Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 3/17/2018

photo: Dakota Hudson (Scott Rovak/USA Today Sports)

Welcome back to our 10th 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 the highlights from the Cardinals third minor league spring training games of 2018, but second against external competition – held on Saturday in Jupiter and West Palm Beach, Florida. The Cardinals Triple-A and Double-A clubs were in Jupiter to take on the Washington Nationals upper-level affiliates while St. Louis’ Class-A games were in West Palm Beach.

In a day where offense struggled for the most part across the minor league system, the Nationals took three of four from the Cardinals full-season clubs on Saturday, blanking Memphis (versus Syracuse) while Palm Beach and Peoria dropped their games against Potomac and Hagerstown, respectively. Springfield was the lone affiliate to win, shutting out Harrisburg, 4-0.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Baseball Operations Coordinator for Player Development 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 21 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2018, their rankings are noted.

Saturday’s Pitcher of the Day – Dakota Hudson, Memphis

Dakota Hudson

Coming off a nice showing in big-league camp, TCN’s No. 6 ranked prospect Hudson made his minor league spring debut and picked up on Saturday right where he left off last year. The 23-year old, who doesn’t throw anything straight, became Springfield’s first-ever Pitcher of the Year and capped his first full pro season by holding his own in the Pacific Coast League.

Honorable mentions include starting pitchers Jordan Hicks and Mike O’Reilly.

Saturday’s Hitter of the Day – Chris Chinea, Springfield

Chris Chinea (Peoria Chiefs_

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 17th round of the 2015 draft, Chinea proved to be a potent bat in his time at college baseball powerhouse LSU. So far, the 23-year-old first baseman and catcher has translated his hitting ways into the affiliated ranks through three pro seasons, posting a .735 career OPS in 268 games.

Chinea, known more for his bat, improved last season at high-A Palm Beach with the glove at first and got better behind the dish as well. That said, he will need to add more power to his game in order to move up prospect rankings with a first-base profile. He will have a good chance to do that at hitter haven Double-A Springfield in 2018.

Chinea edged out honorable mentions Blake Drake, Dylan Carlson, Wilson Soriano, and Edwin Figuera thanks to his 2-for-2 day at the plate with a double and a run scored.

For more, The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees and minor league spring training game schedules.

Ahead – exclusively for TCN members – is Brian Walton’s annual pre-Opening Day series in which he predicts the opening rosters for all four full-season minor league affiliates and explains why. St. Louis was posted previously, with the others to follow. The St. Louis roster prediction article is free for all readers.

If you are not yet a member of The Cardinal Nation, join now and order our first-ever Prospect Guide at less than half price.

The entire 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 (1-1-1) vs. Syracuse, 0-2

Memphis pitching:

  • Dakota Hudson – 4 IP, 2 H, 4 K – See above for more.

Memphis hitting:

  • Blake Drake (DH) – 2-for-2 – The clock is ticking on the 24-year old plus defensive outfielder, who has yet to progress offensively.
  • Shane Billings (LF) – Converted outfielder from the infield; made a diving catch in left-center field to end the inning which was described by a Cardinals official as a “web gem.”

Springfield (1-1-1) vs. Harrisburg, 4-0

Springfield pitching:

  • Jordan Hicks – 3 IP, H, BB, 4 K – Terrific minor league debut from our No. 7 ranked prospect, who had an abbreviated stint in big-league camp due to “not showing up on time for workouts.”

Springfield hitting: 

  • Dylan Carlson (LF) – 1-for-2, R, 2B – After getting a taste of big-league action on Friday, TCN’s No. 20 prospect garnered experience against upper-level competition. It seems he will open 2018 at high-A Palm Beach, though.
  • Chris Chinea (1B) – 2-for-2, R, 2B – See above for more.

Palm Beach (0-2-1) at Potamac, 1-2

Palm Beach pitching: 

  • Mike O’Reilly – 2 IP, BB, 3 K – It is safe to say O’Reilly will break spring training with a full-season team this year after coming out of nowhere in 2017. He should return to where he finished last year – at high-A Palm Beach.

Palm Beach hitting: 

  • Wilson Soriano (2B) – 2-for-2, R, 2B – The 26-year old minor league free agent signee looks to settle into a utility-role either at Springfield or Palm Beach this season.

Peoria (2-1) at Hagerstown, 2-6

Peoria pitching:

  • N/A

Peoria hitting:

  • Edwin Figuera (SS) – 2-for-3, R, 2B – The 20-year-old versatile utility player has the knack for getting on base and stealing bases. He is poised to crack a full-season roster following the spring.

Editor’s note: 11 of Hicks’ pitches were 100 mph or faster, including a 102 mph offering, according to the Post-Dispatch. The right-hander also landed more than 2/3 of his breaking pitches for strikes and may be in line for a cameo with St. Louis before the spring is out.

Sunday’s games: The Marlins are the Sunday opponent and third external competition of the spring. All games will be at the Jupiter complex with the start times slated for 1 p.m. ET.

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