Gulf Coast League Cardinals Notebook: Week 2

Jem Argenal and Arturo Toribio are among the Cardinals' early leaders in the Florida rookie league.

The big picture

This report covers the week from Monday, June 27 through Saturday, July 2.

Manager Steve Turco's Gulf Coast League Cardinals played only four games during the short week, with the first three away. Wednesday was a rainout with Thursday being a scheduled day off.

The Cardinals went 1-3 this week as their season record sits at 4-5. The Cards are in fourth place in the five-team East Division, two games behind the first-place Marlins.

Game summaries

Monday, June 27: Marlins 2, Cardinals 0
Breyvic Valera was 3-for-4 with a double and Jem Argenal went 2-for-4. Ramon Ulacio took the loss as he allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings of work.

Tuesday, June 28: Nationals 2, Cardinals 1
Victor De Leon took the loss as he allowed two runs on four hits in six innings. Luis Perez was 2-for-4 and Breyvic Valera had a triple in five at-bats.

Wednesday, June 29: off day
GCL teams are off every fifth day. It was the Cardinals' turn.

Thursday, June 30: vs. Mets
This game was rained out.

Friday, July 1: Cardinals 9 at Astros 2
Breyvic Valera and Ildemaro Vargas had two hits and two RBI apiece and Lance Jefferies was 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Dail Villanueva started and threw three scoreless before Tyler Melling earned the win behind three shutout innings.

Saturday, July 2: Marlins 6 at Cardinals 4
Arturo Toribio fanned seven and allowed just one earned run over six innings, but two other unearned runs scored on his watch. Making his pro debut, Scott Bittle took the loss after walking two batters that came around to score in his 2/3 inning. Sam Tuivailala was on base three times with a single, double and a walk and plated two.

On the Move

The Cardinals' 17th-round pick, California high school outfielder Dutch Deol, joined the club on Wednesday after agreeing to terms.

On Friday, outfielder Reggie Williams, coming off hamate surgery earlier this spring, was assigned to the GCL club, down from Batavia.

Who's Hot

Jem Argenal. The 19-year-old outfielder from Nicaragua is 10-for-24 (.417) with a home run and five RBI.

Victor Encarnacion. The 21-year-old outfielder is batting .333 (7-for-21) including a home run and six RBI.

Hector Garcia. The corner infielder is batting .313 (10-for-32) in the early going. He hit just .220 for the 2010 GCL Cards.

Breyvic Valera. The middle infielder has six RBI, tying Encarnacion for the team lead, and is batting .294 (10-for-34).

Arturo Toribio. In two starts, the 19-year-old right-hander has a 13:2 strikeout to walk ratio over 11 innings and a 1.64 ERA.

Who's Not

Ildemaro Vargas. In his return to the GCL, the switch-hitting Venezuelan middle infielder is just 6-for-31 (.194) to open the season.

Luis Perez. The 19-year-old catcher is having a tough US debut to date, batting just .154 (4 for 26). He also had two passed balls on Saturday.

Michael Knox. After a big home run burst early, the 41st-round pick has come on hard times. In addition to the three homers, the first baseman has just one other hit, a single for a .160 average (4 for 25). Knox committed his second fielding error on Saturday.

Jeff Lyman. The recently-signed righty, on a rehab assignment from Palm Beach, has yielded six runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings. GCL hitters are batting a cool .400 against the 24-year-old.

Cole Brand. In four outings totaling 3 2/3 innings, the 19-year-old GCL returnee has yielded three earned runs (7.36 ERA).

Gulf Coast League individual leaders

Among the hitters, Argenal is second in batting average, 13th in OBP (.423), 8th in slugging (.583) and 10th in OPS at 1.006. Encarnacion (.524) and Knox (.520) are 16th and 17th in slugging, respectively. Knox is tied for third with three home runs. With three stolen bases, Lance Jeffries is tied with a big group at 10th.

Toribio and teammate Ramon Ulacio are tied for 14th in the GCL in ERA at 1.64. Toribio's 13 strikeouts are tied for 10th in the league.

Team stats and rankings – Season to date

Because the Cardinals have played just nine games while most of the 15-team GCL have played a dozen, only rate stats are listed below. The hitters are clearly ahead of the pitchers after two weeks.

Offense Season GCL rank
YTD # of 15
BA 0.249 5th
OBP 0.349 2nd
SLG 0.360 6th
OPS 0.709 3rd
Pitching Season GCL rank
YTD # of 15
ERA 3.69 9th

Up Next

The Cardinals will entertain the Nationals on Sunday before traveling to Port St. Lucie to talk on the Mets on Monday. A day off Tuesday will be followed by a home game against the Astros on Wednesday. The upcoming week concludes with away games versus the Marlins and Nationals.

Note: Regular GCL Cardinals reporter Paul Ivice's notebook will return one week from today.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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