ultimately it may come down to new manager Oli Marmol finding the right balance of playing time for all of his bench players.

St. Louis’ 40-man roster is now 39 deep, with a total of 61 players in their spring camp.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view and to track the status of all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

2022 Cardinals Minor League Spring Game Schedules

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members can purchase our Prospect Guide PDF at 50% off!

Follow Blake Newberry on Twitter @bt_newberry.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Make Drew VerHagen First Post-Lockout Signing

photo: Drew VerHagen (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals became the first team to sign a player to a major league deal after the lockout when they added free agent right-handed pitcher Drew VerHagen to a two-year deal worth a reported $5.5 million. The pitcher joins St. Louis after a two-year stint in Japan with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Drew VerHagen

VerHagen is the latest player to join the Cardinals from Asia, joining Seunghwan Oh, who signed in January of 2016, Miles Mikolas, who signed prior to the 2018 season, and Kwang-Hyun Kim, who inked a deal with the Cardinals prior to the 2020 season. All of these signings worked out well for the Cardinals, so it is not surprising to see the organization turn back to the Asian pipeline to fill out the pitching staff.

VerHagen is the second pitcher the Cardinals have signed out of Asia this offseason, joining Aaron Brooks who joined the team on a minor league pact at the end of January.

VerHagen was selected by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 2012 draft and reached  Detroit by the end of the 2014 season. However, he was never able to fully establish himself as he split time between the majors and the minors annually until leaving the Tigers for Japan following the 2019 season.

In 2019, VerHagen’s last major league season, and subsequently, his last year with Baseball Savant data, the right-hander threw a sinker 40% of the time and a slider 30.4% of the time. He also threw a curveball (16.4%) and four-seam fastball (12.6%) to go with a seldom used changeup (0.6%).

If VerHagen operates out of the bullpen, he will probably rely on his sinker/slider combination, but his curveball isn’t bad either.

In an article posted on Fangraphs after the signing, Eric Longenhagen wrote that VerHagen’s fastball was sitting at 94 mph in Japan and touched 99. His fastball averaged 92.9 mph in 2019 before he left for Japan, but in previous years it had risen above 94. While his average fastball velocity may not have changed much, it is impressive that he touched 99. Longenhagen also reported that VerHagen touched 97 mph or above 24 times in 2021. A move to the bullpen could help him break 97 with regularity.

The Cardinals have looked for pitchers who can pitch to contact and utilize the defense and VerHagen certainly fits this bill as a sinker-heavy pitcher who walked 2.7 batters per nine innings in Japan. VerHagen’s strikeout rate ticked upward in Japan to over a batter per inning. The 31-year-old had more success in 2020 (3.22 ERA) than in 2021 (3.80 ERA), but he certainly did not have a bad season last year.

Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) is generally considered to be a step above Triple-A ball but a step below MLB, so even though VerHagen did not dominate, he was a reliable starter in a strong baseball league.

VerHagen averaged over six innings per appearance in 2020. That dropped to under five innings in 2021, but it is unclear if he pitched out of the rotation for the full season or if he had some relief stints. Regardless, he fits what the Cardinals have been looking for as a contact-oriented arm who can cover innings and work out of the rotation or bullpen.

St. Louis’ current rotation has question marks in terms of health and with an abbreviated Spring Training, the Cardinals did a good job  adding someone who can slot into the rotation if needed.

VerHagen signed for less money than Oh, Kim, and Mikolas, and he did not dominate overseas in the same way that these previous signings did. Still, he joins the team with a modest price tag and he could be the next pitcher to jump from Asia to St. Louis and hit the ground running.

Name Foreign ERA Final Foreign Season ERA Total Salary Years Age at Signing
Seung-Hwan Oh 1.81 (KBO+NPB) 2.73 $5.25 million 1 (+ club option) 33
Miles Mikolas 2.34 (NPB) 2.25 $15.5 million 2 29
Kwang-Hyun Kim 3.27 (KBO) 2.51 $8 million 2 31
Drew VerHagen 3.49 (NPB) 3.80 $5.5 million 2 31

In terms of contract size, VerHagen is most similar to Oh. Even though VerHagen had much less success than Oh overseas, he is two years younger, has a history in MLB (even if it’s not great), and can pitch out the rotation. It is not surprising that VerHagen earned less money than Mikolas because Mikolas had much more success in Japan in a similar role. Mikolas was also two years younger when signing with St. Louis.

VerHagen actually compares similarly to Kim. Kim had more success, but the KBO is not generally considered as high quality of a league as the NPB. The two signed at the same age for modest contracts and were both brought in for similar reasons – to provide rotation depth and flexibility.

After the signing of VerHagen, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak stated that the 31-year-old would compete for a job in the rotation. Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, and Steven Matz can all be penciled into the rotation, so any competition will likely be against Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas, who are certainly the front runners for the last two spots. In fact, it’s unlikely that VerHagen earns a starting role out of camp unless there is a key injury.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch also reported that the Cardinals are still engaged in the reliever market after the signing of VerHagen, so this may not be the last move the Cardinals make.

The organization’s pitching staff is now a little more crowded and a player like Jake Woodford will now have an extra arm to compete against for a spot in St. Louis to open the season. VerHagen is also out of options so he will need to stay in St. Louis all year or be exposed to waivers. The Cardinals seem to have learned from last season and have made efforts to bolster their pitching depth. VerHagen is the next step in this process, and there could yet be another.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view and to track the status of all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


For Members of The Cardinal Nation

International Presence Among the Cardinals Top 50 Prospects


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Pre-order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Follow Blake Newberry on Twitter @bt_newberry.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

International Presence Among the Cardinals Top 50 Prospects

The Cardinals have seen their international presence rise over the years and that is reflected in how many players in our top 50 rankings originally joined via the international amateur market. At least 20% of our rankings have been filled with international signings every year since 2016 and while this year’s rankings lack numbers at the top, there are plenty of intriguing young prospects at the bottom of the list.

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2021-2022 Cardinals Winter Ball Pitchers Recap

The Cardinals had 12 pitchers take part in winter leagues across the Caribbean. Our Pitcher of the Winter is 26-year-old Jesus Cruz who was dependable and effective while often being asked to pitch multiple consecutive days. The right-hander led all Cardinal arms in ERA, innings pitched, and Pitcher of the Week honors.

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2021/2022 Cardinals Winter Ball Report – February 4

Cardinals prospects Ivan Herrera and Wilfredo Pereira competed with Panama in the Caribbean Series. Herrera batted .300 as a key part of the team, but Panama was eliminated after the round robin. The tournament great pitching by Mexico, a strong Dominican lineup featuring Robinson Cano and Marcel Ozuna, and an underdog run by Colombia culminating in the country’s first Caribbean Series title.

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