Affiliate observations

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    Brian Walton

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    A thread for general minor league talk.


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    Some State College thoughts:

    1. 3b out of NCS Mendoza is off to a fast start with the bat.

    2. 2 catchers are doing well Lopez is hitting a ton and Ortega known for his D is also hitting the ball well

    3. the 19 year old SS is a very tiny guy. He is off to a good start.

    4. Tuned in a couple times to see Tewes when he had been pitching velocity announced in the 88 -89 mph range. Thought before TJ surgery he had a lot more in the tank than that.


    Memphis continues to win and they have the best record in the Pacific Coast League (52-32). Home, away it doesn’t matter: home=26-16, away26-16. !st in ERA (3.77) 2nd in Ks (702) 2nd least BBs (227) 1st in Whip (1.26). Weaver was 7-1, but where are the other wins coming from? Well, it seems the Redbirds have winning late in the games. If you combine the relievers; Lucas,Herget,Sherriff,Montgomery,and Neilsen their W-L is 13-0. Repete 13-0.

    Juan Perez is a guy that’s tough to figure out. He started in season in the Palm Beach bullpen pitching in 20 games with decent results. He had always been a starter before in his career, but Palm Beach is stoked with starters and Perez is only 21. So someone made the perfect decision to put him in Peoria where the rotation was coming apart at the seams. Perez has been great in his three starts (2.08ERA – 0.79WHIP) after a modified start on 6-16. He should be the first starter up if there’s an opening at PB. Yep, ahead of Hicks.

    At State College, Andy Shew (23) continues to shine. After a ill-conceived relief appearance at PB earlier in the season, Shew was sent to SC as their season opened. In his first three starts his game scores have been 71-69-65 and an ERA of 2.08 and a WHIP of 0.81. This is a guy that needs to be moved up for a challenge. His teammate Steven Farinaro, who pretty much failed in a starter-role at Peoria, continues to struggle at SC. Last season he lead the Spikes to a League Championship as their winningest pitcher. Something isn’t adding up there.


    last night some of our prospect’s that are struggling at the plate, mostly due to promotions, had good some good games.

    Springfield’s Andrew Knizner was 2-4, 2RBI up to .167 and Tommy Edman 3-4 .200 in a 5-3 win.
    At Palm Beach, Andy Young was 2-4 with a HR .222 and Jeremy Martinez 1-3 2B RBI BB .174 in a 3-2 win.
    At Peoria, Matt Fiedler was 1-3 HR BB his homer was the only score of the Chiefs 1-0 win behind O’Reilly.
    At State College, it was our 3rd rd pick ’17 Steve Hurst going 2-5 .150.

    Here’s hoping that these guys continue to settle in and make some solid progress in ’17.

    We know that we overlooked Mike O’Reilly as being a solid prospect. His name wasn’t even mentioned in the chatter about our prospects. He’s 7-2 for Peoria (A). His ERA (1.76) is 2nd in the Midwest League and his WHIP leads the league at 0.74. Seriously, O’Reilly has made 10 starts now and he continues to dazzle. The question is do we have a good prospect here? The Redbird Daily is doing an updated prospect ranking and put O’Reilly at #29, that’s up from nowhere.
    Another prospect I want to bring up is Shane Billings (22 y.o 5’11”-190) at Palm Beach (adv-A). He was a 16th rd. pick last season and got through a rather modest season at Johnson City (R) in ’16. He started this season at Peoria and hit .310 before moving up. Despite being at PB his average has increased. Has he been overlooked as a solid prospect as well? Our full-season minor league teams are well into their second half and these guy’s numbers haven’t slipped a bit.

    Brian Walton

    Paid - Annual

    O’Reilly was an honorable mention here in May. Will certainly move onto next top 50.

    Billings has good average and steals bases, but does not take walks and has very little extra-base power.


    Regarding O’Reilly, I was referring to the selections of the poll here before the season started. I know he came up on the radar in May.
    As for Billings…. .393BA OBP.462 OPS.979 51AB 5-2B 1-3B 8BB 6K. Those numbers impress me. It will be interesting to see if Billings shows up sometime, somewhere on someone’s list. With so many others struggling at PB he is thriving. Like I said last year he was just an ordinary outfielder on a championship team.


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    I saw Billings with Johnson City last year. Line drive hitter with lots of speed and good range in center field.

    Does anyone know any detail about O’Reilly. What kind of stuff does he have. Will it play up to higher levels?

    Brian Walton

    Paid - Annual

    Great start for Billings at PB, but it is just 16 games. Perhaps he is figuring out how to use those large parks to his advantage. He already has just one less XBH so far with PB than he had in three times as many games and at bats with Peoria. Very different results so far.


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    knizner catching at AA, when they made the call up jumping from Peoria I figured 1 of 2 things. It was short term fill in for a beat up catcher or at the time AA offense was struggling it was during or around the 9 game losing streak and thought they were looking to get short term bump from his bat to try and salvage the first half title. Figured he move back down shortly after. He has stayed, he has struggled to hit but that can be expected based on the big jump in levels. I always thought of him as a bat first catcher wondering if he had the receiving skills to stick. Watching AA online this week was surprised to learn he has thrown out 5 of 10 runners and the announcers were praising his throwing and catching skills.

    If his defense is coming around, think the bat is going to be there. Look for this guy to take a big jump as a prospect. Maybe an AFL candidate.


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    Outfield depth, Mo has used some fancy word a couple of times this week that means value. He was speaking of getting this value in trades and the right value for your assets at the right time. An example of this will be coming up at the trade deadline and this offseason preparing for 2018. They will have no less than 10 options on the big league level and at AAA that could factor into 2018 immediate OF plan.

    If they are serious about getting the right value at the right time they need to be trading 2 to 4 of this combination now or in the offseason.

    Flower long term no trade he is here to stay at least in 2018.
    Piscotty long term deal but at fair price could be an option to be dealt.
    Randall/Pham/JM – injury history, skill level, age, SO rate a lot of reasons not a lot trade value in this group.
    Bader has no need to repeat AAA in 2018, sell high or use him.
    JA Garcia could be ready or could be at AAA if needed in 2018.
    Sierra and Mercado will be ready for AAA assignment.
    Expect Arozarena to finish strong enough to earn AAA assignment in 2018. He is probably the only guy who could repeat AA to start the year with it not being a major set back.

    You have no where to play 10 outfielders at 2 levels in 2018. These are only the prospects leaving out the AAAA guys who are doing well.

    Need to use this group as part of deals to improve the big league roster make up or supplement organizational positions of need before value starts to decline.


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    People ignore Martini but he has made almost as big a jump as Mercado has this year.


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    I lumped Martini in that AAAA category. He sure has hit and being left handed bat is sure something that is lacking. I could see him adding value as a pinch hitter 4th or 5th OF type. But at 27 years old would not place him in prospect list or this discussion of getting return value for an asset at the right time while it is still ripe.


    Memphis is also going into their AS break and the up and down John Gant was up for this one (GS=68) but wasn’t around to get the win in a Redbird 3-2 squeaker. In the ninth, Wisdom and Cunningham singled and both scored on a Breyvic Valera double putting us up by one.(it was his 1st game in ’17 leading off) Mark Montgomery nailed it down after some nail-biting Oh-ish save-gyrations. That’s what this team has been doing all season to build up its’ large first-place lead. More good news…. Artie Reyes has been sent to the GCL Cards for rehab.

    The Springfield Cards got 2 HRs from AGarcia in a 11-4 romp last night. Andrew Knizner and Tommy Edman both went 2-4 and 2R each and raised their AVRs over .200. Hopefully these two start cooking and putting up some good numbers the rest of the season.


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    Many are probably familiar with my rants about Baseball America under estimating our minor league system. Possibly they have done it again.

    Fairly small sample but the trio of Pham, DeJong and Voit up from Memphis have 23 home runs in just over 300 official at bats. Their cumulaive slash line is .361/.562/923. Then you have the impressive debut by Sierra.

    The two pitchers up from Memphis with the most appearances Brebbia and Tuivailala are a combined 2.54 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Total of 39 innings pitched with 29 hits and 40 K’s. Also small appearances by Mayers, Gonzales, Weaver and Gant.

    Memphis behind prospects Bader, Kelly, and Wisdom have a 14 1/2 game lead at the all-star break. This while their pitching is somewhat in disarray with 11 different pitchers with quality starts and only three of them with more than four. Springfield in the hunt for a first half division win and one game out of 1st the second half. Palm Beach finsihed strong to win the first half. Short season teams still sorting it out but of note is the DSL Cardinals scuffling a bit but with a roster of 27 players who will be 18 or younger at the end of this season.

    Then you have Gallen at AAA, Hudson, Knizer, Edman at AA, Conor Jones, Jeremy Martinez, Shane Billings and Andy Young at Palm Beach from last years draft picks. Also a large Latin signing class with Adolis Garcia moving from Springfield to Memphis and doing well and Randy Arozarena moving from Palm Beach to Springfield and doing well after being the player of the month for June.

    12th not bad but maybe BA sold the organization a little short again.



    Maybe? Lol

    Name another 22 or younger prospect with an ops 75-150 points higher than his positional average with plus defense in aaa… moncada … Carson kelly…

    One is 1st. The other is in the 50s.

    Nah… Nothing wrong with that picture.


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    They like stars. We value depth. But depth only works if the GM can plug the gaps with a star or two. Is Mo up to the task?


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    The big difference between Moncado e Kelly is one is blocked for 3.5 years and the other isn’t 🙁


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    Don’t forget Mike O’Reilly at Peoria who just pitched is second complete game shutout of the season!! He also is now 8-2 with a 1.56 ERA!


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    9 IP, 1 H, 12 SO, and 0 BB for O’Reilly. Impressive even if its only Low A. He’s got to have more than control. He’s got to have movement for a line like that.


    At Memphis:
    With the addition of Weaver, the Redbirds still have only 11 Ps on their current roster. Because the Cardinals are anticipating Siegrist’s return followed by Duke’s return their present roster has 12 Ps which would leave them with 14 and decisions to made. Brebbia and/or Tuivailala could find themselves back at AAA, which would then balance out MEM’s roster. (Of course, the Cardinals will ALWAYS be the priority)Memphis has one of the soundest rotations in MiLB. Weaver#2-Flaherty#7-MGonzales#32-Gant#19-Mayers#40. Arturo Reyes is near ready to return from the DL and that will bring up another decision to make. They just sent Gallen, Bray and Wick down to Springfield.

    Springfield now has 15 Ps on their roster, even with the release of McKnight who simply aged out being 26. Chris Ellis#34 might be the odd man out now that their rotation should be Gallen#25-Hudson#8-Alcantara#6-Gomber#10-Pearce#43…. another formidable group.

    Palm Beach has their 13 pitchers that they normally go with and Helsley#23-Fernandez#11-Jones#18-Woodford# form the current rotation (DGonzalez very recently has been put on the DL). They can go with 5 by adding Vance or Leitao OR by getting a starter from Peoria.

    Peoria presently has a 6-man rotation Hicks-JPerez-O’Reilly-Oxnevad-Kruczynski-Sexton. Sending a starter to PB wouldn’t be a problem because both Castano and Shew may be ready to advance upward.

    There are thousands of possibilities to maneuver these rosters but today they are what they are. July 10th brought so many player movements which is normal for the AS break but they are also made in preparation for the MLB trade deadline. The organization may gain a player and/or two and lose a couple. It really depends on who and what the other teams are looking for. There is a lot of pitching talent throughout the affiliates.


    There have been some major prospect gainers whose stock has gone up so far.
    #2 Weaver
    #3 Kelly
    #5 Bader
    #7 Flaherty
    #8 Hudson
    #9 Sierra
    #13 DeJong
    #14 Woodford
    #16 Arozarena
    #23 Helsley
    #25 Gallen
    #32 MGonzales
    #37 DGonzales
    #40 Mayers

    non Top-50
    Mercado (DL)

    DL problems
    #1 AlReyes
    #15 Alvarez
    #12 Sosa
    #38 Wick

    Some top 50 concerns – Stock may be waning.
    #4 Perez
    #20 Denton
    #21 Williams
    #22 Plummer
    28 JeMartinez
    #33 Kilichowski

    Other non Top 50 concerns



    Looking forward to a mid-season update from Brian Walton.


    Kyle Reis did a mid-season top 30 in three parts on The Redbird Daily. Some gutsy moves.


    It’s good to see that CF Jonathan Machado#29 is back on the field with GCL-Cards. He was 2-4 last night in his first game there.
    Springfield will be getting OF Oscar Mercado back from the DL on Friday. He’ll be joining Arozarena#16 and Sierra#9 to create a very formidable OF there. With Mercado coming back to get the position player roster up to 12, a decision needs to be made to pare down the pitching roster from 14 to 13.
    The organization has been active with player movements the last few days.

    In hindsight, it was significant that DeJong#13 was moved to SS when he did. That position has taken a hit throughout the system. Diaz lost the touch the made him an AS selection last season. Memphis now has Diaz and Mejia. Springfield lost ss Sosa#12 on May31st and again on June 16th after a one game return. Tommy Edman has been filling in and now catching up to AA pitching (he was at short-season State College just last year). Many people feel that Edman’s future might be at 2ND base. Hopefully Sosa’s injury won’t disrupt his progress, but who knows that outcome. Replacing Edman at Palm Beach is Jose Martinez, a call-up from Peoria . He’s the player we got from KC in the Tony Pena trade. Pena’s bat has yet to come alive but he handles SS well enough.

    It could be said that the aggressive placement of the 4th round draft pick this season , SS Kramer
    Robertson to Peoria, was due in part to the need for a SS there. The Cards had to get SS Imeldo Diaz 19, (along with Stanley Espinal from BOS for future considerations), to play short at State College.
    Johnson City has temporarily lost their SS as DPerez#4 has done an about-face back the GCL Cards.

    Until recently, the organization had a nice set of shortstop prospects coming through the system (Sosa, Merchado, Herrera, Diaz). Now it doesn’t seem that that is the case. I have good feelings about DeJong and with any luck he could be with us for several years.


    I like the aggressive move the organization made sending Hicks up to Palm Beach. Jordan has been successful for most of his 20 years (21 in Sept). Less aggressive and more necessary was getting Anthony Shew up to Peoria to take Hicks’ spot. Shew will be 24 in Nov. and needs to make a climb sooner than later.

    I watched most of the AAA All Star game last nite (ps. I couldn’t care less about the MLB ASG). I just wanted to see some of the top rookies with my own eyes. Carson Kelly squeezed through a single to RF and Sherriff pitched 1/3 of an inning…. two highlites.

    I’d like to see Wilberto Rivera (8th rd.) (GCL) and Evan Guillory (23th rd.) (JC) get a shot to start. Both are 6′-3″ and fit the role.

    Super night for 5′-10″ Peoria ss Kramer Robertson (4th rd.). I hope we’ll see more of this from the leadoff hitter.

    One reason Memphis has been so successful in ’17 is the back end of their bullpen. Josh Lucas, Mark Montgomery and Ryan Sherriff have all been putting up terrific #s. Of course, the rotation ain’t too shabby either.

    This is the best AAA team we’ve had in a long time. There are many Redbirds ready for MLB now or being very close to ready…. solid prospects with top-notch credentials IMO.
    DeJong was fortunate to get a chance to prove himself due to several circumstances. The most important one being the sophomore jinx that has bitten Aledmys Diaz. I love Diaz but I had my concerns about him repeating his ’16 break-out. I think that advanced scouting caught up with him. He’ll be back…. but maybe not this season. DeJong’s ’17 breakout might make that extremely difficult and AD continues to struggle at AAA. His absence is a good-sized reason the Cards are where they are.

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