By Derek Shore
We are now into day four 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 on the main site will feature eyewitness commentary from Walton. These more specific spring training reports will be available Sunday evening to members of The Cardinal Nation.
Following are Sunday highlights with Memphis, Springfield, and Palm Beach all hosting the Marlins affiliates on the Cardinals side of the Jupiter complex at Roger Dean. In the meantime, Peoria played Peoria, but results from that contest will be posted in the more in-depth subscriber article on TheCardinalNation.com.
Collectively, the farm went 1-2 versus the Marlins’ top three affiliates with Memphis (3-1) claiming the only win for the second consecutive day. Palm Beach (2-2) and Springfield (1-2-1) suffered losses.
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 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 22 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.
While Jordan Hicks might have garnered more interest among backfield spectators for his triple-digit velocity on Sunday, Corey Baker had the most effective outing for the system’s only winning team in Memphis and did not allow a runner to cross home plate. Baker tossed 2 2/3 one-hit innings, punching out three hitters in his first outing back from the World Baseball Classic for Team Israel.
After gaining plenty of advocates from his strong WBC performance for Israel, Baker returned to baseball reality on Sunday and will look to secure a bullpen spot with the Redbirds – likely in a long man or middle relief capacity. With his versatility, the sinkerballer could also join the arms on the I-55 shuttle this summer as well.
(Brian Walton’s note: What the line does not show is that Baker inherited a bases-loaded situation and drew an inning-ending ground ball on his first pitch. Impressive, but Hicks would have been my Player of the Day. More on that on the main TCN site.)
Sunday’s Hitter of the Day: Hunter Newman, Palm Beach
Despite dropping a one-run game, the Beach Birds received a solid performance at the dish from first baseman Hunter Newman. Newman collected two hits, including a two-bagger, RBI, and scored a run for the most balanced offensive day among Cardinals minor league hitters.
Newman, 23, was drafted by St. Louis in 2015 via the 22nd round out of Trevecca Nazarene University. He split time between the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (21 games) and Johnson City (15 games) last summer, posting a .289/.359/.430 batting line with three homers and 22 RBI. Given his age, it appears the Cardinals will push him to a full-season club in 2017 to have him face age-appropriate competition for the first time in his pro career.
Also exclusively for TCN members is Walton’s annual 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 3, New Orleans 1
- Corey Baker – 2 2/3 IP, H, BB, 3 K
Note: ground-ball machine hoping to stick at Memphis
- Blake Drake (LF) – 2-for-2, R, 2B
Note: possible sleeper if he can hit; defense rivals Magneuris Sierra as being the best in the system
Springfield 2, Jacksonville 8
- Cody Schumacher – 1 IP, H, K
Note: multi-purpose reliever, who should open at Springfield
- Eliezer Alvarez (2B) – 2-for-3
Note: One of the more consistent Midwest League bats last year. Might jump over Palm Beach to start 2017.
Palm Beach 5, Jupiter 6
- Jordan Hicks – 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 K
Note: According to TCN’s Brian Walton, Hicks had multiple triple-digit readings on Sunday while touching as high as 101. With him pitching at Palm Beach in camp, it seems he could be earmarked for Peoria in 2017.
- Hunter Newman (1B) – 2-for-4, R, 2B, K, RBI
Note: scored championship rings with GCL Cardinals and Johnson City Cardinals thanks to his dependable bat between the two clubs.
Monday’s games: The Astros are the Monday opponent with Triple-A and Double-A clubs traveling to the new West Palm Beach complex. The Cardinals’ A-clubs host the Astros’ lower full-season affiliates in Jupiter. First pitches are set for 1 p.m. EST.