By Derek Shore
We are now into day three of our ninth year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at The Cardinal Nation Blog. This year, I will contribute from time to time in these recaps alongside TCN publisher and editor Brian Walton.
Our notebook will also include eyewitness commentary following Walton’s arrival in camp on Friday. Even more specific spring training reports will be available Saturday evening to members of The Cardinal Nation.
Following are highlights from the second day of Cardinals games against external competition on Saturday with the top two full-season clubs (Memphis and Springfield) hosting the Mets upper-level affiliates in Jupiter, where Walton was today. In the meantime, the Class-A teams (Palm Beach and Peoria) hopped the bus and commuted to Port St. Lucie.
Collectively, the farm went 1-2-1 versus the Mets affiliates with Memphis (2-1) claiming the only win on the day. Palm Beach (2-1) and Peoria (0-3) suffered the system’s losses with Springfield (1-1-1) having the tie.
Once again this spring, Cardinals Baseball Operations Coordinator for Player Development Tony Ferreira will be sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.
The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are ours. 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 30 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.
It can be argued that Blake McKnight’s scoreless effort for Springfield should have warranted the pitcher of the day, but the standout pitching prospect in big-league camp, Sandy Alcantara, was on the winning team at Memphis and went further than McKnight while also facing more advanced competition. Alcantara went three shutout frames, striking out three batters in his outing.
Coming off making a terrific first impression in big-league camp with his electric stuff, the tall, formerly string-bean right-hander has apparently added 20 pounds of muscle since 2016, is currently vying for a rotation spot at Double-A Springfield. With more outings like this one, he should have no problem solidifying a spot.
Saturday’s Hitter of the Day: Casey Grayson, Memphis
As the Memphis offense put up a seven-spot, Casey Grayson was a big factor, driving in two runs with a 2-for-3 day at the dish, edging out a home run from his teammate Thomas Spitz and two hits by Chris Chinea.
A first baseman with little versatility, Grayson has a limited overall profile coupled with below-average power. That said, he was voted by his peers as the Florida State League best defensive first baseman last year and has excellent plate discipline which has been his carry tool up the Cardinals ranks.
Also exclusively for TCN members is Walton’s annual pre-camp series in which he predicts the opening rosters for all four full-season minor league affiliates and explain why. St. Louis was posted Wednesday, 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, seven-day free trials are always available.
The entire system view by level and position as last season ended is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
Memphis 7 , Las Vegas 2
- Sandy Alcantara – 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K
Note: high-octane thrower’s first minors spring start; is he AA bound?
- Thomas Spitz (RF) – 2-for-3, HR, RBI
Note: versatile outfielder, who reached Double-A last year.
- Chris Chinea (1B) – 2-for-2, 2B
Note: TCN’s #50 prospect has live bat and continues to play first to expand versatility.
- Casey Grayson (1B) – 2-for-3, 2 RBI
Note: TCN’s Palm Beach Cardinals 2016 Player of the Year has disciplined bat which is Double-A ready.
Springfield 2, Binghamton 2 – tie
- Blake McKnight – 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K
Note: sinkerballer, who should shift to bullpen this year.
- Joey Hawkins (SS) – 2-for-2
Note: only farmhand to have at-bats at four different levels last season.
Palm Beach 2 at St. Lucie 3
- Colton Thomson – 1 IP, 2 K
Note: valuable GCL reliever last year; nicknamed ‘Stones’.
Anthony Ray (CF) – 2-for-3, 2 R, 3B
Note: toolsy outfielder, who should open with full-season club.
Peoria 5 at Columbia 8
- Delvin Perez (SS) – 2B, 2 RBI
Note: top draft pick last year showing good extra-base pop in the early going.
Sunday’s games: The Marlins are the Sunday opponent for the first time this spring with three games (Memphis, Springfield, and Palm Beach) set to be played plus a Peoria on Peoria scrimmage on the Cardinals side of the Jupiter complex at Roger Dean Stadium.