Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 3/27/18

The Cardinal Nation’s 10th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games continues. Again this year, I am joined in these recaps by TCN’s Publisher and editor Brian Walton.

The Astros were the opponent as the Cardinals split four games with the upper-level affiliates being the only squads to prevail on Tuesday. Memphis and Springfield played the role of road warrior, winning at West Palm Beach while Palm Beach and Peoria lost at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter.

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 nine players have yet to be cut from Major League camp.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day, though, was the promotion of hotshot prospect Jordan Hicks to St. Louis, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Hicks is expected to open the season on their Opening Day roster and figure into the team’s late-inning relief plans.

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

Tuesday’s Hitter of the Day: Edmundo Sosa, Springfield

Edmundo Sosa (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

TCN’s No. 22 prospect Sosa edged out No. 19 prospect Oscar Mercado for Tuesday’s Hitter of the Day honor. While both went a perfect 4-for-4 on the day, the former finished with a big two-homer game and came around to score three times.

For Sosa, 22, health has been the biggest culprit in his fall as a prospect over the last two years. He missed a pivotal month of development time at high-A Palm Beach in his first full season in 2016 after a season-ending wrist injury. Sosa opened 2017 back at Palm Beach, where he held his own to the tune of a .272/.315/.342 slash line with 12 RBI in 42 games before another injury cost him two weeks.

On June 16, the day he was activated off the disabled list, the shortstop was pulled from the game and it was later discovered he suffered yet another setback. He missed nearly two months of the season with a broken left hamate and finished the year with the Beach Birds, playing in only nine games.

Fortunately, Sosa put together a solid Arizona Fall League to make up for lost time. His multi homer-game on Tuesday is a good sign he has regained hand strength back following an injury that tends to sap a player’s power.

Sosa should be in Springfield’s Opening Day lineup come next week. Victor Roache is also an Honorable Mention with Mercado.

Tuesday’s Pitcher of the Day: Brett Seeburger, Peoria

Brett Seeburger (Johnson City Cardinals)

Seeburger tossed four scoreless frames for Peoria on Tuesday to earn TCN’s Pitcher of the Day honor. The 23-year old lefty made his pro debut at Rookie League Johnson City last year, compiling a 1-0 record with a 2.33 ERA in 12 games (two starts). Seeburger also posted a 28-to-3 strikeout to walk through 27 innings hurled.

The Cardinals 10th round draft pick last summer features a repertoire that consists of a sinker, changeup, and a slurvy type breaking ball.  He may open the season at either low-A Peoria or in extended spring training.

Honorable mentions go to starters Daniel Poncedeleon, Evan Kruczynski, and Ronnie Williams.

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 and Memphis was posted this morning for members.

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 (7-3-1) 8 at Fresno 4

Memphis pitching:

  • Daniel Poncedeleon – 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K – still shaking off the rust in live game action after his tragic accident last May. Stuff of a starter, but profiles best as a reliever with his funky delivery.

Memphis hitting:

  • Oscar Mercado – 4-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B, RBI, BB – one of the later spring cuts from big-league camp. Looks to be Memphis’ everyday center fielder.
  • Harrison Bader – 2-for-4, R, 2 2B, K – beaten out by spring sensation Yairo Munoz for a 25-man roster spot, but had a solid March himself. Should see time at all three outfield spots for the Redbirds – similar to the role he should serve with St. Louis at some point.
  • Luke Voit – 1-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K – Grandma Joan will need to break out the purse again. Has three homers over his last two spring games.

Springfield (7-3-1) 10 at Corpus Christi 5

Springfield pitching:

  • Evan Kruczynski – 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, K – Cardinals ninth-round pick in 2017, who did well at low-A Peoria in his draft year. Described as a competitor, whose stuff plays above his scouting report.

Springfield hitting:

  • Edmundo Sosa – 4-for-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI – See above for more.
  • Victor Roache – 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, K – Power-packed hitter with plenty of strikeouts in his profile. He should be among a number of outfielders contending for at-bats at Springfield in 2018.

Palm Beach (6-3-1) 1 vs. Buies Creek 4

Palm Beach pitching:

  • Ronnie Williams – 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER – Cardinals second round pick in 2014, who received a bonus of over $800,000. Went unranked in TCN’s 2018 Top Prospect rankings for the first time in his pro career. Will need to improve on a 6.94 ERA at low-A Peoria from last season.
  • Eric Carter – 1 IP, H, 2 K – burly-built late-inning reliever, who has dominated with eight strikeouts per nine innings in his brief pro career. Had a cameo at Springfield to finish 2017 and could open up there to start this year.

Palm Beach hitting:

  • Stefan Trosclair – 2-for-3, R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB – versatile infielder had a breakout year in his first full season with a .272/.374/.458 slash line. The 2017 Peoria Chiefs MVP will look to be a middle-of-the-order staple for Palm Beach’s offense this year.

Peoria (4-4-4) 3 vs. Quad Cities 4

Peoria pitching:

  • Brett Seeburger – 4 IP, 5 H, BB, 2 K – See above for more.
  • Cory Malcom – 1 IP, BB, 2 K – non-drafted free agent signee last summer out of Arkansas – Little Rock. Made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League.

Peoria hitting:

  • Elehuris Montero – 2-for-4, R, K – intriguing teenage Latin prospect with a stellar stateside debut in the GCL last summer. TCN’s No. 36 prospect for 2018. Is he a candidate for Peoria to begin the year?
  • Bryce Denton – 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K – TCN’s No. 42 prospect, who hopes to stick around at Peoria for a full-season.

Wednesday’s games: The Mets will be the Wednesday opponent, with Memphis and Springfield at home,  their games held at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter. Palm Beach and Peoria will be on the road, playing at West Palm Beach.

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