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2022 Dominican Summer League Cardinals Player of the Year

photo: Cardinals Dominican Academy (St. Louis Cardinals) Overview In the 2022 version of the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Cardinals, 17 position players took the field.  A detailed breakdown of age and experience may be found in the 2022 DSL Cardinals Team Review linked here. As outlined there, the 2022 Cardinals’ offense was definitely the club’s…

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2022 Dominican Summer League Cardinals Team Review

photo: Cardinals Dominican Academy (St. Louis Cardinals)

Overall
The Dominican Summer League (DSL) is at the rookie level within baseball’s minor league system.  The DSL is a gateway into affiliated professional baseball for players not eligible for Major League Baseball’s annual First-Year Player Draft.  The lack of eligibility is mainly due to not meeting the residency requirement.

Here is the link to our 2022 DSL Cardinals Team Preview providing an overview of both the league, its current construct and the team as it stood on the cusp of the 2022 season.

St. Louis’ History in the League
After 13 seasons with one team in the DSL, St. Louis expanded to two squads for the 2018 season, becoming one of 17 organizations fielding two teams.  The original team became Cardinals Blue and the second team Cardinals Red. They shared the Baseball Oasis facility with one team home while the other was on the road.  Except for the 2020 season, wiped out by the worldwide pandemic, this arrangement held through the 2021 season.

During that off-season St. Louis contracted its Dominican Summer League organization back to one team, the only one of 30 major league organizations to so do. As a result, instead of up to 70 players active, the 2022 maximum was 35.

The 2022 Season
The 2022 season was comprised of 60 games running from Monday, June 6th through Tuesday, August 23rd.  The season length was identical to the 2021 season but 12 fewer contests than in 2019.  Sunday was a league-wide off-day with Wednesday off-days scheduled intermittently.

The DSL Cardinals were one of 19 teams playing 59 of 60 contests, their only cancellation occurring in last game of the season, schedule against the Mariners on August 18th.  17 teams played all 60 games with the 13-team balance playing from 50 to 58 games.

Team
The 35-man roster remained almost entirely intact for the season’s entirety.  For the first time in my memory there were no promotions to the Florida Complex League, very likely due to fewer opportunities stateside because of the US minor league contraction.  The sole roster change was the unexpected release of middle infielder Maycol Justo, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Cardinals Blue Player of the Year, on July 29, 2022, an action that became public in early September.

Maycol Justo

The roster consisted of 17 position players and 18 pitchers, 11 of them in their rookie campaign, 22 with one year prior professional experience and two being two-year veterans.  The latter two were both relievers.

Marking each player’s age as of midnight of June 30th of the current season, per Baseball Reference, the 11 rookies consisted of one 16-year-old, nine 17-year-olds and one 19-year-olds.  Of the 22 players for whom the 2021 campaign was their rookie season, two were 17, nine were 18, 10 were 19 and one was 20.  Both players with two years of pro ball experience were 20.

Overall, five countries were represented:  the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba and Aruba.  60% hailed from the Dominican Republic, 10 from Venezuela, two from Mexico and one each from Cuba and Aruba.  The 60% Dominican representation was down from 72% last season.

The Season
The story of the 2022 season was absent players.  The 2022 iteration of the DSL Cardinals included 47% of its position players missing significant time.  Eight players were out a total of 93 contests, six of the eight being Opening Day starters. Those six missed a collective 60 games.

This information was a by-product of tracking players by position played, batting order and whether they got a hit (to see hitting streaks more easily).  All players not seeing action for six plus consecutive games, one full week of action, were coded as absent.  A return to the field ended said coding.  Players not seeing action for less than six consecutive contests were considered to be part of regular player rotation.

While the reason(s) for those absences are unknown since the flexibility inherent in the 35-man roster means players are not officially placed on the Injured or Temporary Inactive Lists, those absences cannot help but impact both the player’s development and the team’s momentum.

Overall, the DSL Cardinals went 33-26, finishing in fourth place in the nine-team South Division.  They trailed the Division-winning Rockies by 7 ½ games.

The team performed better on the road. They broke even, 14-14, at home but were 19-12 away.  The Dominican Birds went 8-10 in June, 15-8 in July and 10-8 in August.  (Note on month-by-month records:  There were two games suspended in one month and completed in a different month.  This report uses actual real time results and not retroactive adjusted records.)

Their longest winning streak was five games from July 11th through the 15th, a span in which the team had only one of the aforementioned eight long-term absentees missing time.  The team never lost more than two games in a row.

Pitching
18 different hurlers took the mound with starter Alexandre Beltre and reliever Yordy Herrera representing the southpaws.  The average age of the staff was 18.3 years old, placing them a bit under the league average age of 18.6.  That 18.3 average age put them in a three-way tie for 15th in the 49-team league.

Leonel Sequera

The youngest was starter Leonel Sequera who did not turn 17 until August 5th, making him the youngest player on the roster.  He was one of six rookies.  The remaining five rookies were all 17 as of June 30, 2022.  10 hurlers had one year of pro experience:  two 18-year-olds, seven 19-year-olds and one at 20.  Both two-year veterans were 20-year-old relievers.

Nine of the 18 started at least one contest but what proved to be the main rotation emerged by the season’s second week. Five right-handers: Darlin Saladin, Juan Salas, Ronny Oliver, Nelfry Ynfante and Sequera along with the lefty Beltre.  At the season’s onset, Beltre and Ynfante were a tandem pair but by the season’s close both received their own starts while Oliver became the ‘floating’ starter.

Overall, the pitching staff was below league average in most pitching categories. Their efforts were compiled in 486 2/3 frames, sixth most.  Their results ranked them from 12th to 40th in seven statistical categories.  See the chart below.

Category Result Rank Note
Innings Pitched (IP) 486.2 6th
Strikeouts per 9 IP 9.76 12th
Earned Run Average 4.46 23rd
Home Runs per 9 IP 0.50 23rd (t) 13-way tie
Strikeouts to Walks 1.72:1 29th
Walks per 9 IP 5.68 35th
Hits per 9 IP 8.70 36th (t) 2-way tie
WHIP 1.59 40th (t) 3-way tie

However, those numbers were impacted by two main factors: a lackluster bullpen and defense.  23% of the season’s runs allowed were unearned.  Five of the six-man rotation compiled a sub-3.50 FIP.  None of the 12 relievers managed that.

Offense
17 position players took the field in 2022:  five rookies and 12 one-year veterans.  Their average age of 17.8 was right at league average, placing them in a nine-way tie for 22nd.

The five first-year players were comprised of four 17-year-olds plus 19-year-old Cuban signee Yaisel Ramos.  The 12-veteran player balance included two 17-year-olds, seven 18-year-olds and three at 19.  The youngest was bonus baby shortstop Jonathan Mejia who turned 17 in April.  Mejia was six months older than catcher Luis Rodriguez, another higher-priced 2022 signee.  Ramos was the eldest.

Jonathan Mejia

As outlined in the chart below, the offense was productive, placing in the upper 25% in most categories, and always in the top half.  They did not place lower than 23rd out of 49 teams in any of the seven listed categories.  (See Chart below).  The Dominican Birds walked an average of once every 7.15 at bats and fanned an average of once every 3.15 at bats.

Category Result Rank Note
Plate Appearances 2244 3rd
At Bats 1851 8th
Runs per Game 6.05 8th
Slugging 0.387 10th
OPS 0.754 11th
On-Base Percentage 0.367 16th (t) 2-way tie
Batting Average 0.245 23rd

Positions and Defense
Below is a chart listing all 17 position players and the number of games at each position played.  The eight italicized names are those accounting for the 93 games missed as referenced in the first paragraph of the Team section.  Additionally, the names of the six Opening Day starters in the group of eight are listed in bold.

Players C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF DH
Batista, Arfeni 2 25 12 2
Carmona, Carlos 26 6
Encarnacion, Anyelo 30 1 3
Guerrero, Justin 20 3
Guerrero, Yancel 33 8 1
Hernandez, Maikel 10 21
Justo, Maycol 4 1 16 5
Loaiza, Alejandro 20 7
Mejia, Jonathan 32 12
Pena, Yordalin 41 4
Perez, Marcelo 1 27
Ramos, Yaisel 9 20 13
Reynoso, Elias 26 4
Rodriguez, Luis 17 8
Rombley, Keshawn 16 1 1 5
Suarez, Jose 31 8
Vargas, Miguel 1 12 17 8

Defensively, the Cardinals were in a three-way tie for 34th in the league with a .948 fielding percentage.  In comparison, the league’s top defensive team for the second consecutive season was the North Division champion Red Sox Blue with a .969 fielding percentage and the worst was the Guardian Red’s .935, the latter finishing 26 ½ games in the rear of the Red Sox Blue.

There were no defensive standouts on the squad, right fielder Jose Suarez’s .982 fielding percentage in 31 games was the team high.  The 17-year-old had one error and one assist with 55 putouts in 258 innings.

Backstop duties were shared among one-year vets Justin Guerrero and Alejandro Loaiza plus rookie Luis Rodriguez. The latter missed 26 games over two separate time spans.  Rodriguez’ absence leaves a great deal to “What Might Have Been” for the talented prospect who received playing priority when available.

Luis Rodriguez

Of the two remaining catchers, Guerrero caught 153 2/3 frames to Loaiza’s 140 2/3.  Guerrero had the better caught stealing rate, 40%, with 31 stolen bases in 52 attempts versus Loaiza’s 27% caught stealing rate (22 stolen bases in 30 attempts) and range factor, 10.10 to 8.40.  Loaiza was charged with two miscues and seven passed balls while Guerrero committed seven errors with four passed balls.

Conclusion
The DSL Cardinals generated above average results, driven by their offense.  The rotation was solid, by and large, but both the bullpen and defense were weaknesses.  The substantial time missed by eight position players impacted the team but to what extent cannot be determined.

What is next?

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 Florida Complex League Team Review is next up.

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


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Memphis Redbirds Notebook – 2022 Week 24


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2022 Dominican Summer League Cardinals Team Preview

photo: Cardinals Dominican Academy (St. Louis Cardinals)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the 2022 Dominican Summer League Cardinals Notebook, future editions of which will post on Sundays, exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation.


The League

The 2022 Dominican Summer League (DSL) is comprised of 49 teams representing all 30 major league organizations.  That 49 number is up from 46 in 2021 and 45 squads in 2019.  25 of the 30 organizations fielded the same number of teams in 2022 as in 2021:  nine have one team and 16 had two squads.

Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Miami all increased their participation, the Braves re-entering the league after a one-year absence and the other three upping from one to two teams.

St Louis is the only organization to contract from 2021 to 2022, reducing their teams from two to one after fielding two teams during the 2018, 2019 and 2021 campaigns.  Compared to their National League Central Division rivals, only Cincinnati has one DSL team.

One-team Organizations
Angels San Diego Washington
Cincinnati Seattle White Sox
Minnesota St. Louis
Oakland Toronto

The 2022 60-game schedule runs from June 6th through August 23rd which is shorter than schedules prior to 2020 that had 72 contests.  Sunday is a league-wide off day with intermittent off days included.

The Division

The league continues to be made up of six divisions with the same names as 2021:  North, South, Northeast, Northwest, Baseball City and San Pedro.  But noticeable change from last season to now is in divisional composition.

In the past, two-team organizations saw each squad competing in separate divisions.  That is not the case this season as every multi-team affiliate has both squads in the same division.

St Louis remains in the South Division which has increased from eight to nine teams.  The Redbirds’ 2022 division rivals are the Angels, Mariners, Nationals and Twins as well both Giants and Rockies squads.

The Team

DSL rosters have a maximum of 35 players and St Louis opens their 2022 campaign with a full slate. The roster is comprised of 18 pitchers, four catchers, seven infielders and six outfielders.  An additional three right-handed hurlers – Antoni Cuello, William Reyes and Jose Suriel – have been placed on the 60-day Injured List (IL), effectively ending their 2022 seasons before they begin.

Suriel is one of 12 players signed on January 15, 2022, the first day of the 2022 international signing period. More information on those signees can be found in Blake Newberry’s excellent article here.  The balance of 11 signees have been assigned to the DSL Cardinals roster.  More on individual players will be included as the season unfolds and information becomes available.

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, just updated to reflect the new FCL and DSL Cardinals rosters.

St. Louis Cardinals Organization Roster Matrix – 2022 Short Season

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One of the benefits is our weekly deep dive into the proceedings from the Cardinals’ 2022 Dominican Summer League, posted each Sunday here at The Cardinal Nation.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 17, 2021

photo: Jake Walsh (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Though St. Louis’ Jake Walsh tossed a scoreless inning, it wasn’t enough as Glendale was held to four hits and no runs on Tuesday. The Desert Dogs are a game out of first with the season ending Friday.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Tuesday, November 16, 2021.

Desert Dogs 0 at Rafters 5

The Glendale Desert Dogs’ (16-12) hopes of playing in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League Championship game dimmed with a 5-0 road loss to the Salt River Rafters (10-17).  Combined with Tuesday’s Saguaros victory, the defeat leaves Glendale a game out of first place with two contests remaining over the final three days.

Dogs’ starter Robinson Pina (L, 2-1) lasted three frames, yielding three runs on four hits and a base-on-balls.  One of the four hits was a solo bomb.

After the Royals’ R.J. Freure and Zach Lingenfelter (LAA) combined for three clean innings, the pairing of southpaw Jeff Belge (LAD) and McKinley Moore (CHW) resulted in two more tallies.  Both scores were charged to Belge and crossed home plate under Moore’s watch.

Jake Walsh

St. Louis’ Jake Walsh had his best outing in a while in the eighth.  The 26-year-old right-hander retired his first batter on a sharp 5-3 ground out then added a fly out to center.  Walsh ended his stint with a swinging K, tossing 7 of his 11 pitches for strikes.

The Dogs’ offense was stifled on just four hits, all singles. White Sox third baseman Yolbert Sanchez garnered two of them, going 2-for-4 from the two hole.  The Cardinals’ sole representative was Juan Yepez who moved up to third in the batting order.  Yepez was hitless in four at bats as Glendale’s designated hitter, striking out once and stranding two.

Wednesday’s game:  at first place (East Division) Solar Sox (13-11), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, TBA


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 16, 2021

photo: Andre Pallante (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Monday, November 15, 2021.

Desert Dogs 2 vs. Javelinas 1 (7)

Brendan Donovan’s two-out hit gave the Glendale Desert Dogs (16-11) a 2-1 walk-off victory over Peoria (13-12) in seven innings.

The win, combined with a loss by Surprise, lifts the Desert Dogs back into a first-place tie in the West Division, percentage points behind the Saguaros, who have played two fewer games.  Glendale has three contests remaining, ending its regular season on Friday at Surprise. The Saturday league title game will feature the two division winners.

Donovan’s second hit of Monday’s game came with two Dogs in scoring position.  His up-the-middle safety glanced off the glove of the Javelinas’ second baseman, scoring center fielder Pedro Leon (HOU).

Brendan Donovan

The second baseman and lead-off hitter was one of three St. Louis prospects playing a vital role in the win.  Starter Andre Pallante set the tone, tossing four frames of shutout ball.  The 23-year-old gave up a first-inning single plus one walk in the second and fourth innings, recording seven ground- and five fly- ball outs while lowering his AFL ERA to 1.29.

Andre Pallante

Neither squad was able to break onto the scoreboard until Juan Yepez led off the home half of the fourth with his seventh double.  The right fielder advanced to third via a 6-3 ground out, scoring on a single to right by Leon.

The Desert Dogs’ 1-0 lead held until the sixth when Kyle Hurt (BS, 1) (LAD) gave up the tying run on a base-on-balls, ground-rule double and sac fly.  The Angels’ Nathan Burns picked up his second win against no losses, negotiating around two free passes in the seventh and finished the frame with a called strike three. The four Glendale pitchers combined on a two-hitter but issued five walks.

Glendale managed just six hits with Donovan singling twice in four at bats, driving in one and Leon going 2-for-3 with stolen base, run scored and RBI.  Clean-up hitter Yepez reached base twice, doubling once in two at bats with a run scored and a scary hit-by-pitch in the plate appearance prior to his double.  The final Dogs hit belonged to Jacob Amaya (LAD) whose seventh-inning double advanced Leon to third.

Juan Yepez

Tuesday’s game:  at third-place (East Division) Rafters (9-17), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, TBA


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 12, 2021

photo: Brendan Donovan (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Glendale’s bullpen faltered in Thursday’s AFL loss. St. Louis Cardinals prospect Brendan Donovan hit his second home run of the week, walked three times, plated two and scored twice. Teammate Lars Nootbaar singled twice and drew a free pass.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Thursday, November 11, 2021.

Desert Dogs 7 vs. Saguaros 11

A seven-run seventh by Surprise transformed a Glendale lead into a loss as the Desert Dogs (15-10) fell to the Saguaros (15-9), 11-7, at home.

Glendale led 4-2 at the seventh’s onset but Surprise’s big inning flipped the score to 9-4.  The White Sox’ J.B. Olson (L, 2-2) began his third inning of work sandwiching a double between two home runs.

The latter bomb brought Jeff Belge (LAD) into the contest, but the lefty had difficulty finding the strike zone.  Belge issued four free passes along with a lead-off double plus a hit batsman, resulting in four more scores in 2/3 of an inning.

Chad Donato (HOU) tossed the initial four frames, yielding single tallies in his first two innings.  The righty fanned four, giving up four hits and a base-on-balls.

Nathan Burns (LAA) recorded four outs, walking two and stranding Belge’s final two runners.  But St. Louis’ Jake Walsh’s Arizona Fall League struggles continued in the ninth.  The right-hander intermingled two K’s with three singles generating two tallies.

Brendan Donovan

Brendan Donovan led a trio of Cardinals’ prospects at the plate.  The third baseman launched his second AFL rocket in the sixth, a two-run shot with shortstop Grae Kessinger (hit-by-pitch) (HOU) aboard.  Donovan reached base four times, going 1-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored and two driven in out of the six hole.

Lars Nootbaar was at the top of the order as the Dogs’ designated hitter and he did exactly what a lead-off hitter is supposed to do – get on base.  Nootbaar worked a free pass in addition to two singles in four at bats, touching home once.

Juan Yepez was hitless in three at bats but did work two walkss and drive in a run.

Friday’s game:  vs. Scorpions (10-15), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 CT, RHP Johan Dominguez (CWS)


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One New Cardinals Minor Leaguer Added with Three Returning


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 10, 2021

photo: Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, Zack Thompson, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Starter Andre Pallante spun four shutout innings with six strikeouts and Brendan Donovan swatted his first Arizona Fall League home run in Glendale’s Tuesday win. St. Louis Cardinals prospects Zack Thompson and Jake Walsh also pitched.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

Desert Dogs 5 vs. Rafters 1

Andre Pallante’s impressive start led the Glendale Desert Dogs (14-9) to a 5-1 home victory over the Salt River Rafters (7-15) at Camelback Ranch.

Pallante (W, 1-1) fanned six over four frames of shutout ball while recording six ground- to zero fly- ball outs.  The Cardinal Nation’s 12th-ranked St. Louis prospect yielded singles in the first and second innings before retiring his final eight batters.  Pallante threw 54 pitches, 37 for strikes.

Andre Pallante

Lefty Zack Thompson followed his Cardinals stable mate to the mound and tossed two clean frames. The 24-year-old used three strikeouts plus a pick off at first to negate two hits and two walks allowed.

Houston’s Joe Record extended Glendale’s shutout bid during his two-inning stint, giving up two hits with four K’s.

But Jake Walsh was unable to bring the shutout to fruition.  The Cardinals reliever was the beneficiary of a 4-3 double play that erased a lead-off single but got into a jam by issuing free passes to his next two batters.  A single to the Dogs’ second baseman, deflected by shortstop Jeremiah Johnson (LAA), brought a run across home plate.  Walsh caught his last batter looking at strike three, ending the threat.

Glendale banged out nine hits, paced by Jacob Amaya (LAD).  The second baseman went 3-for-4 with a double and home run, scored twice and knocked in one.

Brendan Donovan

Brendan Donovan was the only Cardinals prospect to get in the batter’s box.  The lefty batter took Lars Nootbaar’s customary leadoff spot, playing right field.  Donovan went 1-for-3 with a walk and solo shot that made the score 4-1 through five.

Wednesday’s game:  vs. Solar Sox (12-9), 6:35 pm MST/7:35 pm CT, RHP Robinson Pina (LAA) (1-0, 1.59)


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 9, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Though Glendale fell on Monday, DH Juan Yepez plated two of his team’s four runs and is tied for the AFL RBI lead with 21. Lars Nootbaar walked twice, raising his OBP to .429. Andre Pallante will start on the mound Tuesday.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Monday, November 8, 2021.

Desert Dogs 4 at Javelinas 7

A shaky effort by Glendale Desert Dogs’ pitchers resulted in a 7-4 road loss to the Peoria Javelinas (11-10).

Starter Bobby Miller (L, 0-1) (LAD) retired seven batters, yielding five runs on five hits and two walks, including two solo shots.  The right-hander’s final tally scored under J.B. Olson’s watch ahead of two more scores, one earned, charged to the White Sox prospect via two hits and a plunked batter in 2/3 of a frame.

The contest’s final five innings were split between Landon Knack (LAD) and R.J. Freure (KC).  Knack permitted two hits and a base-on-balls during his two-inning stint whereas Freure issued three free passes along with a hit allowed in three frames.

Juan Yepez

St. Louis was represented by designated hitter Juan Yepez and right fielder Lars Nootbaar, both of whom aided the Dogs’ cause.  Yepez did the most damage, going 2-for-4 with a walk, one run scored and two RBI as the clean-up hitter.  His 21 runs driven in (over just 17 games) ties him for the AFL lead.

As usual, Nootbaar was at the top of the order, reaching base twice via free passes and touching home plate once despite going hitless in three at bats. Lars has 13 walks in 16 games, contributing to his .429 AFL OBP.

Lars Nootbaar

Glendale had nine hits in all, with eight of those hits generated by their two through five batters.  Center fielder James Outman (LAD) led the offense, going 3-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored.

The visitors got on the scoreboard after Nootbaar led off the game with a base-on-balls.  The 24-year-old advanced to second on a soft 5-3 ground out by Outman, racing home lined a sharp single to left.

Trailing 3-1 heading into the third, the Desert Dogs pushed across two scores, knotting the score at three all.  Outman singled with one gone, advancing to second when Yepez worked a walk.  First baseman Grae Kessinger’s (HOU) single to left drove in Outman before Yepez scored on a ground out.

Glendale’s offense did not reach home plate again until the ninth.  Outman stroked a one-out triple to right, subsequently scoring on an infield single to second by Yepez, as the ball deflected by the Javelinas’ hurler.

Tuesday’s game:  Desert Dogs (13-9) vs Rafters (7-14), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 CT, RHP Andre Pallante (StL) (0-1, 2.08)


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Plummer Leads Cardinals Minor League Free Agents


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 5, 2021

photo: Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals prospects helped Glendale to a Thursday home win. Juan Yepez had two hits including his fifth AFL home run, Brendan Donovan scored twice and Lars Nootbaar took two free passes.

Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Thursday, November 4, 2021.

Desert Dogs 5 vs. Saguaros 2

A balanced offense and quality pitching led the Glendale Desert Dogs (11-8) to a 5-2 home victory over the Surprise Saguaros (13-6).

Six Dogs took part in the scoring, generating eight hits in all. St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Juan Yepez and catcher Anthony Mulrine (LAA) each had two hits. Yepez went 2-for-4 with a third-inning solo shot as the clean-up hitter and Mulrine singled twice in three at bats with an RBI in the nine hole.

Juan Yepez

Yepez’ fifth bomb ties him with teammate Lars Nootbaar and others for third-most in the AFL. The long ball put his squad up 2-1, with that score holding until each team traded single tallies in the fifth. With Glendale clinging to a slim 3-2 advantage through five frames, center fielder Pedro Leon led off the sixth with his first AFL long ball.  Mulrine’s RBI single occurred later that inning when he drove in third baseman Kody Hoese (LAD), who had doubled.

Cardinals prospect Brendan Donovan got in on the scoring, going 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.  The second baseman drew a free pass with two away in the first, eventually crossing home plate after Leon was walked with the bases loaded.

Brendan Donovan

Donovan was right back at it in the fifth, beating out a grounder to the right side on a ball deflected by the Saguaros’ first baseman with one out.  James Outman’s (LAD) double to right drove in Glendale’s number three hitter although Outman was nailed trying to stretch his hit into a three-bagger.

The third and final St. Louis prospect to see action on Thursday was Nootbaar.  Although the right fielder and leadoff batter was 0-for-3, hitless for a second straight contest, he did work two free passes, raising his AFL on-base percentage to .426.

The pitching was handled by three hurlers:  starter Coleman Crow (LAA), Robinson Pina (LAA) and Joe Record (HOU).  Crow and Pina each held their opponents to a run on four hits in four and 3 1/3 innings respectively.  Pina (W, 1-0) (BS,1) also issued a free pass while Record picked up his first save after retiring all five batters faced.

Friday’s game:  vs. Saguaros, 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, RHP Johan Dominguez (1-1, 11.81) (CHW)


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 3, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In Tuesday AFL action, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Juan Yepez singled but was erased on the basepaths in Glendale’s loss. Andre Pallante is scheduled to take the ball for the Desert Dogs on Wednesday afternoon.



Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Tuesday, November 2, 2021.

Desert Dogs 4 at Solar Sox 7

On Tuesday, the Glendale Desert Dogs (9-8) fell to the Mesa Solar Sox (8-8) at Sloan Park, 7-4.

Glendale never led as Mesa scored two fourth-inning tallies before the Dogs answered with two scores the next frame.  It was all Solar Sox in the sixth and seventh with the home team pushing across five unanswered runs.  Single tallies by the visitors in the eighth and ninth were not enough to close the gap.

Southpaw Jeff Belge (L, 0-1) (LAD) retired just two sixth-inning batters, yielding three runs on a hit and two walks.  Belge was the third of six Glendale hurlers taking the mound, none of whom are St Louis prospects.

Glendale mustered 10 hits, all singles, which proved to be a significant factor in their loss.  Five of Mesa’s nine hits went for extra bases, accounting for four tallies.

Juan Yepez

First baseman Juan Yepez was the sole Cardinals representative.  The clean-up hitter singled once in four at bats with a strikeout.  Yepez was subsequently erased from the base paths when the Desert Dogs’ number five hitter flied out into a 9-6 double play.

Wednesday’s game: vs. Javelinas (8-8), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, Andre Pallante (0-1, 2.70)


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 2, 2021

photo: Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, Zack Thompson, Brendan Donovan, Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In Monday AFL action, St. Louis Cardinals prospects Lars Nootbaar (2 RBI), Zack Thompson (3 SO IP) and Jake Walsh (save) led Glendale to a come-from-behind road win.

Results from the game played Monday, November 1, 2021.

Desert Dogs 8 at Rafters 5

The Glendale Desert Dogs (9-7) mounted an 8-5 come-from-behind road victory over the Rafters (6-9) at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Thursday afternoon.

St. Louis Cardinals prospects contributed both at the plate and on the mound.  Lead-off batter Lars Nootbaar did the most damage of any Desert Dog, singling and doubling in four at bats with a sac fly, two runs scored and two driven in.

Lars Nootbaar

The right fielder came to the plate in the third with the sacks jammed and his team trailing 5-0.  A balk brought the first of five Glendale scores across home before a sac fly drove in tally number two.  A fielding error by the Rafters’ left fielder allowed Nootbaar to reach second on the play, after which he raced home on second baseman Jose Rodriguez’ (CHW) single to center.  Rodriguez eventually scored via a wild pitch, knotting the game at 5-5.

The tie remained until the fifth when Nootbaar lined a double to right with one away, his fifth two-base hit of the AFL season.  Designated hitter James Outman’s (LAD) two-out double drove in the right fielder for a 6-5 advantage.

Glendale’s final two tallies were generated in the sixth.  A sac fly by Angels’ catcher Anthony Mulrine brought left fielder Yoelqui Cespedes (CHW) who reached on a double.  Nootbaar followed Mulrine’s action with his own RBI when he singled to short, bringing centerfielder Pedro Leon (walk) across home.

The only other Cardinals position player to see action was Juan Yepez, who manned first base.  Glendale’s clean-up hitter was hitless in four at bats but did work a free pass.

The Desert Dogs used six hurlers to navigate nine frames, including two Cardinals.  Zack Thompson was credited with his second victory against no losses, holding his opponents to a hit and base-on-balls over three innings, covering the fourth through sixth.

Zack Thompson

One of his two base runners was caught stealing while he picked his other runner off first, leaving the lefty facing the minimum during his stint.  Thompson threw 33 pitches, 17 for strikes.

Jake Walsh

Tasked with protecting the one-run lead, Jake Walsh tossed the ninth, retiring Salt River’s eighth and ninth hitters on a fly out and 6-3 ground out.  The 26-year-old gave up a hard single to right but regrouped to record a 4-3 ground out for his third AFL save.

Tuesday’s game:  at Solar Sox (7-8), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, RHP Landon Knack (1-0, 5.59) (LAD)


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 29, 2021

photo: Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

On Thursday, Cardinals prospects Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez plated two each and Lars Nootbaar scored twice, but Glendale fell in the ninth as Jake Walsh took the blown save and loss.

Results from the Arizona Fall League game played Thursday, October 28, 2021.

Desert Dogs 6 at Javelinas 7

St. Louis’ Jake Walsh could not hold a ninth-inning lead as the Glendale Desert Dogs (7-6) suffered a 7-6 walk-off road loss to the Peoria Javelinas.

Walsh (L, 0-1) began the ninth with his team up 6-4 but was ineffective, yielding three runs against two outs.  The righty walked the Javelinas’ number eight hitter before catching his next batter looking at strike three.

But a wild pitch by Walsh put the base runner in position to score on a single to center fielder Lars Nootbaar.  The new base runner swiped second and scored on another single up the middle, tying the game at six all.

A line drive single to right put runners at the corners.  The inning’s fourth single, and third to center, drove in yet another runner to end the game in the home team’s favor.

The Desert Dogs banged out 13 hits with Nootbaar and first baseman Brendan Donovan among four Glendale players with two hits apiece.  Nootbaar singled and doubled in five at bats at the top of the order, touching home twice.  Donovan went 2-for-4 with a sac fly and two RBI from the three spot.

Brendan Donovan

Clean-up hitter Juan Yepez’ only hit in in four at bats was his fourth home run of the AFL season, tying Nootbaar for second in the league.  It came against San Diego top prospect lefty MacKenzie Gore as part of the Desert Dogs’ three-run third inning and flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead the team would not relinquish until the ninth.  The right fielder went yard with second baseman Jose Rodriguez (CHW) aboard after the latter reached on a fielding error.

Juan Yepez

Friday’s game: at Scorpions (4-10), 12:35 pm MST/1:35 pm CT, RHP Robinson Pina (0-0, 0.00) (LAA)


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 26, 2021

photo: Juan Yepez and Lars Nootbaar (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Glendale eked out a one-run win in Monday AFL action. From among the four St. Louis Cardinals participating, Juan Yepez went deep for the winning run, and Zack Thompson continued his shutout fall on the mound.

Results from the game played Monday, October 25, 2021.

Desert Dogs 7 at Scorpions 6

Juan Yepez’ ninth-inning bomb provided the winning margin as the Glendale Desert Dogs held off the Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium, 7-6.

The contest was tied at one all until the visitors put up a four spot in the fifth.  After adding another eighth-inning tally, the Desert Dogs held what appeared to be a comfortable 6-1 lead.

But any comfort Glendale might have felt at that point evaporated when Scottsdale pushed across four scores in the home half of the frame.  The score narrowed to 6-5 through eight.

That’s when Yepez led off the ninth with his third hit of the day and third home run of the Fall campaign.  The first baseman ended with a line of 3-for-5 including a double and solo shot comprising one of two runs scored and one of three RBI. Yepez leads the AFL with 14 RBI in just nine games played.

Juan Yepez

The other Cardinals position player to see action was Lars Nootbaar, who hit two spots ahead of Yepez in the lead off slot.  The right fielder singled and doubled in four at bats with a walk, touching home twice and knocking in one.  On the downside, Nootbaar was picked off first once.

The Desert Dogs accumulated 15 hits in all with the top four spots in the batting order doing most of the damage.  Those four combined to go 10-for-19 with six runs scored and five driven in.

Cardinals Zack Thompson and Jake Walsh took the mound, each contributing to the win.  Thompson tossed a clean fourth and fifth, issuing two free passes, and was awarded his first Arizona Fall League victory against no losses.

Zack Thompson

Walsh pitched the ninth and things got interesting before the righty recorded his second save.  Walsh yielded a triple and RBI single to his first two batters, tightening the score to 7-6.  But the 26-year-old then retired his next three batters on two fly outs and a come backer to the mound.

Tuesday’s game:  off


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