All posts by Derek Shore

Cover the Springfield Cardinals and Cardinals minor league pipeline for The Cardinal Nation | Freelance sports writer

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 14

Despite much-improved pitching led by Alex FaGalde and Angel Rondon, the Springfield Cardinals went 3-4 on the week. Manager Joe Kruzel discusses lessons learned from the challenging first half and highlights several recent roster reinforcements.

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Springfield’s Alex FaGalde Keeps Earning Recognition

Springfield Cardinals starting pitcher Alex FaGalde is a Florida State League All-Star and two-time reigning Pitcher of the Month per The Cardinal Nation due to his continued success even after being promoted to Double-A. The right-hander and his manager share their insight with Derek Shore.

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Fagalde Repeats as TCN’s Cardinals Minors Pitcher of the Month

photo: Alex Fagalde (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

This is the first installment of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Players and Pitchers of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals system. While the Cardinals recognize their top players as well, we undertake independent analysis unencumbered by the organization’s selection criteria.

Let’s get right to it with a look at the list of June system-wide pitching leaders.

Fagalde repeats

While a number of starters in the Cardinals system had strong Junes, one hurler distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of pitching to earn a promotion to Double-A Springfield, not missing beat while further boosting his prospect stock.

Alex Fagalde (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Our June Pitcher of the Month is former High-A Palm Beach ace and now Springfield hurler Alex Fagalde, who should have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Cardinals organization June Pitcher of the Month honors.

In 29 ⅓ innings, TCN’s No. 33 prospect Fagalde went 2-0 and led the entire Cardinals system with a minuscule 0.31 ERA. To put that into perspective, the right-hander allowed only one earned run during June.

Fagalde struck out 21 batters and walked seven through five starts (three at Springfield and two with Palm Beach). Prior to his promotion, he ranked second in the Florida State League with a 1.99 ERA and paced the circuit with a 0.88 WHIP.

His month was highlighted by being named a FSL mid-season All-Star as well as tossing eight shutout innings in his Double-A debut on June 17, the longest start of his professional career.

“I threw a lot of strikes,” Fagalde told the media after that game. “I was in the zone a lot, and they’re an aggressive team. They were swinging early in the counts. I was just trying to keep them from hitting it too hard. They definitely got pitches to hit there in the strike zone and just missed the barrels a lot.”

From a scouting perspective, Fagalde’s fastball ranges from 86-90 mph, but hitters struggle to pick it up well and often swing through it. Some believe he has an exceptional spin rate that helps it play up. His primary secondary pitches include a slider he locates well along with a splitter.

He commands all three of his pitches, with his fastball command being plus. His stuff is so effective because he throws them all with the same delivery and arm slot, working up and down in the zone.

Fagalde has defied the odds throughout his career since being a 30th round draft pick in 2017 and a player who has always been old for his league. Scouts like him best as upper level organizational depth, but he has pitched well wherever he’s been at and it is hard not to pay attention to the numbers he has put up, including now at Double-A.


Honorable Mentions

Kyle Leahy (Peoria Chiefs)

Runner-up to Fagalde is Class-A Peoria workhorse Kyle Leahy, who allowed only two earned runs across five starts (31 innings) for the Chiefs this past month – until being touched for two more earned runs in five innings on the final day of the month. Further, the right-hander, who made a spot-start for High-A Palm Beach on June 18, gave up two earned runs on seven hits over just three innings in his FSL debut.

That outing was ultimately the deciding factor in choosing the June Player of the Month.

Alvaro Seijas (Peoria Chiefs)

17-year old starter Angel Cuenca led the way on the bump for the DSL Cardinals Red, posting a 0.67 ERA across five starts in the first month of the Dominican Summer League season. The Venezeluan native struck out 21 batters over 27 innings.

For the DSL Cardinals Blue, youngsters Reinys Portillo and Gustavo Rodriguez posted 1.80 and 1.89 ERAs, respectively. Those two were the anchors atop that pitching staff in June.

TCN’s No. 37 prospect Alvaro Seijas, who is repeating Peoria, quietly has put together a bounceback 2019, including a strong month of June. The 20-year old held a 2.20 ERA across five starts, striking out 26 batters over a system-high 32 ⅔ innings.


What’s Next

Next up will be The Cardinal Nation’s June Player of the Month announcement, coming Tuesday morning, as well as the Cardinals organization’s choices of their top performers in the third month of the 2019 season.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Gulf Coast League Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 1


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.


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Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF with a special 50% off deal for annual members and printed book form, now $5 off.

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ravelo Named The Cardinal Nation May Player of the Month

photo: Rangel Ravelo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

This is the first of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Player and Pitcher of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals organization. While the Cardinals themselves recognize their top players as well, we undertake our own independent analysis unencumbered by the organization’s selection criteria.

Let’s get right to it with a look at the list of May system-wide hitting leaders.


Ravelo claims TCN’s top hitting honors

Rangel Ravelo (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

While a number of hitters in the Cardinals system had strong performances in May, one hitter distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of hitting to help carry the Triple-A Memphis offense.

Our May Player of the Month is Memphis three-hole hitter Rangel Ravelo, who should also have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Cardinals organization Player of the Month honors.

Among hitters, Ravelo led the Cardinals system with a .384 batting average, .460 on-base percentage, .606 slugging percentage and a 1.066 OPS over 29 games in May.

Ravelo also tied with TCN’s No. 2 prospect and Springfield outfielder Dylan Carlson for the system-lead in extra-base hits. The first baseman collected eight doubles, one triple and four homers while driving in 17 runs.

The month of May represented an impressive turnaround for Ravelo after he slashed .173/.253/.307 in 21 games to open the year in April after coming off the injured list.

During this past month, the 27-year old fell just one game short of tying Adam Kennedy’s franchise-best 20-game hitting streak, and the 27-year old is now on track to put together a third straight solid season for the Redbirds.

However, Ravelo has been stuck at Triple-A for parts of the last five seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Cardinals, and with the organization recently locking up first baseman Paul Goldschmidt long-term, it essentially serves to continue blocking the career minor leaguer’s primary path to the majors.

This is repeat recognition for Ravelo, who was both TCN’s and the Cardinals organization’s Player of the Month in June 2018.


Honorable Mentions

Dylan Carlson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Runner-up to Ravelo is Carlson, who slashed a steady .304/.393/.559 in 27 games in May for Springfield. The 20-year old switch-hitter continues his breakout season and has proven to be one of the most complete players in the Texas League, where he is among the season leaders in 10 offensive categories..

Last month, Carlson tallied a whopping 13 extra-base hits – four doubles, five triples and four homers. He also drove in 17 runs and swiped seven bags in nine chances for the S-Cards.

“For us, he has been very consistent,” Springfield manager Joe Kruzel said. “From the beginning to right now, he has probably been our most consistent player all-around.”

Julio Rodriguez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Another player who received consideration is High-A Palm Beach catcher Julio Rodriguez, who slashed .333/.397/.536 in 19 May games. The 21-year old backstop slugged three home runs and drove in 14 runs for the Beach Birds.

Rodriguez, whose receives good reviews for his defense and especially his plus throwing arm, has impressed with the bat this season in the tough pitcher-friendly Florida State League, where he has been named a 2019 All-Star. TCN’s no. 19 prospect seems primed for Springfield, and could move up even further in our rankings with a continued strong offensive showing.

Ivan Herrera (Peoria Chiefs)

At Low-A Peoria, catcher Ivan Herrera stood out. Herrera posted a .297/.376/.419 slash line with three doubles, two homers and 18 RBI in 20 games for the Chiefs. He accomplished that all while playing in a cold-weather league for the first time as a 19-year old.

According to scouts, Herrera has shown the ability to receive well behind the plate this season. He flashes an average arm and has gap type power. The Panamanian has a chance to be a solid backup on a major league club or become a regular on a second division team. He is currently 11th on TCN’s top 50 prospect list.


What’s Next

Next up will be The Cardinal Nation’s May Pitcher of the Month announcement, coming Sunday morning, as well as the Cardinals organization’s choices of their top performers in the second month of the 2019 season.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Set Dominican Summer League Red and Blue Rosters


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.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF with a special 50% off deal for annual members and printed book form, now $5 off.

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 5

The Springfield Cardinals had an uneven, but even 3-3 week in Texas League action. After dropping the three-game series at Amarillo (SD), Springfield took the four-game set at Frisco (TEX) to finish the week on a strong note. The rotation, paced by Williams Perez, is performing well.

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Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 4

The Double-A Cardinals look to turn the page after a slow 8-17 start in April. Springfield logged a 3-3 record in Week 4 as Kramer Robertson is swinging a hot bat. Manager Joe Kruzel outlines the positives he has seen from his club.

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Parsons Named The Cardinal Nation April Pitcher of the Month

photo: Tommy Parsons (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

This is the first part of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Players and Pitchers of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals system. While the Cardinals recognize their top players as well, we undertake independent analysis unencumbered by the organization’s selection criteria.

Let’s get right to it with a look at the list of April system-wide pitching leaders.


Parsons claims TCN’s top pitching honors

Tommy Parsons (Peoria Chiefs)

While a number of starters in the Cardinals system had strong Aprils, one hurler distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of pitching to get himself on the prospect radar.

Our April Pitcher of the Month is Low-A Peoria starter and TCN’s No. 50 prospect Tommy Parsons, who should also have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Cardinals organization and is a shoe-in to garner Midwest Pitcher of the Month honors.

In 30 innings, Parsons went 3-0 for the Chiefs and leads the Cardinals system with a minuscule 0.30 ERA (allowed one earned run the entire month), and 0.53 WHIP. Midwest League teams are hitting .109 against him.

The Peoria Chiefs Opening Night starter has struck out 23 batters and walked just five. Parsons, who also leads the MWL in ERA, WHIP, and innings pitched, has the league’s only complete game, a two-hit shutout against Quad Cities on April 22.

Parsons was named the MWL Pitcher of the Week in two of the three periods in April – the first and last.

“When he goes out there, we feel confident he’ll take us late into the game,” Peoria manager Erick Almonte told the Peoria Journal Star. “Tommy’s been great. He keeps hitters off balance with his breaking ball and can throw any of his three pitches for strikes on any count. What else can you say?”

Tommy Parsons (Peoria Chiefs)

Simply put, Parsons is a feel-good story. He went undrafted last year after four excellent seasons on the hill at Division III Adrian College. The 23-year old righty signed with the Cardinals on June 12, 2018.

Parsons is not a flamethrower, but he has topped out at 94 mph on his fastball. He sits more comfortably in the 90-91 range with an effective and curveball and changeup mix that has overmatched Midwest League hitters to this point.

Last summer, Parsons started his professional career at Rookie League Johnson City. He was 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA, striking out 43 through 57 innings of work.

For an undrafted DII pitcher, Parsons has written a masterful first chapter in his first month of his first full season of pro ball.


Honorable Mentions

Jake Woodford (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Runner-up to Parsons is TCN’s No. 14 prospect Jake Woodford, who also has a strong case to be named the organization’s top pitcher for April. The righty posted a 1.20 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Memphis.

If the right-hander keeps pitching like this, it may not be long before Woodford finds himself on a big-league mound in St. Louis.

One pitcher whp quietly put together a strong April is Peoria starter Diego Cordero, who like his teammate Parsons is in full-season ball for the first time in his career. The 21-year old southpaw had a 1.46 ERA in four starts for the Chiefs, posting a 20-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio over 24 ⅔ innings.

Johan Oviedo (Peoria Chiefs)

High-A Palm Beach Opening Night starter Johan Oviedo is also off to a terrific start to 2019. The big Cuban right-hander owns a 1.60 ERA over six games (five starts) that includes a 34-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio. Oviedo is also a perfect 5-0 on the season for the Beach Birds and seems primed for the Texas League.

Oviedo ranks as TCN’s No. 20 prospect.

Anthony Shew also received consideration. He is a bright spot in an otherwise struggling Springfield rotation. The righty held an ERA of 1.93 in five April starts for the S-Cards, including a 27-to-6 strikeout to walk ratio over 28 innings. His reward is a promotion to Triple-A Memphis received on Monday.

Shew is TCN’s No. 45 prospect.

Angel Rondon (Peoria Chiefs)

Palm Beach starter Angel Rondon is also worthy of mention. He had a 3-0 record with a 2.08 ERA for the Beach Birds. The 21-year old Dominican struck out 25 batters and issued nine free passes over four starts (21 ⅔ innings pitched).

Rondon rated as TCN’s No. 35 prospect in April.

Lefty Austin Gomber put together a dominant month for Memphis, posting a 2.54 ERA in five starts for the Redbirds. Gomber led the system with 30 strikeouts and he also had a seven-inning complete game shutout on April 20 against Round Rock (HOU).

Gomber, who exceeded his prospect status last year after hurling 75 innings for the Cardinals, should be among the pitchers on the I-55 shuttle between Memphis and St. Louis in 2019.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Pare Minor League Pitching


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.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 2

Returning home in week 2, the Double-A Cardinals went 5-2, including a sweep over Northwest Arkansas, but pitching troubles were evident in the final two games. Manager Joe Kruzel discusses his young team. Second baseman Irving Lopez has swung a hot bat.

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2019 Springfield Cardinals Feature Experience and Youth

photo: Dylan Carlson (Aaron Doster/Imagn)

The Springbirds of 2019 flocked to their adopted hometown on Saturday, returning to the Missouri city following one of their more down seasons in recent memory.

Two days later, the Springfield Cardinals hosted their Media Day at Hammons Field. As part of the Monday event, the Double-A Cardinals released their preliminary Opening Day roster.

The 2019 version of the S-Cards will feature many familiar faces from last year’s club on the pitching side, including eight returnees who saw time at Double-A last season.

The pitching staff opening 2019 will be more experienced than the group that struggled last season. TCN’s No. 17 prospect Evan Kruczynski will return and anchor the S-Cards’ rotation while No. 30 prospect Seth Elledge and No. 39 prospect Connor Jones should lead a much-improved relief corps.

On the other side of the roster, almost every position player is stepping up from high-A ball. The headliners are a pair of 20-year olds – TCN’s No. 4 prospect Elehuris Montero and No. 8 prospect Dylan Carlson.

“Anytime you are beginning something new, there is a lot of excitement around the ballpark,” Springfield manager Joe Kruzel said. “The players are really excited. Now, they get to where it starts to count. This is going to be a nice little ballclub. Once they start to get their spikes in the ground and start playing a little more, you will see a really exciting ballclub.”


Starters

All five starters in the tentative rotation accumulated innings at Double-A in 2018: Kruczynski, Anthony Shew, Casey Meisner, Austin Warner and Williams Perez – three right-handers and two southpaws.

Evan Kruczynski (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Kruczynski, a 24-year old, has the physical ingredients to stand out, including a workhorse-like 6-foot-5, 215-pound frame coupled with advanced pitchability, which allowed him to reach Double-A in just his first full season of professional ball.

At Springfield last year, Kruczynski had success in a six-start sample. He was called the most effective starter on Springfield’s pitching staff by former manager Johnny Rodriguez despite only being with the club for a full month.

Shew, a 25-year old, comes off a season in which he was named TCN’s Springfield 2018 Starter of the Year. Shew led the way with 114 innings hurled on the season for the club. The right-hander also missed the most bats (96 strikeouts) of any starter on the staff and issued the fewest amount of walks (32) while also having the best WHIP at 1.40.

Armed with a five-pitch mix, Shew throws a sinker, changeup, curveball, slider and cutter. His fastball/change combination has always been his bread-and-butter, but an area of emphasis was placed on refining his other secondary pitches this past season.

Meisner, a 23-year old and TCN’s No. 48 prospect, was quietly effective in a short time for Springfield last season, posting a 3.60 ERA in six starts. The tall, deceptive right-hander struck out 33 batters against 14 walks over 40 innings with the S-Cards.

Austin Warner (Andrew Miller/Palm Beach Cardinals)

Warner, a 24-year old who the Cardinals signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2017, pitched across three levels last year – Palm Beach, Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. The lefty had a 5.34 ERA in six starts for the 2018 S-Cards.

Warner is an undersized hurler who competes with outstanding mound presence, according to scouts. He sits 91-94 mph with his fastball on his best days with an average curveball and changeup.

Perez started for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs in 2017 and the Double-A Arkansas Travelers this past season. The Venezuelan native also appeared in 34 games for the Atlanta Braves in 2015 and 2016, logging a 5.18 ERA in 31 starts and three relief appearances.

Perez was released by Atlanta in December 2016 and by the Cubs last February. He has an array of pitches, featuring a four-seam fastball, sinker, curveball and changeup.

One name that is not listed on the Springfield roster, but was recently claimed off waivers from the Giants and assigned to the Double-A club is Merandy Gonzalez. The 23-year old made his major-league debut with the Marlins last summer and spent most of the 2018 campaign at their Double-A affiliate.

Gonzalez works mostly in the 93-95 mph range as a starter with an above-average curveball and feel for a changeup. His power repertoire should play up eventually as a bullpen arm as he faces questions with his command as a starter.


Relievers

The tentative bullpen includes seven right-handed arms and one left-hander. Funky lefty Jacob Patterson will be the lone southpaw in the bullpen. He will make his Texas League debut after spending all of last year at Palm Beach.

Patterson, 23, held a 3.64 ERA in 51 games with the Beach Birds. The Cardinals’ 2017 13th round pick out of Texas Tech also posted a 72-to-23 strikeout to walk ratio, converting four saves in seven chances.

The righty relievers include Elledge, Jones, Will Latcham, Jesus Cruz, John Fasola, Harold Arauz and Roel Ramirez.

Seth Elledge (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Elledge came to the Cardinals from Seattle in the Sam Tuivailala trade last summer. He was assigned to Double-A Springfield, where he posted a 4.32 ERA over 13 games. The 22-year old converted four saves in six chances, striking out 20 batters through 16 ⅔ innings pitched.

Elledge throws his lively fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and will mix in a hard breaking ball that grades out at major-league average.

Jones, a 24-year old, has some of the more extensive experience at Double-A among pitchers on the Springfield roster. He spent most of the 2018 season as a starter, but he found a role as a reliever late in the season and into the Arizona Fall League.

His stuff ticked up as a result with reports of his heavy sinker being thrown at 92-96, touching 98. His curveball, which Jones says was his most consistent pitch in 2018, is average but flashed above-average at times out of the bullpen.

In his first full season of professional ball, Latcham split the 2018 campaign between High-A Palm Beach and Springfield, compiling a 3.48 ERA in 44 games. He finished off the year with a stint at Triple-A Memphis in the playoffs and followed in the Arizona Fall League.

Latcham’s greatest asset is his arm strength. He throws 93-95 and mixes in a swing and miss curveball as his out pitch.

Jesus Cruz (Andrew Miller/Palm Beach Cardinals)

Cruz, a 23-year old, is another newcomer. He signed with the Cardinals two years ago out of Mexico and split time between low-A Peoria and Palm Beach last year, posting a 3.27 ERA in 30 games (16 starts).

Cruz is expected to move back to the bullpen in 2019 where his fastball, slider and changeup all play best.

The Cardinals selected Fasola in the Rule 5 draft from the Rangers in December. The 27-year old has spent parts of the last two years in the Texas League with Frisco. He boasted a 4.05 ERA over 21 games last year.

Another new name, Arauz signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent this past offseason after being with the Phillies. The 23-year old spent the majority of 2018 at Double-A in 2018 where he went 9-7 with a 4.59 ERA over 24 starts.

Arauz first signed with the Astros 2012 before he was dealt to the Phillies three years later in a trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston.

The final bullpen arm is Ramirez, who joined the Cardinals in the Tommy Pham trade last summer. The 23-year old posted a 5.06 ERA in 10 games for Springfield last season after performing well out of the bullpen for the Rays’ Double-A affiliate.

Ramirez, who was a starter with a generic fastball with developing secondary stuff, made the conversion to relieving full-time in 2018. His fastball velocity spiked into the 95-96 mph range with a split-finger changeup and slider.


Catchers

Jose Godoy (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals will be carrying two catchers – Jose Godoy and Brian O’Keefe.

The duo should split time behind the dish for Springfield as they did last year at Palm Beach.

Godoy slashed .289/.381/.374 in 68 games for the Beach Birds in 2018 while O’Keefe hit .243/.358/.412 over 73 games.

Infielder Chris Chinea also has experience at catcher. He could step in anytime and don the tools of ignorance as well as cover first base.


Infielders

The six-man infield includes a mix of returning and fresh faces.

Elehuris Montero (Peoria Chiefs)

The obvious headliner of the group is Montero, who rates as TCN’s No. 4 prospect and comes off a season in which he was named Most Valuable Player in the Midwest League. He spent most of the 2018 season as a 19-year old, led the MWL in batting average (.322), slugging (.529) and OPS (.910).

Not only that, he became the Cardinals’ first MWL MVP since Albert Pujols in 2000. Montero will likely be the primary third baseman. With the bat to make a huge impact, he has a chance to make a name for himself on the national level this summer.

The roster also features former LSU star Kramer Robertson, up from Palm Beach. The 24-year old is looking to bounce back after an up-and-down offensive season in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Florida State League.

He will likely be the everyday shortstop for Springfield.

Irving Lopez (Peoria Chiefs)

Irving Lopez, who posted solid numbers between Palm Beach and Peoria last year, steps up to Springfield for the first time as well. The 23-year old slashed .280/.368/.395 over 110 games between both levels.

Lopez should be the everyday second baseman for the S-Cards.

Backing them up will be Alberto Triunfel. The 25-year old, who was with the Angels organization last year, came to the Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft in December. He hit a combined .235/.293/.367 with six home runs and 45 RBI in 103 games in 2018.

At first base, Chinea and Stefan Trosclair should split duties. Both are returnees to the Springfield roster.


Outfielders

Including Shane Billings, Springfield has four outfielders on its initial roster.

The other outfielders will be the ones that will likely play every day – Carlson, Conner Capel and Scott Hurst.

Carlson will be the biggest name to watch. As one of the youngest players in the Midwest League and Florida State League, the 20-year old proved to hold his own and adjust against more advanced competition over the last two years.

He also was one of the youngest prospects to stick around in 2019 big-league camp.

Although he has yet to post eye-popping numbers at any level in his professional career, Carlson is a 2019 breakout candidate and has a chance to blossom in the hitter-friendly Texas League.

Conner Capel (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Capel, who is TCN’s No. 31 prospect, should also benefit with the promotion to Springfield. He did not dominate before the trade from the Indians to the Cardinals last summer and his performance dropped after joining Palm Beach.

Like with Carlson, perhaps a chance to perform in a more hitter-friendly environment will help him rediscover his power. The 21-year old collected 44 extra-base hits (22 doubles and 22 homers) at low-A Lake County just two years ago.

Hurst, who ranks as TCN’s No. 40 prospect, performed well in a 2018 season when available, but he was on the disabled list four times. Despite spending the majority of the season on the shelf, the 23-year old’s productive season and solid spring warranted him a promotion to Springfield.

The key this season for Hurst will be staying healthy.


Conclusion

So, that concludes our look at the new version of the 2019 Springfield Cardinals, a club with an experienced pitching staff and upside in its offense as they seek to zoom toward the first half title in the Texas League North Division.

Dylan Carlson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

It is safe to say the S-Cards are anxious to get started.

“I’m extremely excited to get going,” Carlson said. “We have a great group of guys. It is going to be a lot of fun. Great staff. I’m just ready to get out there. I heard a lot of great things about this city. I’m really excited.”

“I’m very excited and eager to be here,” Montero said with Springfield strength coach Dan Vega serving as a translator. “A lot of big-leaguers have come through here. I’m excited for the opportunity the team has given me.”

Though the Opening Day starting pitcher has yet to be announced, Springfield will open the season on the road against NW Arkansas (KC) on Thursday, April 4.

The first homestand of 2019 is scheduled to commence a week later on Thursday, April 11 versus the Naturals once again.


What is next

I will be back this season with my weekly notebooks from Hammons Field covering the Springfield Cardinals, running each Thursday. I also hope to contribute interviews on occasion, all for members of The Cardinal Nation.

Stay tuned for more full-season roster information over the next week here at The Cardinal Nation.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minor League Movers and Shakers


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.


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 3/24/2019

photo: Stanley Espinal (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday minor league action, games held at Roger Dean in Jupiter, Florida against the Miami Marlins full-season affiliates.

With the exception of Memphis, which broke camp, every affiliate had stats provided on Sunday. Palm Beach was the only team to come out victorious while Springfield and Peoria dropped their games.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 10 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.

Saturday’s Pitcher of the Day – Jacob Patterson, Palm Beach

Jacob Patterson (Palm Beach Cardinals)

The lefty reliever tossed a scoreless inning to help Palm Beach defeat the Astros High-A affiliate. He struck out two and only allowed two hits on the day.

Patterson, who was the Cardinals 2017 13th round selection out of Texas Tech, boasted a 3.64 ERA over 51 games at Palm Beach last year. The funky southpaw throws his fastball in the 87-90 mph range with a slider tough on lefty bats.

Sunday’s Hitter of the Day – Stanley Espinal, Palm Beach

Stanley Espinal (Lowell Spinners)

The third baseman collected two hits, which were two long balls. He also scored two runs for the Beach Birds.

Espinal joined the Cardinals from Boston two years ago for international bonus pool money. This past season, the 22-year old was voted the State College Spikes Most Valuable Player, totaling team highs in average (.286), RBI (41), home runs (8) and total runs (41).

 Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees by working roster assignment and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.

Springfield (4-3-1) 7, Corpus Christi 14

Springfield pitching:

  • N/A

Springfield hitting:

  • Conner Capel (CF) – 4-for-4, 2 R – Capel continues his hot-hitting after being TCN’s Saturday Hitter of the Day. Will the 21-year old open the year at Springfield?

Palm Beach (4-3-1) 5, Fayetteville 4

Palm Beach pitching:

  • Jacob Patterson – 1.0 IP, H, 2 K – Sunday’s Pitcher of the Day

Palm Beach hitting:

  • Stanley Espinal (3B) – 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 HR – Sunday’s Hitter of the Day

Peoria (4-4) 3, Quad Cities 9

Peoria pitching:

  • N/A

Peoria hitting:

  • Mateo Gil (SS) – 2-for-3, R – slick-fielding shortstop, who was the Cardinals 3rd round pick last year. Sleep to watch coming into 2019.

Peoria 2 / Quad Cities, no score provided

Peoria pitching: 

  • Fransisco Justo – 1.0 IP, H, R, 3 K – Cardinals 13th round pick from last summer. Former Juco standout, whose best pitch is his fastball that features late life.

Peoria hitting:

  • N/A

Tomorrow’s games: Monday’s minor league games are scheduled to be held in Port St. Lucie and Jupiter. Springfield travels to St. Lucie to play New York while Palm Beach and Peoria stay at Roger Dean and hosts the Mets lower-level minors clubs. Games start at 10 a.m. ET.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!

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 may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/23/19

photo: Austin Gomber (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday minor league action, which are games held at Roger Dean in Jupiter, Florida against the Miami Marlins full-season affiliates.

With the exception of Peoria, the St. Louis’ squads all won with pitching ahead of hitting, allowing a combined five runs across three games. Two of those games featured shutouts from Memphis and Palm Beach.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 10 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.

Saturday’s Pitcher of the Day – Austin Gomber, Memphis

Austin Gomber (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

After being optioned out by the Cardinals on Wednesday, Gomber was solid in his first outing on the backfields Saturday. The southpaw fanned five batters over five shutout innings.

Gomber, who will start the season at Memphis and will remain stretched out in case he is needed at the major league level, made four Grapefruit League appearances this spring. Over 11 innings, he allowed 19 hits (including six homers) and 13 runs.

His main issue was executing his fastball command, but he certainly took steps forward against the Marlins.

Saturday’s Hitter of the Day – Conner Capel, Springfield

Conner Capel (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The outfielder collected three hits, including a triple, three RBI and he came around to score twice.

Capel joined the Cardinals from Cleveland along with Jhon Torres in the Oscar Mercado trade last July and made his organizational debut in the Florida State League. Though it was only 29 games, the 21-year old hit .248 with a homer and 19 runs driven in.

Will he advance to Springfield to open the 2019 season?

 Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees by working roster assignment and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.

Memphis (3-3-1) 2, New Orleans 0

Memphis pitching:

  • Austin Gomber – 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K – Saturday’s Pitcher of the Day.

Memphis hitting:

  • Brian O’Keefe (C) – 2-for-3, R, HR, RBI – 25-year old catcher, who has spent parts of the last three years at Peoria.

Springfield (4-2-1) 14, Jacksonville 5

Springfield pitching:

  • Genenis Cabrera – 4.0 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 K – power lefty, who struggled in big-league camp but still could make an impact out of the bullpen for the Cardinals at some point in 2019.

Springfield hitting:

  • Conner Capel (LF) – 3-for-5, 2 R, 3B, 3 RBI – Saturday’s Hitter of the Day.

Palm Beach (3-3-1) 3, Jupiter 0

Palm Beach pitching:

  • Edgar Gonzalez – 4.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 K – Cardinals 2018 sixth round pick out of Fresno State.
  • Roel Ramirez – 2.0 IP, H, BB, 3 K – Also apart of the Tommy Pham trade from Tampa last July.
  • Patrick Dayton – 1.0 IP, H, 2 K – 23-year old lefty, who sported a 0.78 ERA over 20 games at Peoria last year.

Palm Beach hitting:

  • Dennis Ortega (C) – 2-for-4, 2B – defensive-minded backstop, who is still looking to make traction with the bat.

Peoria (4-3) 2, Clinton 3

Peoria pitching:

  • Jacob Schlesener – 4.0 IP, H, 2 BB, 5 K – Unable to escape short-season ball yet, but his potential continues to show through.
  • Sebastian Tabata – 1.0 IP, 2 K – 21-year old Venezulean, who debuted with the DSL Cardinals Red last summer.

Peoria hitting:

  • N/A

Tomorrow’s games: Sunday’s minor league games are scheduled to be held in West Palm Beach and Jupiter. Memphis and Springfield travel to West Palm to play Houston while Palm Beach and Peoria stay at Roger Dean and hosts the Astros lower-level minors clubs. Games start at 1 p.m. ET.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!

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 may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.