All posts by Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.

Graceffo and Rincon Best League September Arms

photo: Hancel Rincon (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Springfield right-hander Gordon Graceffo is the Pitcher of the Month for the Double-A Texas League and Palm Beach righty Hancel Rincón is the Class-A Florida State League’s September Pitcher of the Month.

Gordon Graceffo

In three September starts, Graceffo allowed no runs on five hits and two walks with 22 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. Opponents were held to a collective .093 average, The 22-year-old saved the best for last, striking out a career-best (tied) nine on September 15.

Graceffo, St. Louis’ fifth-round draft pick in 2021, is The Cardinal Nation’s fourth-ranked Cardinals prospect.

Hancel Rincon

In two starts for a league-high 12 innings last month, Rincon allowed just one run (0.75 ERA) on eight hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. The 20-year-old held opponents to a .190 average.

Rincon, a native of the Dominican Republic, was a free agent signing in 2019.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

2022 Memphis Redbirds Relief Pitcher of the Year

On closeout – 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! The latter is 20% off.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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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.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Announce Wild Card Series Roster

photo: Nolan Gorman (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals have announced their 26-player active roster for their best-of-three National League Wild Card Series against the Philadelphia Phillies that is set to begin today (Friday, October 7) at 1:07 p.m. CDT.

The team’s Wild Card Series roster includes 19 players with past postseason experience, seven rookies and nine players who were not on the team’s active roster for Opening Day.  Seventeen of the 26 players on the roster were developed within the Cardinals organization. 

The following is the Cardinals 2022 National League Wild Card Series active roster:

PITCHERS (12): Jack Flaherty-RHP, Giovanny Gallegos-RHP, Ryan Helsley-RHP, Jordan Hicks-RHP, Steven Matz-LHP, Miles Mikolas-RHP, Jordan Montgomery-LHP, Packy Naughton-LHP, Andre Pallante-RHP, Jose Quintana-LHP, Zack Thompson-LHP, Adam Wainwright-RHP;

CATCHERS (2): Andrew Knizner and Yadier Molina;

INFIELDERS (7): Nolan Arenado, Paul DeJong, Brendan Donovan, Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman and Albert Pujols;

OUTFIELDERS (5): Dylan Carlson, Ben DeLuzio, Corey Dickerson, Lars Nootbaar and Juan Yepez.

Brian Walton’s take

Players left off the first-round roster include outfielder Alec Burleson, replaced by second baseman Dylan Carlson as a lefty bench bat. Pitchers Matthew Liberatore, Jake Woodford and Chris Stratton, all on the 28-man roster to end the season, were excluded in favor of Packy Naughton, serving as the third left-handed reliever. Left-hander Genesis Cabrera is also on the outside looking in during the first round.

Pitchers JoJo Romero and Dakota Hudson were ruled out when optioned to Memphis earlier this week.

Regular season starters Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty will likely work out of the bullpen, with Jordan Montgomery the presumed Game 3 starter if needed. Jose Quintana and Miles Mikolas will be the Games 1 and 2 starters, respectively.

Outfielder Tyler O’Neill was not deemed ready to be activated off the injured list, but the rosters can change next round (or sooner if an injury occurs).

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

2022 Palm Beach Cardinals Player of the Year

On Closeout – 2022 Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for a fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos, scouting reports and much more. The spiral-bound version is now 20% off.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

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

Cardinals Reshape Pitching Pre-Wild Card Series

photo: Jordan Hicks (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals have activated RHP Jordan Hicks from the 15-day Injured List and recalled LHP Matthew Liberatore from Memphis (AAA).  Right-handed pitcher Dakota Hudson and left-handed relief pitcher JoJo Romero were optioned to the Memphis roster.

Jordan Hicks

Hicks, 26, last pitched on September 14 vs. Milwaukee and missed 18 games with right arm fatigue.  The hard-throwing reliever made 34 appearances including eight starts which all came before July 12, and posted a 3-6 record with a 4.92 ERA, striking out 63 batters over 60.1 innings pitched with one save.  The Cardinals were 14-2 in games Hicks appeared since August 1.

Matthew Liberatore

Liberatore, 22, made six starts and eight total appearances in St. Louis this season with a 2-1 record and 5.46 ERA over 29.2 innings.  He made his Major League debut at PNC Park on May 21 earlier this season.  The No. 1 pitching prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America was 7-9 with a 5.17 ERA over 22 starts in Memphis, logging 115 innings pitched.

Dakota Hudson

Hudson, 28, was 8-7 with a 4.45 ERA in 26 starts in his first full season since returning from Tommy John surgery.

JoJo Romero

Romero, 26, made 17 relief appearances between Philadelphia and St. Louis this season posting a 4.96 ERA over 16.1 innings without recording a decision.  The southpaw was acquired at the trade deadline from the Phillies for infielder Edmundo Sosa.

Neither Hudson (n)or Romero will be eligible to return to the Cardinals postseason roster for 15 days unless they serve as a replacement for a new injury to a member of the active postseason roster.

Hicks and Liberatore will be active for this afternoon’s regular season finale at Pittsburgh.

Brian Walton’s take

Neither player leaving the roster is surprising giving their recent performances. Liberatore is back to start Wednesday’s regular season finale but holding onto his roster spot beyond that is in question.

However, it is of note that with Romero sent down, the left side of the pen is weaker. Steven Matz and Zack Thompson are the remaining left-handed relievers if Liberatore does not remain with St. Louis.

The Cardinals need to assess the amount of rust on Hicks’ right arm, to guide them in how important the situations he is allowed to pitch. With the minor league seasons over, there are no minors  games in which to ramp up.

One should also remember that the Cardinals will need to drop from the current 28 active players to 26 on Friday. In my assessment, one pitcher and one hitter are vulnerable. Liberatore and either Alec Burleson or Juan Yepez are among the prime candidates to be cut, though any unforeseen circumstances in Wednesday’s game could re-write the script.

Another alternative in the first round would be to go with just 12 pitchers, quite possible since just three starters will be needed. In that case, two pitchers would be shed and the position players remain as-is. Jake Woodford’s spot may be at risk in this case.

The Wild Card round roster does not need to be finalized until Friday.

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, refreshed today. The Matrix also includes which 2022 draftees have signed and their team assignments.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

2022 Florida Complex League Cardinals Player of the Year


On closeout – 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! The latter is 20% off.

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.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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

Oliver Marmol – MLB’s Youngest-Ever Division-Winning Manager

photo: Oliver Marmol via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Oliver Marmol (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Attention across the baseball world was directed to the St. Louis Cardinals last October when the club hired bench coach Oliver Marmol as the new field manager, replacing Mike Shildt.

The former minor league player and later manager and coach was just 35 years of age, making him the youngest manager in team history and the youngest manager currently in Major League Baseball.

Just 11 months later, on Tuesday evening in Milwaukee, Marmol’s maiden Cardinals club clinched the 2022 National League Central Division title. Shortly afterward, a poster on The Cardinal Nation’s free forum posed this very interesting question:

“I wonder if Marmol just became the youngest manager to win a division title?”

Upon seeing this, I immediately accepted the challenge, dropping the work I should have been doing instead and heading down a rabbit hole that has led me to conclude that Marmol does seem to have claimed this honor – at 36 years and 87 days.

Manager Year/Team Age yr/mos Notes 1st year Mgr of Year
Oliver Marmol 2022 STL 36/2 yes TBD
Sparky Anderson 1970 CIN 36/6 HOF yes (prior to award)
Rocco Baldelli 2019 MIN 38/0 yes youngest
Buck Showalter 1994 NYY 38/3* *Aug strike yes
Tony La Russa 1983 CWS 38/11 HOF yes
Eric Wedge 2007 CLE 39 yes
Kevin Cash 2020 TB 42 yes
Alex Cora 2018 BOS 43 won WS yes
A.J. Hinch 2017 HOU 43 won WS

As it expanded, MLB first implemented divisions in 1969 and went from two to three divisions per league in 1995.

Prior to Marmol, the youngest division-winning manager I could identify* was 38 years old. In fact, it was exactly to the day as the 2019 Minnesota Twins clinched the American League Central on Rocco Baldelli’s 38th birthday. Baldelli went on to be named the AL Manager of the Year in his first season in the job and was the youngest ever to receive those honors.

At least two other 38-year-old managers’ clubs won their divisions. Buck Showalter led the 1994 Yankees to a first-place finish, but the August strike led to the cancelation of the post-season.

A very familiar name, Hall of Famer Tony La Russa, was also 38 years old when his 1983 Chicago White Sox finished in first place.

Boston’s Alex Cora was not in his 30’s in his rookie season but holds the distinction of his first-place club winning the World Series in his first year. Cora was 43 years old.

However, none of the other men highlighted completed the trifecta of winning the division, going on to take the World Championship and being selected as his league’s Manager of Year – in his first season managing while still in his 30’s.

Could Marmol be the first?

Sparky Anderson (St. Petersburg, 1966)

* Update

Cardinals Media Relations has confirmed that Marmol is the youngest manager to lead his team to a postseason since Divisional Play began in 1969. (This would apparently also cover Wild Cards.)

However, I overlooked the prior record-holder.

Former Cardinals minor league skipper and Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson took the 1970 Cincinnati Reds to the National League West Division title at 36 years, 207 days. In Sparky’s rookie season managing in the majors, the Reds lost in the World Series. (In 1970, the Manager of the Year Award had not yet been created.)

The above table has been updated to recognize Sparky.

For more information, I wrote the following article almost 12 years ago at Anderson’s passing.

Sparky Anderson’s Days as a Cardinal

Comments?

As my study was not scientific, I may have missed others. If you have corrections or just want to engage in conversation, please head over to The Cardinal Nation’s free forum and look for the related discussion thread, for the September 27 game.

While there, join in the daily Cardinals talk with other avid fans.


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2022 Palm Beach Cardinals Relief Pitcher of the Year


On Closeout – 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! The latter is 20% off.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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

2022 Florida Complex League Cardinals Team Review

photo: Florida Complex Cardinals manager Roberto Espinoza (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On one hand, it was more of the same as the Florida Complex League Cardinals finished in fifth place for the third consecutive season. Further, the 2022 rookie-level Cards ended 7 1/2 games out of first place, same as in 2021.

On the other hand, the expansion of the East Division to six teams for 2022 meant the Cards escaped the division cellar. (The Astros added a second club this season with its Blue squad taking over the final spot in the standings.)

The 2022 Cardinals club’s .463 winning percentage (25-29 record) was its best since the record-.714 rookie-level club in 2018. This summer’s Cards finished just below .500 at home (12-15) and away (13-14).

The Cardinals were 7-9 in June and 8-12 in July but finished stronger, going 10-8 in August.

Pitching was the 2022 team’s strength, as evidenced by their run differential of -41 for the season (213 scored vs. 254 allowed). Across the Cardinals system, only High-A Peoria had a larger gap between the offense and pitching.

Offense

Primarily staffed by graduates from the Cardinals Dominican academy and augmented by more experienced hitters sent down from Class-A Palm Beach, the Cards were the fifth-youngest offense in the 16-team FCL at an average age of 19.2 years.

Statistically, the 2022 Cardinals offense, coached by former St. Louis outfielder Bernard Gilkey, was dismal.

The Cardinals were dead last in the league in all four slash stats – batting average (.196), on-base (.304), slugging (.301) and OPS (.605). However, thanks to the presence of the Astros Blue, the Cards were “only” 15th in runs scored per game (3.94).

The FCL Cards were tied for ninth with 66 steals but were caught 29 times for a success rate of 69.5%.

Pitching

Cardinals pitching was also fifth-youngest in the FCL, but with a much different result.  Led by pitching coach Rick Harig, their aggregate 3.92 ERA was sixth lowest. They were seventh of 16 in strikeouts and tied for the seventh fewest walks issued. Not surprisingly, they were also seventh in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.39). They yielded the fifth-most hits and hit the most batters (60, or more than one per game).

The starters were strong – fifth-best with an ERA of 3.22, fifth in WHIP at 1.25 but had the sixth-highest batting average against at .240.

The relievers’ ERA of 4.32 was middle-of-the-pack, ninth place, but they faced more than average traffic on the bases, both due to walks and hits. Their WHIP was 11th at 1.50 due in part to the seventh most free passes issued (160). They yielded the fourth-most hits, 268, for a batting average against of .245, which was third highest in the FCL.

Defense

Like the hitting, the 2022 Cardinals defense was the league’s worst – at least in terms of errors (95) and collective .950 fielding percentage. On a more positive note, the catchers tied for third best in the FCL with a 34% caught stealing rate (32 of 93).

Large roster

With a roster that was often more than 40 players in number, manager Roberto Espinoza had to be challenged in getting everyone regular action. 59 different individuals took the field for the 2022 FCL Cardinals – 30 pitchers and 29 position players.

That included a handful of rehabbers from above, including pitchers Ljay Newsome (Memphis), Griffin Roberts and Johan Quezada (Springfield) and Ian Bedell (Peoria) plus outfielders Patrick Romeri and Ryan Holgate (Palm Beach).

New draftees scarce

Partially because every one of the 19 players signed from the July 2022 draft were collegians, there was not a major influx of talent mid-season. Further, no in-season promotions from the Dominican Summer League occurred, a first in recent years.

All seven position players drafted by the Cardinals this July plus the lone non-drafted free agent signee opened their professional careers at Low-A Palm Beach instead of the FCL. That meant no needed in-season boost of offense came from the outside.

On the pitching side, only four of the 12 2022-drafted and signed pitchers appeared in official FCL game action with the rest working out in Jupiter. None of the four pitched extensively, totaling just seven innings over seven appearances.

Tanner Jacobson

Two of the four newly signed hurlers, right-handers Tanner Jacobson (10th) and D.J. Carpenter (14th),  opened in the FCL and finished the season with Palm Beach, though Carpenter was  placed on the injured list then moved back to the FCL at season’s end.

Key promotions/demotions

As development is the most important priority at this level, reviewing player movement can be illustrative. Almost all were shuffles were made with the next level up, Low-A Palm Beach, which is located in the same Jupiter complex. The Beach Birds had to work within a roster limit, while the FCL is more flexible.

Trejyn Fletcher

Perhaps the most disappointing moves were the demotions of former prospect outfielders Trejyn Fletcher, Ryan Holgate and Jhon Torres. The Cardinals futures of all three are cloudy.

June

  • Catcher Jake Burns was promoted from the FCL to Palm Beach as catcher Carlos Linarez went down.
  • Right-handed reliever Chris Holba moved up to Palm Beach.

July

  • Outfielder Trejyn Fletcher and infielder Brandon Hernandez were sent down from Palm Beach.
  • Infielder Lizandro Espinoza, left-handed pitcher Diorys Guerrero and right-handed pitchers Hancel Rincon and Yonael Dominguez were promoted to Palm Beach.

Hancel Rincon

August

  • Espinoza, outfielders Adanson Cruz, Jhon Torres and Ryan Holgate and right-handed pitcher Guerrero were sent down from Palm Beach to the FCL.
  • Right-handed pitchers Jose Davila, Ludwin Jimenez and Angel Cuenca (the latter two were later returned to FCL), left-handed pitcher Omar Sanchez (later returned) and catcher Jose Zapata (later returned) were promoted from the FCL to Palm Beach. (In other words, of this group, only Davila stuck with the Class-A club.)

Jose Davila

  • Shortstop Albert Inoa and outfielder Hansel Otamendi were released.
  • Four right-handed pitcher draft picks were activated: Jacobson (10th round), Chandler Arnold (13th), Carpenter (14th), Hunter Hayes (16th). Jacobson and Carpenter were later promoted to Palm Beach.

September

With the FCL season over, September moves were more about needed roster adjustments for the Class-A teams, which continued to play into the month.

  • Right-handed pitcher Ian Bedell was sent down from Peoria to the FCL.
  • Espinoza and Linarez were promoted to Palm Beach again.
  • Outfielder Won-Bin Cho was promoted to Palm Beach.

Won-Bin Cho

  • Right-handed pitchers D.J. Carpenter and Jose Moreno and lefty Hayes Heinecke moved from Palm Beach 7-day IL to the FCL.

Update

One cloud has been cleared up. On Tuesday, September 20, just a few hours after this article was published, Torres was given his release by the Cardinals organization.

Jhon Torres

What is next?

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

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

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

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 24

On Closeout – 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! The latter is 20% off.

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.

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

Cardinals Option Out Nolan Gorman as Juan Yepez Returns

photo: Juan Yepez (D. Ross Cameron/USA TODAY Sports)

During their Monday off-day, the St. Louis Cardinals optioned rookie second baseman Nolan Gorman to Triple-A Memphis and replaced him with rookie infielder/outfielder Juan Yepez.

Nolan Gorman

Following his May 20 promotion from Triple-A until the All-Star break, the 22-year-old rookie second baseman slashed .241/.320/.444/.765 with nine home runs and a strikeout rate of 30.9%. Since then, the left-handed hitter and former organization no. 1 prospect has slashed a disappointing .207/.273/.388/.661 with five long balls and a whiff rate of 35.6%.

With Paul DeJong also slumping, Tommy Edman should remain at short with Brendan Donovan best positioned to play second base daily. Middle infield depth is a bit thin, but remember that Triple-A will keep playing until the MLB regular season ends. So a potential injury replacement is just a call away.

Juan Yepez

Yepez, 24, did not make the Cardinals out of spring training, but was with St. Louis from May 3 until he went on the injured list with a right forearm strain on July 15.  He began a rehab stint with Memphis on August 9. Ten days later, he was activated off the IL and optioned to the Triple-A Redbirds.

Despite hitting well, Yepez was passed over for a return to St. Louis several times. In 50 games with Memphis this season, the right-handed hitter slashed .277/.341/.580/.821 along with 16 home runs and 53 RBI.

With St. Louis, Yepez should rejoin the corner outfield mix that has two openings with Tyler O’Neill out. Other contenders for playing time include Lars Nootbaar, Corey Dickerson and Alec Burleson. Dylan Carlson and Ben DeLuzio are primarily covering center.

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, refreshed today. The Matrix also includes which 2022 draftees have signed and their team assignments when disclosed.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Baez, Rodriguez, and Heredia Selected in LIDOM Draft


On Closeout – 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 or get 20% off the spiral-bound printed version.!

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.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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

Eight Cardinals Headed to 2022 Arizona Fall League

photo: Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Eight St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including three top 10 prospects. will suit up for the 2022 Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League prospect showcase, running from October 3 until November 12.

Four current Springfield Cardinals lead the way – outfielder Jordan Walker, shortstop Masyn Winn, right-handed pitcher Kyle Leahy and outfielder Mike Antico (taxi squad). Springfield hitting coach Tyger Pederson was named to the Rafters’ staff.

From Triple-A Memphis are right-handed reliever Ryan Loutos, catcher Pedro Pages and left-handed pitcher Connor Thomas, with right-handed pitcher Tink Hence from High-A Palm Beach.

Seven of the eight are members of The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 Prospect List. Three are in the top 10, all 20 years of age and representing the organization’s first three selections in the 2020 draft:

1. Walker
2. Winn
7. Hence
29. Thomas
33. Antico
40. Pages
47. Loutos

Jordan Walker

Walker, 20, has 18 home runs and 22 steals, so is just two home runs away from becoming the first player in Springfield history to have a 20-20 season. The power-hitting outfielder is batting .308 with an .898 OPS and 64 RBI in 118 Double-A games and is a top-10 prospect in all of baseball.

Masyn Winn

Winn, 20, is an amazingly athletic shortstop who has stolen 41 bases, hit 35 doubles, eight triples and 12 home runs between Peoria and Springfield. He is batting .285 with a strong .837 OPS.

Tink Hence

Hence, 20, is one of the most promising pitchers in the system. Held to four innings and 60-65 pitches per start for Palm Beach, Hence posted a 1.38 ERA and struck out 81 batters in 52 1/3 innings over 16 starts.

Connor Thomas

Thomas, 24, was a prospect on the rise heading into 2022, but has struggled in the Memphis rotation. The lefty has thrown 126 1/3 innings, posting a 5.27 ERA.

Mike Antico

After stealing 37 bases through 71 games with High-A Peoria to start the season, Antico has taken 30 more with Springfield, bringing his season total to 67, seventh-most in Minor League Baseball. The 24-year-old is the first Cardinals farmhand to steal 60 or more in a season since 2001.

As a taxi squad player, Antico will be eligible to play in just two games per week.

Pedro Pages

Pages, 24, has split his season between Double-A and Triple-A, where he’s posted OPSes of .754 and .631, respectively. However, the right-handed hitter has come on as he gains more experience in the International League, with an .842 OPS over the last 30 days.

Ryan Loutos

Loutos, 23, has pitched at three levels in 2022. The non-drafted free agent signee in 2021 began his year at High-A Peoria (3.14 ERA) then excelled with Double-A Springfield (1.61 ERA) before earning a promotion to Memphis on July 1. The going has been much rougher in Triple-A, with a .412 batting average against leading to a 7.36 ERA in 22 innings.

Kyle Leahy

Leahy, 25, has been a workhorse in the Double-A rotation, but has taken his lumps in 2022 with a 5.23 ERA in 141 innings pitched. However, in his three September outings totaling 18 innings, Leahy has yielded just two runs (1.00 ERA) and fanned 15.

With Hence, Thomas and Leahy all starters, one will be selected to be a member of the Rafters rotation with the others working out of the bullpen in the AFL.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Memphis Redbirds Notebook – 2022 Week 24


Closeout Sale – 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! The latter is now on closeout for 20% off!

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 Brian Walton on Twitter @B_Walton.

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

Cardinals Minor League Notebook – September 15, 2022

photo: Logan Gragg (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals system was 1-1 on Wednesday. The Cardinal Nation’s Player of the Day, Springfield starter Logan Gragg, yielded just one run in 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. Other standouts include Roberto Baldoquin, Julio Rodriguez, Todd Lott and Irving Lopez.

Results from games played Wednesday, September 14.

Memphis 5 at Iowa 10

The Memphis Redbirds had an early 2-0 lead but trailed from the second inning on and fell to the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines by the score of 10-5 on Wednesday afternoon.

Juan Yepez’ RBI double in the first was followed by Austin Allen’s solo home run in the second. From there, the Cubs took control.

Memphis starter Connor Thomas yielded three runs in the home second and one in the fourth. A four-spot in the fifth put Iowa ahead 8-3. Thomas’ night was over after five innings. Six of the eight runs against him were earned as he took his 10th loss of the season.

Freddy Pacheco yielded the final two Cubs runs via a home run in the sixth. Ryan Loutos and T.J. McFarland added a scoreless inning each.

Roberto Baldoquín

The Redbirds scattered seven singles over the final seven innings. Roberto Baldoquin was on base four times with two hits and two walks. The infielder drove in one and scored another.

Delvin Perez and Chase Pinder each singled, walked and stole a base. They both also committed errors though Pinder also threw out a runner at third base.  Clint Coulter also had an error and Allen was charged with a passed ball.

Memphis is 67-70 on the season and is in fifth place in the International League West, 15.5 games back of first place Nashville. The Redbirds have been eliminated from playoff consideration.

Thursday’s game:  at Iowa, LHP Garrett Williams (0-6, 6.51) vs. LHP Wyatt Short, 6:38 pm CT.

Springfield 12 at Tulsa 6

The Springfield Cardinals drilled the Drillers in a 12-6 road win on Wednesday afternoon. The Cards held a 4-1 lead before blowing the game open with a five-run seventh inning.

Starter Logan Gragg was strong, yielding just a solo home run in 6 2/3 innings on seven hits and one walk with nine punchouts.

Logan Gragg

Fortunately for Springfield, they had built the big lead as the pen was leaky. Michael YaSenka yielded a run in the eighth before Griffin Roberts was charged with four runs in the ninth, including a three-run long ball.

The Cardinals offense had seven walks and 12 hits including three long balls that plated 10 of their 12 runs. Todd Lott singled and smacked a three-run home run. Julio Rodriguez contributed a grand slam in the seventh. Irving Lopez reached base four times including closing Springfield’s scoring with a three-run shot in the ninth.

Irving Lopez

Springfield is 34-31 in the second half, tied for second place in the Texas League North, 6.5 games back of first place Wichita. The Cardinals have been eliminated from playoff consideration. Four games remain in their 2022 season.

Thursday’s game:  at Tulsa, RHP Gordon Graceffo (6-4, 4.21) vs. RHP Kyle Hurt (1-4, 9.10) , 7:05 pm CT.

Palm Beach at St. Lucie off

The East Division Championship Series moves to St. Lucie for Thursday’s Game 2 with the Mets up one game to none. The Palm Beach Cardinals must win the next two games to proceed to the Florida State League championship series. A loss tonight would end their season.

Thursday’s game:  Pitchers TBA, 5:10 pm CT.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2022 Week 23


Closeout Sale – 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! The latter is now on closeout for 20% off!

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Cardinals Place Carlson on Injured List, Add Burleson

photo: Dylan Carlson (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Dylan Carlson on the injured list, replacing him with prospect Alec Burleson. Conner Capel lost his 40-man roster spot as Junior Fernandez leaves the organization.



Before Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals announced four player transactions.

  • OF Dylan Carlson to the 10-day injured list
  • OF Alec Burleson selected from Memphis (added to 40-man and 28-man rosters)
  • OF Conner Capel (Memphis) designated for assignment (removed from 40-man)
  • RHP Junior Fernández (Memphis) claimed off outright waivers by Pittsburgh

Dylan Carlson

Carlson, 23, recently lost his everyday playing status in center field due to struggles against right-handed pitching. The reason for the switch-hitter’s injured list move is a thumb sprain on his left hand.

Carlson’s OPS dropped from .937 in June to .692 in July and .650 in August. He was just 1-for-5 this month in very limited action.

Alec Burleson

Desiring a left-handed bat with some thump, the Cardinals decided to bring up Burleson now rather than recall Juan Yepez.

With Memphis, Burleson, 23, is slashing .331/.372/.532/.904 with 25 doubles, 20 home runs and an International League leading 87 RBI. The corner outfielder also leads the 20-team Triple-A league in hits (143) and total bases (230). Burleson is The Cardinal Nation’s no. 9 St. Louis prospect.

With he takes the field for St. Louis, Burleson will become the ninth player from the 2020 Draft class to reach the Majors and first for St. Louis (source: Cardinals Player Development).

Conner Capel

Capel, 25, was added to the 40-man on June 27 and appeared in nine games for St. Louis, going 3-for-17 and slashing .176/.211/.353/.564 before returning to Memphis. The recent ascension of Ben DeLuzio to the roster and his promotion to St. Louis made Capel expendable.

In the next week, St. Louis must trade, release or place Capel on outright waivers, from where another organization could claim him – if they have room on their 40-man roster.

Junior Fernandez

Speaking of a waiver claim of a player designated for assignment, that is why Fernandez is no longer a Cardinal and is now a Pirate. The right-handed reliever was designated for assignment on September 5.


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, refreshed today. The Matrix also includes which 2022 draftees have signed and their team assignments when disclosed.


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Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2022 Week 22


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 or get 20% off the spiral-bound printed version.!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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