Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/16/19

Welcome to day three of our 11th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at The Cardinal Nation. Again this year, I am joined in these recaps by TCN publisher and editor Brian Walton.

Following are highlights from Saturday minor league action, which is the first games against external competition held against the Nationals. Memphis and Springfield hopped on the buses to West Palm Beach while Palm Beach and Peoria remained at the complex in Jupiter, Florida.

Pitching was once again ahead of hitting in the Cardinals’ minors action on Saturday with the exception of Triple-A Memphis, which went on to lose 12-7. Double-A Springfield and Low-A Peoria, though, took victories thanks to solid pitching while High-A Palm Beach dropped a 2-1 affair.

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 two dozen 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 – Evan Kruczynski, Springfield

Evan Kruczynski (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

After a brief cameo in big-league camp with the Cardinals, Kruczynski made his first official start of the spring, tossing three shutout innings against the Nationals Double-A affiliate Harrisburg. The big lefty struck out three and issued one free pass on the day.

TCN’s 2019 No. 17 prospect threw two scoreless innings in relief in his only outing in big-league camp. Kruczynski comes off a season in which he perhaps took the biggest step forward of any pitcher in the system in 2018.

He has backend starter potential at the major-league level and could open this year at Memphis after making a solid impression in the Arizona Fall League.

Saturday’s Hitter of the Day – Scott Hurst, Memphis

Scott Hurst (State College Spikes)

Hurst continues his strong spring with a homer in a two-for-two afternoon for Memphis. He has hit for the cycle in West Palm Beach games now, collecting a home run, a triple and double for the Cardinals in big-league camp earlier this spring.

TCN’s No. 40 prospect performed well, but was limited in a 2018 season during which he was on the disabled list four different times. He spent the majority of the year at Peoria while getting a taste of Palm Beach to finish the season.

Hurst should open next year at either Palm Beach or Springfield to open 2019.

Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees 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 (2-1) 7 at Fresno 12

Memphis pitching

  • Connor Jones – 1.0 IP, BB – Sinkerballer made the transition to relief late last season and saw an uptick in velocity

Memphis hitting

  • Scott Hurst (CF) – 2-for-2, R, HR, 2 RBI – See Above
  • Chase Pinder (DH) – 2-for-4, R, 2B – TCN’s No. 49 Prospect, who should patrol center field at Springfield in 2019

Springfield (1-2) 1 at Harrisburg 0

Springfield pitching

  • Evan Kruzcynski – 3.0 IP, BB, 3 K – See Above
  • Sam Tewes – 2.0 IP, 2 K – 2016 eighth-round pick out of Wichita State looking to rebound after an injury-plagued 2018
  • Ramon Santos – 1.0 IP, 2 K – Dominican arm working to recover at Springfield after stumbling there last year.
  • Roel Ramirez – 1.0 IP, 2 K – Acquired in the Tommy Pham trade; relief arm who also saw a velo spike after making transition to bullpen.

Springfield hitting

  • Rayder Ascanio (SS) – 2 BB – Slick fielding shortstop acquired from Seattle in the Mike Leake deal in August 2017.

Palm Beach (2-1) 1 vs. Potomac 2

Palm Beach pitching

  • Kodi Whitley – 1.0 IP, H, R, BB, 3 K – 2017 27th rounder thrived as a multi-purpose arm for Peoria last year.
  • Jake Dahlberg – 2.0 IP, 2 K – Older lefty excelled in the lower levels thanks to guts and guile. Will have to prove himself against upper-level competition because of age.

Palm Beach hitting

  • Zach Kirtley (1B) – 1-for-2, HR, K, RBI – 2017 fifth-round pick spent the entire year at Peoria in 2018 as a utility-man.

Peoria (3-0) 4 vs. Hagerstown 1

Peoria pitching

  • Tommy Parsons – 2.0 IP, 5 K – Former Division III standout signed with the Cardinals last summer; had a successful pro debut at Johnson City and looks primed to make the full-season leap.
  • C.J. Saylor – 1.0 IP, 2 K – Righty with swing-and-miss stuff, but again, will have to prove himself against more age-appropriate competition ahead.

Peoria hitting

  • Malcom Nunez (3B) – 1-for-2, 2B, RBI – DSL Triple Crown winner picks up right where he left off from his pro debut. Will he open at Peoria?
  • Luis Flores (2B) – 2-for-2 – 22-year old looks to break into full-season ball after five years at the rookie levels.

Saturday’s games: 

The Cardinals minor league affiliates all return to the Jupiter complex on Sunday for camp games. 1 p.m. ET first pitches.

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!

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