Cards minor league spring training pitching

Summarizing the best performances by St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitchers in spring training 2014.

The St. Louis Cardinals' 2014 minor league spring training camp is over. The 100 players considered most ready have been placed onto the active rosters of one of the organization's full-season clubs. Another 60 or so have remained behind in Jupiter, Florida – to rehab injuries, ready themselves for a call when an opening appears on one of the full-season clubs or compete for a spot on one of the short-season clubs opening play in June.

The best indication of what happened in camp is the opening assignments given to these players. Still, it can also be illustrative to review available spring training results in aggregate. We can see those with momentum as well as those still needing refinement.

Silfredo Garcia: 19 Ks in 14 IP
Based on the data provided by the organization, this broader look is only possible for pitchers. While we have the complete pitching results, only hitting highlights were offered, which do not include the bad days. Therefore, this report is pitching-oriented only.

It should almost go without saying that spring training is short in duration. Even the busiest relievers pitched in just seven games. One especially bad (or good) outing can skew the results, so this data should not be considered definitive. The numbers themselves are accurate to the best of my knowledge, but recording or spreadsheet errors are always possible.

In terms of innings pitched, the most thrown by any hurler this spring was 14. For purposes of this work, I excluded those who pitched fewer than five innings, leaving us with a population of 64 pitchers. Though several of these pitchers also appeared in major league camp, the numbers that follow are from minor league games only. When a pitcher is a member of The Cardinal Nation Top 40 prospect list for 2014, his ranking is designated in the "TCN" column.

The goose eggs

Following on the left are the pitchers who did not allow an earned run this spring. On the right are those who did not issue a free pass. As coincidence would have it, there are exactly 10 names on each list.

No runs TCN IP     No walks TCN IP
Dailyn Martinez    8.0     Jimmy Reed    13.0
Justin Wright    8.0     Cory Jones  #14 9.0
Max Foody    7.0     Dean Kiekhefer    8.0
Sam Tuivailala  #36 7.0     Zach Loraine    7.0
Zach Loraine    7.0     Jose Almarante    6.3
Chris Thomas    6.0     Logan Billbrough    6.3
Dixon Llorens    6.0     Joe Scanio    6.3
Norge Paredes    6.0     Nick Greenwood     6.0
Danny Miranda    5.0     Brandon Lee    6.0
Eric Fornataro  #39 5.0     Marco Gonzales  #6 5.0

Relievers dominate the 0.00 ERA list. All levels are represented with Eric Fornataro from Memphis, Justin Wright and Danny Miranda from Springfield, Palm Beach's Dixon Llorens and Sam Tuivailala and Zach Loraine of Peoria. It is also encouraging to see the name of lefty Max Foody.

Many familiar names appear among the walk-free. Again, they are mostly relievers, though the list is bookended by starters Jimmy Reed, Cory Jones and Marco Gonzales. Loraine is the only name on both.

Keep ‘em off

Next up are the leaders in allowing the fewest hits, followed by the fewest combined walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP).

Fewest hits / 9 TCN IP H/9   Fewest runners TCN IP WHIP
Sam Tuivailala  #36 7.0 1.3   Zach Loraine    7.0 0.43
Aidan Lucas    8.0 2.3   Aidan Lucas    8.0 0.50
Kevin Herget    8.0 2.3   Kevin Herget    8.0 0.50
Max Foody    7.0 2.6   Nick Greenwood     6.0 0.50
Norge Paredes    6.0 3.0   Joe Donofrio    5.7 0.53
Chris Thomas    6.0 3.0   Cory Jones  #14 9.0 0.56
Joe Donofrio    5.7 3.2   Eric Fornataro  #39 5.0 0.60
Dailyn Martinez    8.0 3.4   Norge Paredes    6.0 0.67
Eric Fornataro  #39 5.0 3.6   Max Foody    7.0 0.71
Isaac Silva    5.0 3.6   Nick Petree  #34 9.0 0.78
Zach Loraine    7.0 3.9   Jose Almarante    6.3 0.79
          Iden Nazario    6.3 0.79
          Marco Gonzales  #6 5.0 0.80
          Arturo Reyes    11.0 0.82
          Chris Thomas    6.0 0.83
          Sam Tuivailala  #36 7.0 0.86
          Tim Cooney #12 7.0 0.86
          Dailyn Martinez    8.0 0.88
          Silfredo Garcia    14.0 0.93
          Chase Brookshire    14.0 0.93
          Kyle Helisek    9.0 1.00
          Justin Wright    8.0 1.00
          Thomas Lee    8.0 1.00
          Juan Perez    7.0 1.00
          Kyle Grana    7.0 1.00
          Jeff Rauh    6.0 1.00
          Danny Miranda    5.0 1.00

As we might expect, the ERA list and the fewest hits list have many of the same names. This time Tuivailala wins the crown for the lowest hit rate, followed by Aidan Lucas, back from a nerve problem that derailed his 2013.

All pitchers that allowed one baserunner or less per inning - a very, very good mark – are noted on the right above. Loraine, on every list so far, and Lucas lead the way on an impressively-long list. Peoria's Kevin Herget makes a strong number three showing on both and Joe Donofrio, who jumped over Palm Beach, is also among these leaders.

Strikeout masters

On the left are those who logged double-digit strikeout rates per nine innings. Many of the names are expected, yet the small sample surprisingly put Nick Greenwood on top. Over five regular seasons, the Memphis lefty has a career strikeout rate of just 5.8 per nine innings.

Next to them are those with "among the best" strikeout to walk ratios. I say "among the best," because of course, those I already listed with no spring walks have an infinitely-good rate. In reality, these are the pitchers that walked just one batter this spring. Still impressive.

Strikeout rate TCN IP K/9   BB/K ratio TCN IP K/BB
Nick Greenwood     6.0 13.5   Nick Petree  #34 9.0 9.0
Jose Almarante    6.3 12.8   Thomas Lee    8.0 8.0
Silfredo Garcia    14.0 12.2   Tim Cooney #12 7.0 7.0
Sam Tuivailala  #36 7.0 11.6   Zach Petrick  #16 12.0 7.0
Joe Scanio    6.3 11.4   Chase Brookshire    14.0 6.0
Chris Perry    8.0 11.3   Chris Perry    8.0 5.0
Marco Gonzales  #6 5.0 10.8   Joe Donofrio    5.7 5.0
Zach Petrick  #16 12.0 10.5   Kevin Herget    8.0 4.0
Seth Blair  #37 12.0 10.5   Corey Baker    8.0 4.0
          Heath Wyatt    6.3 4.0

The strugglers

There is always some part of the news that is not good. Here is that part in this article. We have those who allowed the most baserunners and logged the highest ERAs. A WHIP of 1.50 or higher or an ERA of 5.00 or more, inflated rates both, put a pitcher on these lists.

Most runners TCN IP WHP   Highest ERA TCN IP ERA
Angel Castro    8.0 2.25   Will Anderson    8.0 10.13
Steve Sabatino    6.0 2.17   Chris Perry    8.0 9.00
Ian McKinney  #25 7.0 2.14   Steve Sabatino    6.0 9.00
Robert Stock    8.0 2.00   Steven Farinaro    9.0 8.00
Mike Mayers  #21 12.0 1.92   Angel Castro    8.0 7.88
Boone Whiting  #30 8.7 1.85   Joe Scanio    6.3 7.11
Kyle Barraclough    6.0 1.83   Heath Wyatt    6.3 7.11
Will Anderson    8.0 1.75   Corey Baker    8.0 6.75
Corey Baker    8.0 1.75   Seth Blair  #37 12.0 6.00
Dean Kiekhefer    8.0 1.75   Dean Kiekhefer    8.0 5.63
Joe Scanio    6.3 1.74   Jonathan Escudero    5.0 5.40
Jhonny Polanco    8.0 1.63   Josh Lucas    7.0 5.14
Sam Gaviglio  #26 14.0 1.57   Jonathan Cornelius    9.0 5.00
Steven Farinaro    9.0 1.56          
Seth Blair  #37 12.0 1.50          
Chris Perry    8.0 1.50          
Brandon Lee    6.0 1.50          

New signee Angel Castro pitched well in winter ball, but not in either major league or minor league camp. Based on last season, I had Steve Sabatino projected onto a full-season roster. Looking at his spring, however, I can understand why he is remaining in extended spring training instead.

It is a bit concerning to see five top 40 prospects are among the 15 with the highest spring WHIPs. Inconsistent Seth Blair is the only TCN top 40 prospect appear on both the highest WHIP and ERA lists, however.

In closing, again, remember the number of innings pitched during spring training is small.

More information

The team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are as up-to-date as any source currently on the internet. To access them, click on the words "MILB ROSTERS" on the red bar to the right of The Cardinal Nation site logo. For now, these six EST players will be kept on their prior rosters with the designation "EST" instead of a uniform number.

To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position on one page, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. It will be updated later in the week, probably on Thursday's opening day for the minor leagues.

Look for the full extended spring training roster at the end of this week. Also ahead, Cardinals international director Moises Rodriguez will take subscribers through the Dominican Summer League players coming to EST this spring.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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