By Derek Shore
We are now into day six 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.
Following are Wednesday highlights of Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach, and Peoria against the Washington affiliates with the two upper-level clubs playing at the Jupiter complex at Roger Dean and the lower A clubs in action at the Nationals facility in West Palm Beach.
Collectively, the farm went 2-2 versus the Nationals with Springfield (2-3-1) and Peoria (1-4) coming away victorious against Harrisburg and Hagerstown, respectively. Memphis (4-2) snapped its three-game winning streak with a loss to Syracuse while Palm Beach (3-3) was bombed by Potomac.
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 17 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.
For the second time in the first week of doing these reports, Sandy Alcantara came out on top as a Pitcher of the Way. This time the Dominican ousted recently-optioned Luke Weaver (Memphis), who had been in the running for the fifth starter spot entering big-league camp.
While he proved to be raw and scuffled to put big-league hitters away, Alcantara has handled more seasoned minor league hitters smoothly, logging three strikeouts and allowing no baserunners in two perfect innings in Springfield’s win over Harrisburg on Wednesday. He seems primed to make the jump to the Texas League to start 2017.
(Brian Walton’s note: I was at the Memphis and Springfield games and took the above photo when Sandy was pitching. My observations about him, Tyler Lyons, Sam Tuivailala, Tommy Pham and many more are posted at the main site, The Cardinal Nation, for members. I also report on a Red-White scrimmage in which Johan Oviedo pitched. Join TCN today!)
Wednesday’s Hitter of the Day: Matt Davis, Peoria
Despite it being an exhibition contest where statistics aren’t official, Matt Davis had perhaps the most productive game of his pro career on Wednesday. The middle infielder, who has apparently added left field to his versatility, drove in nearly as many runs (three) as he had over 32 games (five) through stints with State College, Peoria, and Palm Beach last summer.
Davis, 22, was signed as a non-drafted free agent in July and transitioned to the New York-Penn League following a three-year career at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a collegian, the right-hander slashed .300/.383/.423 with 14 homers and 104 RBI before struggling in his intro to pro ball to the tune of a .190 batting clip.
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 5, Syracuse 8
- Luke Weaver – 2 2/3 IP, H, ER, 4 K
Note: Was tentative in his St. Louis cameo last year; looking to get back to his strength of filling up the strike zone.
- Zach Phillips – 1 IP, 2 K
Note: minor league depth signing from the left-side; could see the majors at some point in 2017 if the need arises.
- Blake Drake (CF) – 2-for-4, R, 3B, K
Note: glove ahead of the bat, but he has sneaky power and the wheels to take extra-bases.
- Anthony Garcia (LF) – 1-for-3, R, 2B, BB, K
Note: make or break year for the polarizing hitting prospect.
Springfield 3, Harrisburg 2
- Sandy Alcantara – 2 IP, 3 K
Note: see above
- Danny Diekroeger (3B) – 1-for-2, R, 2B
Note: broken wrist sidelined him for three months last year in Palm Beach; battling for a spot at Double-A this spring.
Palm Beach 3, Potomac 12
- Luke Dykstra – 2-for-4
Note: lone position prospect from Jaime Garcia trade; solid all-around skill-set with no power and looks to be the successor for Darren Seferina at second base for the Beach Birds.
Peoria 6, Hagerstown 2
- Estarlin Arias – 2 IP, 2 K
Note: TCN’s 2016 Johnson City Reliever of the Year; closer for the Appy League champions last summer.
- Yeison Medina – 1 IP, 2 K
Note: effective lower-level reliever, competing for a bullpen spot at Peoria.
- Matt Davis (LF) – 2-for-3, 2B, K, 3 RBI
Note: see above
- Shane Billings (CF) – 3-for-4, R
Note: 2016 13th rounder out of Wingate University.
Thursday’s games: The Astros are the Thursday opponent with four games slated to be played. Memphis and Springfield will host Houston’s Triple-A and Double-A clubs while Palm Beach and Peoria will travel to West Palm Beach to face off against the Astros respective A clubs as well.