Cardinals Net Outfield Power Bat For Valera

photo: Johan Mieses (Rick Scutieri/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have acquired minor league outfielder Johan Mieses from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for infielder Breyvic Valera who the team had designated for assignment last week. Mieses will be assigned to the Palm Beach Cardinals roster of the Florida State League (A).

Mieses, 22, and a native of the Dominican Republic, was an international free-agent signee by the Dodgers who debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2013.

The 6-2, 185-pound Mieses led the California League (A) with 28 home runs in 2016 for Rancho Cucamonga to go along with his 31 doubles (T6th) and a .510 slugging pct. (7th), earning league post-season All-Star recognition.

The right-handed hitting Mieses has compiled a career .245 batting mark with 68 HR’s and 207 RBI in 411 games in the minor leagues. He combined for 24 home runs in 2017 between Tulsa (AA) and Rancho Cucamonga.

Derek Shore’s take

Another day, another minor league outfield acquisition added to the Cardinals pipeline in Johan Mieses.

Johan Mieses (Rick Scutieri/USA TODAY Sport)

Mieses is a right-handed masher through and through. The 22-year old made his pro debut in 2013 with the DSL Dodgers. He advanced his way to full-season ball in the states two years later following a terrific 2014 campaign.

The next year, though, Mieses’ prospect status soared, when he paced the California League in home runs. He also drove in 78  while posting a .247/.314/.510 slash line in 122 games with Rancho Cucamonga. With the power, however, came plenty of swing and miss to the tune of a 147-to-36 strikeout to walk count.

Mieses entered 2017 as the Dodgers No. 15 ranked prospect, according to Baseball America. He opened the year at Double-A Tulsa where he failed to make enough contact to tap into his plus raw power consistently (.160 average in 90 games with a 116-to-27 K:BB).

On June 29, the Dodgers demoted him to high-A where he played up to the lower-level competition thanks to more consistent hard contact. Mieses has a .353 average with a 1.118 OPS over 28 games.

A month later, Mieses returned to Double-A and again struggled, going 14-for-77 (.172) with six of his 14 hits for extra-bases. On a positive note, Mieses finished strongly in September, collecting six hits in his final 14 at-bats.

It is also worth noting that Mieses was briefly in MLB camp this spring, where he had a single, double and RBI in three at-bats.

From a scouting standpoint, Mieses is truly a one-dimensional player – with power being his carrying tool. He is described as a “high-volatility” prospect by scouts with an above-average ceiling if everything comes together. However, with his extremely unrefined approach (33% career K rate), his chances of reaching that is small unless major improvements occur with the Cardinals.

Scouts say he plays all-out with straight-line speed coupled with a cannon for an arm which gives him a shot at projecting for a utility role in all the three outfield positions. He profiles as a lefty-masher with a fourth-outfielder profile at best.

With the Cardinals, Mieses joins an abundance of outfielders between high-A and Double-A, most of them right-handed hitting like him. This explains his assignment to the lower level even though he spent the majority time at the higher last year.

Here’s how the Double-A and high-A outfields might stack up following the addition of Mieses:

Springfield outfield:

– Thomas Spitz, Lane Thomas, Granden Goetzman, and Victor Roache.

Palm Beach outfield:

– Shane Billings, J.B. Woodman, Chad Pinder, and Mieses.

Breyvic Valera (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Valera, 26, has been in the Cardinals system for a long time, signing out of Venezuela in 2010.

Coming off a 2016 season in which his prospect status was reinvigorated as he hit a robust .341 at Triple-A Memphis, Valera followed with perhaps an even stronger 2017. His season was capped by making his big-league debut on September 5 before returning to Memphis a week later to help win the Pacific Coast League title.

Prior to the trade, Valera was in the mix to be a utility player for the Cardinals, barring injury. The emergence of Yairo Muñoz led to him becoming expendable. He was designated for assignment on Wednesday.

For more

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.

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