2010 Springfield Cardinals Team Review

The Cardinals Double-A club reached the Texas League playoffs but stumbled in the first round.

Final Regular Season Record:   76-64   (Pythagorean 81-59)

Final Standing:  Second, qualified for post-season with the second-best overall record within the division because eventual Texas League Champions Northwest Arkansas (Kansas City) won both halves.

     First-Half Record:  38–32

          First-Half Standing:  Second, four games behind Northwest Arkansas

     Second-Half Record:  38-32

          Second-Half Standing:  Third, six games behind Northwest Arkansas and two games behind Tulsa (Colorado)

 

The Team: 

Springfield's 2010 opening day roster was split evenly with 12 pitchers and 12 position players.  That roster's average age was 23 years, 9 months, 17 days old which made them the youngest roster in their division by three and one-half months.  The Cardinals' closing active roster was also split evenly between pitchers and position players and they had an average age of 23-11-16. 

 

To compare them age-wise with Northwest Arkansas, the Naturals had an opening day roster made up of 14 pitchers and 11 position players with an average age of 24-5-26.  That placed them fifth in the eight-team North division.  Northwest Arkansas's final active roster had 12 pitchers and 12 position players with an average age of 24-3-3. 

 

Third baseman Matt Carpenter, centerfielder Adron Chambers, second baseman Jermaine Curtis, catcher Charles Cutler, second baseman Jose Garcia, outfielder Tommy Pham, first baseman Xavier Scruggs and right fielder Chris Swauger all saw Double-A for the first time in 2010.

 

The following pitchers made their Double-A debut in 2010:  Jason Buursma, Ramon Delgado, Mark Diapoules, Thomas Eager, Matt Frevert, Shaun Garceau, Scott McGregor, Arquimedes Nieto, Kevin Thomas and Adam Reifer.

 

In all, 51 players donned the Springfield Cardinals' uniform at some point:  25 position players and 26 pitchers. That includes on-the-comeback-trail Aaron Miles plus rehabbers David Freese and Kyle Lohse.  They are not included in the discussion of the draft classes that follows.

 

Draft Classes: 

Players from five draft classes competed at Springfield in 2010 as did players signed out of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama.  Also included was Matt Meyer, a left-handed pitcher selected in the December 2009 Rule 5 draft out of the Cleveland organization.  Meyer was originally drafted by Cleveland in the 13th round in 2005. 

Draft Year Position P
2009 1 0
2008 7 6
2007 9 6
2206 2 6
2005 1 3
Dominican Republic 1 1
Venezuela 1 1
Panama 0 1
Rule 5 0 1
Total 22 25

 

The charts below list each draft class' names and draft round along with the position(s) they played this season.  The main position played is listed first and any position played under ten times was omitted.

2008 Draft
Player Position Round
Scott Gorgen RHS 4
Jermaine Curtis 2B 5
Ryan Kulik LHS 8
Aaron Luna LF/RF 9
Charles Cutler C 14
Scott McGregor RHS 15
Xavier Scruggs 1B 19
Colt Sedbrook 2B 22
Jason Buursma RHR 25
Chris Swauger RF/LF 27
Matt Frevert RHR 28
Kevin Thomas RHS 33
Curt Smith 1B 39

The youngest player in this subgroup of the 2008 draft class is Xavier Scruggs (DOB 9/23/87) and the oldest is Colt Sedbrook (DOB 7/28/85).

 

2007 Draft
Player Position Round
Pete Kozma SS 1
David Kopp RHS 2
Thomas Eager RHR 5
Tyler Henley RF 8
Adam Reifer RHR 11
Steven Hill C 13
Chuckie Fick RHR 15
Antonio DeJesus RF/CF 16
Andrew Brown 1B/3B 18
Brian Broderick RHS 21
Tony Cruz C 26
Nick Derba C 30
Adron Chambers CF/LF 38
Ramon Delgado RHR 41
Mike Folli UT 42

The youngest of this 2007 draft group is Pete Kozma (DOB 4/11/88) and the oldest is Andrew Brown (DOB 9/10/84).

 

2006 Draft
Player Position Round
Gary Daley Jr. RHS 3
Tyler Norrick LHR 6
Tommy Pham LF/CF/RF 16
Mark Diapoules RHS 21
Casey Mulligan RHR 22
Jim Rapoport RF 35
Kyle Mura RHR 42
Nick Additon LHS 47

Both Mark Diapoules and Nick Additon signed in May 2007 as part of the old ‘draft-and-follow' system that not longer applies.  Casey Mulligan was drafted as a catcher and converted to pitching in June 2008.  Diapoules (DOB 5/31/88) is the youngest and Kyle Mura (DOB 11/24/84) is the eldest. 

 

2005 Draft
Player Position Round DOB
Daryl Jones CF/LF 3 06/24/87
Shaun Garceau RHS 20 08/28/87
Trey Hearne RHS 28 08/18/83
Blake King RHR 44 04/11/87

Player Position Country Signed DOB
Luis De La Cruz C DR May-06 05/06/89
Francisco Samuel RHR DR June-06 12/20/86
Jose Garcia 2B VZ March-06 02/11/88
Eduardo Sanchez RHR VZ Dec-05 02/16/89
Arquimedes Nieto RHR PA March-07 04/28/89

 

Third baseman Matt Carpenter (DOB 11/26/85) is the first member of St. Louis' 2009 draft class to reach Double-A.

 

So, the youngest player on the Springfield roster this season was catcher Luis De La Cruz who barely beat out reliever Arquimedes Nieto.  The eldest was Trey Hearne. 

 

 

The Season:

Springfield began the season in April with a six-game Texas road trip that they split evenly.  They went on to finish the month with a 12-9 record and leading their division by a half game.  Unfortunately, the Cardinals won only three of their next ten games to fall into second, five and one-half games behind Northwest Arkansas.  It was a deficit from which Springfield never fully recovered during the first half. 

 

The first ten days of May saw the arrival of two players from Palm Beach who made positive contributions:  third baseman Matt Carpenter and reliever Francisco Samuel.  Carpenter became one of Springfield's main offensive threats and Samuel pitched well enough to finish his year in Memphis.  In mid-May Springfield added former big leaguer Aaron Miles who was signed to a minor league contract.  He went .279/.362/.344/.344/.707 over the next 16 games and was called up to St. Louis at month's end.

 

By June 1st the Cardinals were 27-23 and still in second, but had gained ground on the Naturals for a two and a half game gap.  However, on May 27th Springfield lost the services of their best starter when Scott Gorgen went on the disabled list with a right elbow issue.  Gorgen had a 1.17 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and was holding the opposition to a .195 batting average at that point and his performance was sorely missed.  He returned late in the season but pitched limited innings out of the bullpen and was not nearly as effective.  Springfield also lost their closer for over two weeks when Eduardo Sanchez injured his right ankle in late May and was placed on the DL on May 30th.  The Cardinals went 6-7 over the next two weeks to fall five games back by mid-June.  The first half of the season ended on June 22nd with Springfield in second place.  They had a 38-32 record and were four games back of Northwest Arkansas.   

 

The second half of the season began with Springfield's closer being permanently lost to a promotion to Memphis and Tyler Henley being permanently lost to a hyper-extended elbow.  Henley had provided some welcome offensive pop after being activated on the Memphis disabled list and re-assigned to Springfield on June 9th.  He went .367/.397/.600/. 997 in 60 at bats over the next 16 games before incurring his season-ending injury.   On the positive side, Cardinals fans saw the arrival and Double-A debut of the talented Tommy Pham.  The 22-year-old hit .339/.429/.537/.966 in 121 at bats and 38 games.  Unfortunately, Pham was hit by a pitch on his wrist in mid-August which fractured a bone and finished his season. 

 

Springfield went 6-11 in their first 17 games to fall into last place, seven games back of Tulsa by mid-July.  They climbed back to finish July at 17-17 and in third place, four games behind Northwest Arkansas.  However, the Cardinals lost the services of first baseman Curt Smith when he broke a bone in his left wrist during a July 24th game. 

 

Early August saw a rehab start by Kyle Lohse in which he posted a 9.00 ERA but a 1.60 FIP.  The Cardinals continued to improve and had climbed into a second place tie with Tulsa by mid-August, three games back.  By the end of August Springfield was eight games over .500 with a 36-28 record and still three games behind Northwest Arkansas.  But Tulsa was playing just a bit better than was Springfield and the Cardinals were in third place.  Springfield went 2-4 over the last six games of the season in September and was left rooting for Northwest Arkansas to win both halves.  Under that scenario, the Cardinals would qualify for the post-season because of having the second best season-long record in their division.  Northwest Arkansas did their part and Springfield was play-off bound.

 

For a summary of Springfield's five-game post-season series against Northwest Arkansas, please click on this link.

 

The Hitting:

Springfield's offense was one of the best in the league, second only to Northwest Arkansas in many team offense categories. 

Team  AB  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS  R  H 
Springfield 4717 0.264 0.356 0.424 0.774 721 1245
Lge Ranking - 3rd T- 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
change - D - - - - - -
League Lead 4753 0.291 0.364 0.453 0.817 770 1368
Team - Tx KC KC KC KC KC KC
           
  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB 
Springfield 248 34 146 660 544 1065 78
Lge Ranking - 2nd 5th 1st 2nd 2nd 8th 7th
change - - - - - - - D
League Lead 291 42 --- 712 566 817 152
Team - KC Texas   KC SD KC KC

While the Cardinals tied for second with a .264 batting average, the primary feature of their offensive attack was their power.  Springfield led the league with 146 home runs, 14 more than second place Northwest Arkansas and 78 more than last place Frisco (Texas).

 

They hit a home run an average of once every 32.3 at bats which placed them first in that (obscure) category.  Springfield, however, appeared to have an ‘all or nothing' approach as a downside of their power was their ‘whiffiness'.  Springfield tied for dead last in fewest strikeouts average with a K once every 5.1 plate appearances.  On the other hand, Northwest Arkansas led the league in fewest strikeouts with an average of a strikeout once every 6.6 plate appearances.

 

On the upside the Cardinals tied for second best in walks-per-plate appearance with an average rate of a walk every 10 plate appearances.  That is just behind San Antonio who walked once every 9.5 plate appearances on average.  Another interesting factoid is the Cardinals led the league with 94 hit-by-pitch encounters which was 18 more than second place Northwest Arkansas and 58 more than last-place Corpus Christi (Houston).  Once on base, however, Springfield was pretty stationary as they were seventh in stolen bases.  Where have you gone, Lou Brock?

 

Individually, third baseman Matt Carpenter battled for the batting title for much of his time in Springfield until a late-season slump resulted in him finishing in fourth with a .316 average.  Northwest Arkansas' Clint Robinson and Johnny Giavotella finished first and second with a .335 and .322 average respectively.  Andrew Brown's 291 average was good for tenth place.

 

Aaron Luna led the league with a .426 on-base percentage which was fueled, in part, by 25 hit-by-pitches.  Matt Carpenter had a .412 on-base percentage which was third and Andrew Brown's .371 OBP was eighth.  Carpenter was fourth and Luna was fifth with 64 and 63 walks respectively.  Shortstop Pete Kozma tied for tenth with 56 walks.

 

Former Cardinal Steven Hill was second in slugging with a .543 percentage and Andrew Brown's .526 was third.  Matt Carpenter with sixth with a .487 slugging percentage and Aaron Luna's .470 was eleventh.  Carpenter (.900), Brown (.897), Luna (.897) and Hill (.895) placed third through sixth in the league in OPS with Brown and Luna tied for fourth place. 

 

In the multi-base categories, Brown and Hill finished tied for fourth with 22 home runs and Luna's 15 home runs placed him ninth.  Pete Kozma ended up tied for sixth with 28 doubles, Steven Hill's 27 doubles was good for seventh and Matt Carpenter was eighth with 26.  Daryl Jones ended in a three-way tie for ninth with six triples.  Jones also led the team with 15 stolen bases which resulted a multi-person tie for eleventh in the league. 

 

 

The Pitching: 

Like their counterparts in Short-A ball, Springfield's pitching was not nearly as competitive as their hitting.   

Team  ERA  FIP F GAP IP WHIP 
Springfield 3.88 4.27 0.39 1211.2 1.36
Lge Ranking - 4th 7th   7th T-4th
change - D D   U -
League Lead 3.33 3.47   1252.0 1.29
Team - SD SD   SD SD
           
  H/9 IP HR/H BB/9 SO/9 K/BB
Springfield 8.62 1:9.9 3.63 6.92 1.9:1
Lge Ranking - 2nd 7th T-5th T-5th 6th
change - - - U - D
League Lead 8.32 1:16.7 2.91 7.80 2.36:1
Team - SD Oak Col SD SD

They were fourth or fifth of eight teams in Earned Run Average, Walks-Hits-per-Innings-Pitched, Walks-per-Nine-Innings Pitched and Strikeouts-per-Nine-Innings Pitched.  The Cardinals ended up seventh in FIP mainly because of the free passes and the fact that they were prone to giving up the long ball.  They were very competitive in Hits Allowed, tied for second, but those hits they did allow tended to be home runs.  Springfield gave up one home run for every 9.9 hits allowed which was only better than Tulsa's 1:9.3 HR/H ratio. 

 

Only Nick Additon and David Kopp pitched the minimum 0.8 IP/Game needed to qualify for league leader consideration.  (Brian Broderick just missed qualifying at 0.72 IP/G.  If he could have sustained his performance long enough to qualify, his 2.77 ERA would have been second in the league and his 3.45 FIP would have been sixth.) 

 

David Kopp had a 3.05 ERA which placed him fourth in the league and his 3.94 FIP tied him with Tulsa's Cory Riordan for tenth.  Kopp was ninth with a 1.36 WHIP.  Nick Additon struck out 109 batters which placed him seventh in the league in that category. 

 

Individual Recognition:

Springfield had nine players named to the mid-season All-Star game:  right-handed starter Scott Gorgen, right-handed starter David Kopp,  (Brian Broderick replaced  injured Gorgen) right-handed reliever Eduardo Sanchez, catcher Steven Hill, first baseman Curt Smith, third baseman Matt Carpenter and outfielders Aaron Luna and Adron Chambers.  Scott Gorgen could not participate due to injury and was replaced by the Cardinals' Brian Broderick.

 

The Cardinals' Andrew Brown received the first Texas League Player of the Week honor (period 04/08 – 04/18/10) and Springfield players went on to win it multiple times as the season progressed.  Shortstop Pete Kozma won for the period 05/03 – 05/09 and pitcher Brian Boderick received Pitcher of the Week honors for 05/31 – 06/06.  Outfielder Aaron Luna was the Cardinals' only recipient in June (06/14 – 06/20) but catcher Steven Hill (07/12 – 07/18), third baseman Matt Carpenter (07/19 – 07/25) and pitcher Nick Additon (07/26 – 08/01) each won in July.  Carpenter won again in early August (08/02 – 08/08) and Andrew Brown received his second Player of the Week mention for the period 08/23 – 08/29.

 

The Springfield Cardinals' stamp is all over St. Louis' contingent to the 2010 Arizona Fall League, as is to be expected.  Current Cardinals Brian Broderick, Ramon Delgado, Blake King and Pete Kozma join their former teammates Adron Chambers and Tony Cruz as part of the eight-member delegation to the Surprise Rafters.  Springfield's hitting coach, Derrick May, will serve the same function for the Rafters.

 

Roster Moves: 

There was a lot of action on Springfield's roster this season. 

 

A promotion to Memphis was a coveted goal and some attained it.  Outfielders Jim Rapoport and Adron Chambers, middle infielder Mike Folli and relievers Chuckie Fick, Eduardo Sanchez, Francisco Samuel and Adam Reifer all began their season at Springfield and were promoted to Memphis, never to be seen again.  Others began at Springfield, tasted Memphis and returned to Springfield:  starters David Kopp, Ryan Kulik and outfielder Aaron Luna.  

 

Then there were those players that were promoted from Palm Beach.  Two players called Springfield their home for awhile on their journey from Palm Beach to Memphis:  Francisco Samuel and Tony Cruz.   Reliever Samuel and catcher Cruz were both promoted from Palm Beach, played in Springfield and ended the season at Memphis.  Third baseman Matt Carpenter, pitchers Jason Buursma, Brian Broderick, Scott McGregor and Ramon Delgado, second baseman Jose Garcia, centerfielder Tommy Pham, second baseman Jermaine Curtis, outfielder Chris Swauger, catcher Nick Derba and catcher Luis De La Cruz were all promoted from Palm Beach and ended the season on Springfield's roster.  Pitchers Arquimedes Nieto, Casey Mulligan and Mark Diapoules began and ended their seasons at Palm Beach with time spent at Springfield.  Both reliever Matt Frevert and starter Kevin Thomas were called up from Palm Beach for Springfield's post-season run.

 

Two players began the season on the Double-A roster and were subsequently re-assigned to Palm Beach:  second baseman Colt Sedbrook and catcher Charles Cutler.  Cutler returned to Springfield in August.

 

Two more players followed a circuitous path.  Both Trey Hearne and Tyler Norrick opened the season at Memphis and landed on the DL while there.  Both were activated and re-assigned to Palm Beach and both were promoted to Springfield.  Hearne spent the balance of the 2010 season at Springfield while Norrick eventually returned to Memphis.

 

Four pitchers saw their final action in the St. Louis organization in 2010:  Shaun Garceau, Gary Daley Jr., Matt Meyer and Kyle Mura.

 

Finally there is the most unique transaction of the season:  the promotion of catcher Steven Hill.  It is extremely rare for any minor leaguer to make their professional debut with St. Louis by coming directly from the Double-A level.  Due to an unusual set of circumstances, catcher Steven Hill accomplished that feat.  Hill was a very temporary fill-in there before being re-assigned to Memphis.

 

Injuries:

The first trip to the Disabled List did not occur until May 4th when an injury to reliever Chuckie Fick's right knee resulted in his disabling.  Scott Gorgen joined him on May 27th with a right elbow strain that kept him out of action for three months.  Fick was activated on June 2nd and was promoted to Memphis on the 21st of that month.  Francisco Samuel, who began the season on the Disabled List, went back on the DL on May 8th.

 

There were several changes in the bullpen in late May/early June due to injuries.  Closer Eduardo Sanchez spent from May 30th to June 16th on the DL with a right ankle issue while Kyle Mura, who began the season on the DL, was activated on May 27th but returned to the DL on June 7th and was not to appear in a Springfield game again.  Francisco Samuel was activated the same day Mura went back on the DL. 

 

The last three weeks of June saw more activity.  Outfielder Tyler Henley was activated off the Memphis DL and re-assigned to Springfield where he played until hyper-extending his left elbow later that month.  Henley's injury required ‘Tommy John' surgery and ended his 2010 season.  Corner infielder Andrew Brown strained his oblique which shelved him from June 9th until July 1st.  Casey Mulligan was disabled on June 20th and remained there until July 26th when he was activated and re-assigned to Palm Beach. 

 

Things were quiet on the DL front until late July when first baseman Curt Smith was disabled on the 26th with a broken hamate bone in his left hand.  The injury ended his season. 

 

Two more moves happened in August.  Tony Cruz strained his right hamstring which kept him out of action from August 9th until August 30th.  Centerfielder Tommy Pham was placed on the DL with a bone fracture near his right wrist.  That was yet another season-ending injury for Springfield. 

 

There were two final actions in September.  Charles Cutler was disabled on September 3rd with a broken foot and Ryan Kulik was shelved on the 8th with an undisclosed injury.  Cutler, Kulik, Smith, Henley and Pham all ended the season on the Disabled List.

 

Second baseman Jose Martinez and reliever Samuel Freeman spent the entire 2010 season on Springfield's disabled list, though the former appeared briefly in a handful of rehab games in the Gulf Coast League.

 

 

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