Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook: 2011 Week 12

The Florida State League Cards welcome top pitching prospect, right-hander Carlos Martinez, to their rotation as they try to improve on a disappointing first half.

This report covers the period from June 24 through June 30.

It was a week of ups and downs for the Palm Beach Cardinals but it was mostly ups. The Cardinals posted five wins with only two losses which is the team's best stretch of the season.

Though in this space games are usually recapped, this week the player movement will be reviewed. Over the past seven days, twelve players have come, go, or seen their role change.

The biggest move of the week had to be the promotion of the "Phenom" Carlos Martinez from Quad Cities to the Florida State League. The 19-year-old posted a 3-2 record with a 2.33 ERA in his North American debut. In 38.2 innings, the fireballer struck out 50 while walking 14. He held Midwest League hitters to a .196 average while getting more than twice the number of groundballs to fly balls.

Starter John Gast was promoted to Double-A to join another 2010 draft pick, Zack Cox. The southpaw was one of the busiest pitchers in the Florida State League, ranking in the top five of innings pitched.

Also coming from the Quad Cities is second baseman Starlin Rodriguez. In 137 at bats for the River Bandits, the 21-year-old hit .263/.335/.380 during his first taste of full season ball. Rodriguez was promoted to make room for 2011 first round pick Kolten Wong.

Arquimedes Nieto returned from the disabled list after a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. Sidelined since April 11, Nieto had made only one appearance for Palm Beach this season.

Starter Jordan Swagerty who posted a record of 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA in seven starts was moved to the bullpen for the rest of the season. His first outing out of the pen was successful; he struck out two in a shutout inning.

Coming down from Springfield was Richard Castillo. In 24 appearances at Double-A, the right-hander was 1-1 with an ERA just north of four. Texas League hitters pounded him for a .326 average while he gave away 21 free passes in 44 innings.

Following Castillo from Springfield was infielder Domnit Bolivar. The 22-year-old appeared in only 16 games and hit .298/.333/.447 with a home run and eight RBIs.

Francisco Samuel hit the disabled list after making only one appearance in 2011 on June 20. He experienced right shoulder irritation, the same issue that put him on the shelf for most of the season.

Joining Samuel on the disabled list was left-handed reliever Justin Wright. The southpaw had joined Palm Beach only a couple of days before being shelved and never appeared in a FSL game. Luis Mateo hit the DL when the team promoted Rodriguez. The infielder was hitting only .179 on the season.

Packy Elkins was sent to the Quad Cities after hitting only .195/.340/.195 in 14 games. Jeff Lyman has joined the team after being signed as a minor league free agent. This week, struggling reliever Aaron Terry was released.

Who's Hot

Xavier Scruggs has reached base in 29 straight games. When the streak began, the X-Man was hitting only .181 but has raised his average to .257. In four starts since joining the Cardinals, Kevin Siegrist has an ERA of 1.96 while opponents have managed only a .177 average against.

The Cardinal Nation Top 40 Prospect Watch

#40 Niko Vasquez. With two home runs on Thursday evening, the infielder pushed his seaso total to four in 26 games. He is still only hitting .225.

#39 Robert Stock. The young backstop was hitting .227 in his last five games before collecting two hits on Thursday night.

#30 Rainel Rosario. The 22-year-old has posted an OPS over .900 in June. If he continues to stroke the ball like he has of late, a trip to Springfield may occur before season's end. ,p> #27 Joe Kelly. The right-hander appears to be on a verge of a promotion. Kelly is now 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 66 innings. In his last outing, he struck out eight in six innings while picking up the victory.

#24 Jordan Swagerty. In eight appearances, the right-hander is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.27.

#5 Carlos Martinez. In his Palm Beach debut Thursday, Martinez allowed two runs on four while striking out seven in six innings of work.

Around the League

After a shaky first half, the Cardinals are 6-2 and tied for first with Bradenton in the second half of the season.

Palm Beach ranks third in strikeouts, fifth in team ERA, and tied for first in complete games with two.

The team ranks tenth in the league in average and slugging percentage. The Cardinals are eleventh in on base percentage and runs.

Up Next

The team will start the month of July on the road at Bradenton before returning home to be the visitors in a series with Jupiter. The team will then welcome Bradenton to Roger Dean Stadium for a three-game series.

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