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

Adolis Garcia Named TCN’s Cardinals Minors August Player of the Month

photo: Adolis Garcia (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

This is the second of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Players and Pitchers 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 August system-wide hitting leaders.

Garcia claims TCN’s top August hitting honors

While a number of hitters in the Cardinals system had strong Augusts, one hitter distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch of hitting to help Triple-A Memphis climb back into playoff contention.

Our August Player of the Month is Memphis slugger Adolis Garcia, who should have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Pacific Coast League Player of the Month honors.

Adolis Garcia

Among hitters across the Cardinals system with at least 75 at-bats, Garcia finished with the highest OPS (1.160). He also slugged a system-best eight homers and drove in the second most runs (21) in August.

Overall, Garcia slashed .338/.407/.753 and collected 14 extra-base hits through 25 games.

Memphis manager Ben Johnson explained where Garcia was in his game at the end of July.

“He’s had some ups and downs this year, but he hasn’t given in,” Johnson told The Cardinal Nation. “[Garcia] has worked diligently day-in and day-out, and now he’s finding his rhythm and staying in shape. He’s maintained his bat speed, strength and he’s taken off.”

While the strong finish to 2019 was not enough to earn him a September call-up to St. Louis, Garcia’s phenomenal month of August helped him cross the 30-homer and 90-RBI threshold.

“Thanks to God, everything has been coming out great this month,” Garcia told TCN reporter Frank Ramirez. “It took making various adjustments to make a better game plan, and thanks to that, everything has been better.”

His 95 RBI makes him the first Memphis batter since Nick Stavinoha (109 in 2011) to record 90-plus RBI in a year. He’s also the first Redbird since Rick Ankiel in 2007 to slug at least 32 homers.


Honorable Mentions

Runner-up to Garcia is High-A Palm Beach first baseman Luken Baker, who posted a .346/.413/.654 slash line over 23 games in August. The 22-year-old collected a system-best 16 extra-base hits and produced 14 RBIs for the Beach Birds.

Baker’s OPS of 1.067 ranked second only to Garcia among hitters with at least 75 at-bats.

After the most robust month of his professional career, Baker is poised to open 2020 at Double-A Springfield, where he has a chance to blossom.

Luken Baker

A trio of others who also received consideration are Memphis outfielders Justin Williams, Dylan Carlson and Randy Arozarena.

Finally healthy, Williams hit .353/.434/.576 in August and tied for a system-best with 21 RBIs over 27 games. The 23-year-old had an injury-plagued 2019, but goes into this offseason with offensive momentum.

Justin Williams

Carlson’s breakthrough season continued into August, which earned him a taste of Memphis to conclude 2019. The 20-year-old, named Texas League Player of the Year this past week, slashed .311/.387/.594 in 28 games between Double-A Springfield and Memphis.

Carlson also collected 14 extra-base hits and swiped six bags in eight chances.

Dylan Carlson

Arozarena, whose tremendous month of July powered him to his major-league debut in August, also performed well when with the Redbirds. The 24-year-old hit .314/.410/.643 with six homers and 12 RBIs for Memphis.

Randy Arozarena

Memphis infielder Ramon Urias also put together a solid August, hitting .310 with a .912 OPS in 28 games. The 25-year-old tallied 13 extra-base hits and knocked in 21 runs. Infielder Edmundo Sosa also hit well down the stretch for Memphis, hitting .345 with a .894 OPS in 27 games.

Ramon Urias

Sosa and Arozarena are expected to join St. Louis on Tuesday, with Carlson scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League.

In The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect Rankings for August, Carlson is no .1, Arozarena is ninth, Garcia came in at no. 14, Williams is 19th, Baker 24th and Urias checked in at no. 33.


Link to related article

Ponce de Leon is The Cardinal Nation August Pitcher of the Month


What’s next

This coming week, the Cardinals organization will disclose its choices of their top performers in the final month of the 2019 season.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Gulf Coast League Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 10


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 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 No.1 Prospect Dylan Carlson is Promoted to Triple-A

photo: Dylan Carlson (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Carlson heads to Memphis

In what is a big surprise timing-wise, the St. Louis Cardinals organization’s No. 1 prospect Dylan Carlson has been promoted to Triple-A Memphis with just three weeks left in the 2019 season. Carlson all but mastered the Double-A level, slashing .281/.364/.518 through 108 games and he led the league with 21 homers and 51 extra-base hits.

When he makes his debut, the 20-year old switch hitter will immediately become one of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League and puts him right on the doorstep of the big-leagues.

To put his season in perspective with Springfield, Carlson was two steals away from becoming the youngest player in the Texas League of 20 years of age or less to accomplish a 20-20 season in the last 32 years.

Carlson will also join a crowded outfield of Harrison Bader, Justin Williams, Adolis Garcia and Rangel Ravelo at Memphis. It’s one that could potentially see Randy Arozarena and Lane Thomas back in the near future once Tyler O’Neill and Jose Martinez return from injuries in St. Louis.

After the promotion, I asked a professional scout if he was surprised that Carlson was promoted to Memphis given all the outfielders currently at the level.

“Not really surprised,” the pro scout said. “I think he has had a really good year. I think they want to see if one of those outfield bats can take off. Arozarena’s success and promotion kind of laid the groundwork for this. I don’t believe Carlson is the answer for this year but I do believe they want to see what he can do and likely bring him up once rosters expand.

“I would think it’s likely they move on from Ozuna if they don’t get into the playoffs and possibly start the rebuild.”

Dylan Carlson


Robertson rejoins Springfield

In the corresponding move for Carlson, infielder Kramer Robertson rejoined Springfield after his second stint with Memphis. Robertson is hitting .235 with a .719 OPS in 66 games at Triple-A this season.

Overall for 2019, the Cardinals 2017 fourth round pick is slashing .244/.371/.406 with a career-high 11 home runs and 48 RBIs between Springfield and Memphis.

Kramer Robertson


Toerner to IL

Announced late-Thursday, Springfield outfielder Justin Toerner landed on the injured list with an undisclosed injury. This injury was likely caused after he make a catch at the wall to rob a possible home run on Wednesday night.

Toerner was in obvious pain after the play and finished out the second inning before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. It looks like a leg injury, possibly a knee.

So far with Springfield this season, Toerner is hitting .211 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 49 games.

Justin Toerner


Lopez hits the shelf

Springfield lost two players to the injured list on Thursday. The second player was second baseman Irving Lopez.

Lopez, 24, left Wednesday’s game early as well with an undisclosed injury. The Cardinals 2017 19th round pick is slashing .254/.331/.434 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 82 games for the S-Cards this season.

Irving Lopez


Chinea back

In one of two accompanying moves, first baseman/catcher Chris Chinea returned following a two week stint on the IL. He had been out with a thumb injury.

In 68 games at Springfield this season, Chinea is hitting .255 with a .732 OPS.

Chris Chinea


Yepez up

The final roster move is the promotion of first baseman Juan Yepez from High-A Palm Beach. The Venezuelan is set to make his Double-A debut.

In 2019, the 21-year old Yepez is slashing .279/.358/.463 with eight homers and 33 RBIs between Low-A Peoria and Palm Beach this season.

Juan Yepez


For more

Check out Derek Shore’s in-depth Springfield Cardinals Notebook, exclusively presented for members each Thursday here at The Cardinal Nation.

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2019 Week 19


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 18

The Springfield Cardinals’ playoff hopes faded with a disappointing 1-6 Week 18. The S-Cards are now four games back in the Texas League North with 25 games remaining. The offense stalled and the pitching was inconsistent this week. After an IL stint, Alex FaGalde has resumed leading the rotation with a 1.29 ERA at Double-A.

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Gonzalez Named TCN’s Cardinals Minors July Player of the Month

photo: Yariel Gonzalez (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

This is the first of The Cardinal Nation’s monthly two-part series as we name our Players and Pitchers of the Month across the St. Louis Cardinals organization for July. 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 July system-wide hitting leaders.

Gonzalez claims TCN’s top hitting honors

While a number of hitters in the Cardinals system had strong months of July, one hitter distinguished himself from the rest, utilizing a terrific stretch to carry Double-A Springfield’s offense to first-place in the Texas League North Division.

Our July Player of the Month is Springfield three-hole hitter Yariel Gonzalez, who should have a strong case to claim the still-to-be-announced Texas League Player of the Month honors.

Among hitters to qualify with at least 75 at-bats, Gonzalez tallied the most hits (35), total bases (60) and RBIs (30) in the Cardinals system for July. He finished with the third-highest batting average (.358), slugging percentage (.612) and had the fourth-best OPS (1.029) among qualifiers.

Yariel Gonzalez

Springfield manager Joe Kruzel uses one word to summarize his three-hole hitter.

“Consistency,” Kruzel said. “He has been able to go up there and maintain his plan and approach. He stays within himself. He has put himself into a good hitting position and giving himself a good chance to put a good swing. He has had some really positive results with that.”

The versatile infielder finished with 11 extra-base hits (four doubles and seven homers) through 98 at-bats for Springfield. In that span, he established a solid 13-to-9 strikeout to walk ratio as well.

The 2018 Peoria Chiefs mid-season and post-season All-Star’s month was highlighted by him being named Texas League Player of the Week on July 14. Overall with Springfield, Gonzalez is slashing .317/.368/.525 with five doubles, eight homers and 34 runs drive in over 36 games.

While many scouts view Gonzalez as upper-level organizational depth, some Cardinals prospects tend to end up being better than most think, ala Luke Voit. He certainly has a chance to be a big-leaguer, especially if he keeps hitting.

Gonzalez has set both short-term and long-term goals going forward.

“I’m trying to move up,” Gonzalez said. “I’m trying to keep going for my goal. All my life I just want to get to the bigs. I’m pretty sure that is every player’s goal. If I stay (at Springfield), I just want to get a championship. I want a ring. I want to celebrate with my boys and have a great time.

“That is all that matters right now.”


Honorable Mentions

Runner-up is Memphis outfielder Randy Arozarena, who finished the month with a .378 batting average. The 24-year old Cuban native also had an impressive 1.047 OPS in 27 games for Memphis in July.

The Cardinals organization’s reigning Player of the Month from June collected 14 extra-base hits (10 doubles, one triple and three homers), drove in 17 runs and swiped three bags in six chances. His month was headlined by hitting for the cycle in five innings on July 26th.

After perhaps the most robust month of his professional career, Arozarena is buliding his case to make his major-league debut at some point in 2019.

“He could help our major league club in a lot of ways,” Memphis manager Ben Johnson told the media. “He brings a lot of skill to the table. With that being said, our big league club has a lot of talent there, too. But I think at some point, if the fit were right, Randy could definitely go up and help our Major League club without a question.”

Randy Arozarena

Another who received consideration was outfielder Lane Thomas, who slashed .347/.388/.667 in 20 games for Memphis this month. He had second-best OPS of anyone in the Cardinals system with a 1.054 mark. The 23-year old slugged six homers and recorded 19 RBIs for the Triple-A club before being promoted to St. Louis.

Lane Thomas

At Low-A Peoria, third baseman Brendan Donovan had a month to remember, slashing a system-best .390/.489/.675 but in 20 fewer at-bats than Gonzalez and Arozarena as well against lesser competition. The 22-year old posted the best OPS (1.164) in the system with as many extra-base hits (14) as RBIs for Peoria this month.

Donovan is a name to keep an eye on if he is able to sustain his production as he moves ahead to higher levels.

Brendan Donovan

Back to Springfield, 20-year old sensation Dylan Carlson continued his breakout year and proved in July that his first half was not a fluke. The switch-hitting outfielder slashed .301/.389/.602 in 23 games. Of his 28 hits for the month, 14 of those went for extra-bases. He also had his most powerful month of the 2019 season, slugging seven homers in July for the S-Cards.

Dylan Carlson

Down at short-season Rookie Johnson City, second baseman Chandler Redmond continued to be a valuable middle-of-the-order bat for the Appy League Cardinals. His OPS was .882 in 24 games and hit five home runs while driving in 16.

Chandler Redmond


Update


What’s Next

Next up will be The Cardinal Nation’s July Pitcher of the Month announcement as well as the Cardinals organization’s choices of their top performers in the fourth month of the 2019 season.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation – Hear more from Gonzalez

Yariel Gonzalez Plays for Puerto Rico – and to Reach the Majors


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.

Johan Oviedo Emerging at Double-A

Cuban native Johan Oviedo was one of St. Louis’ top signings in the 2016-2017 international class and is now beginning to realize his potential at Double-A Springfield. Derek Shore talks with the big right-handed pitcher and his managers prior and current.

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