Five Chiefs Among Midwest League All-Stars

The St. Louis Cardinals' Class-A affiliate in Peoria has five all-stars, including starting outfielder Ronald Castillo. Other Cardinals news from Wednesday follows.

A day after the A-Advanced Florida State League announced its mid-season all-stars, the Class-A Midwest League followed on Wednesday.

Five Peoria Chiefs have been selected as all-stars. They are right-handed starting pitcher Arturo Reyes, right-handed reliever Chris Perry, shortstop Juan Herrera, and outfielders C.J. McElroy and Ronald Castillo. The latter will be a starter.

Unlike post-season all-stars, which represent the entire league, the mid-season recognition is made up of two full squads, representing the divisions. In the MWL, the West, which includes Peoria, will take on the East in the 50th MWL All-Star Game to be held on June 17 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan.

The Chiefs tied Wisconsin for the most Western Division selections while three teams have four players each. South Bend leads the Eastern Division squad with six selections.

The all-stars

Castillo, 21, has a line of .287/.328/.401 with three home runs and 10 doubles. The right-handed hitter is tied for the team lead with 29 RBI despite missing more than a week with an abdominal strain. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic signed with the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in 2009. Castillo was also a New York-Penn League all-star in 2013.

Herrera, 20, is hitting .279 in 49 games with 11 doubles, three triples, 25 RBI and 29 runs scored. The shortstop is fifth in the MWL with 21 stolen bases in 29 attempts. The native of Bani, Dominican Republic is in his first full season with the Cardinals after coming over from the Cleveland Indians in a July 30, 2013 trade for Marc Rzepczynski. Prior to the season, Herrera was The Cardinal Nation's 27th-ranked prospect.

McElroy is just 21, but is in his second season with the Chiefs. Healthy in 2014, the switch-hitter has been the Chiefs leadoff man in all 51 of his starts this season. McElroy is batting .274 with four doubles, two triples and 29 runs scored. He has 12 RBI to go along with 11 stolen bases and 14 walks. The native of League City, Texas was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2011 draft.

Perry, 23, was named the May Pitcher of the Month by the St. Louis Cardinals and The Cardinal Nation. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA in 18 outings. Perry is fourth in the MWL with 60 strikeouts despite having thrown just 36 1/3 innings. His 14.86 K/9 inning ratio is the best in the MWL by more than one strikeout per nine over teammate Kevin Herget (13.00). Perry has walked just 11 batters this season and is holding MWL opponents to a .165 average. The native of Cary, NC was drafted in the 17th round in 2012 from Methodist College.

Reyes, 22, is the lone Chiefs starting pitcher to receive an All-Star selection. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 2.81 ERA in nine starts with 40 strikeouts over 51 1/3 innings. Reyes has gone at least five innings in seven starts while going in six or more four times for quality starts. He is holding MWL batters to a .226 average. Reyes was drafted in the 40th round in June 2013 from Gonzaga University.

A look back

In 2013, the Cardinals organization's first season back in Peoria, the Chiefs had six all-stars – with an asterisk. Four of the six were unavailable to participate in the game as second baseman Jacob Wilson was injured and three pitchers had been promoted to Palm Beach – Kurt Heyer, Zach Petrick and Corey Baker. In a reminder how fast players can move, both Heyer and Petrick are now with Triple-A Memphis and Baker and Wilson are with Double-A Springfield.

The other two 2013 Peoria MWL all-stars were pitcher Tyrell Jenkins and second baseman Breyvic Valera. The latter was also a 2012 all-star in the New York-Penn League and was just named as one of Palm Beach's reps in the 2014 FSL mid-summer classic.

The Chiefs had no 2013 Midwest League post-season all-stars.

Other Wednesday Cardinals news

Bosco Bounces Up

Palm Beach had been down one outfielder since Starlin Rodriguez was promoted on Tuesday. That was remedied on Wednesday when Jimmy Bosco was moved up to the A-Advanced club from Class-A Peoria.

Bosco, 23, posted a line of .237/.296/.333 line in 114 at-bats over 34 Midwest League contests. The left-handed hitter fanned 21 times against nine walks and was 4-for-5 in stolen base attempts.

As noted above, Bosco's Chiefs outfield mates C.J. McElroy and Ronald Castillo were named MWL all-stars, yet they remain in Peoria. At first glance, the Bosco promotion seems an interesting choice given that Anthony Garcia remains on Palm Beach's disabled list, leaving Charlie Tilson as the only fly chaser with experience at the level. Other Palm Beach outfielders are Luis Perez and Jhohan Acevedo, both having recently been promoted from extended spring training camp.

All things considered, this should remain an open question until we see how the Cardinals draft later this week.

The Chiefs had also been down one player since first baseman Justin Ringo went on the disabled list last weekend. That and the replacement for Bosco have been named in a pair of infielders – Ronnierd Garcia and Robelys Reyes.

With first baseman Justin Ringo on the shelf, having Garcia, who can play both corners, will help. Same with Reyes, who can cover second if Mason Katz continues to see time at first.

Garcia Receives Another Full-Season Opportunity

Earlier, new Chief Garcia spent less than two weeks as an injury fill-in with Palm Beach – from May 5 to 17. In four plate appearances over two Florida State League games, the right-handed hitter went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk.

The 21-year-old corner infielder played at Johnson City last season, his fourth year in the organization. There, the Venezuelan batted .286 and was one of the offensive leaders of his club. Garcia tied for second in the Appalachian League in RBI and doubles, was second in doubles, tied for fourth in extra-base hits and was fifth in total bases.

Reyes Bears Watching

It seems like a long time ago since Reyes was the Dominican Summer League batting champion. In fact, it was – back in 2011, his second year in the circuit. Since then, the soon-to-be 24-year-old has struggled to receive approval to play in the US. That was finally granted late last summer – just enough time for a brief stint with Johnson City and time in instructional league last fall.

Given his age, it is time for the progress of the switch-hitting second baseman to accelerate if he is ever going to have a chance of making the majors. In fact for that very reason, back in March, I had predicted Reyes would make the Chiefs out of spring camp.

He how has his opportunity.

More to Come?

Check back here later in the day Wednesday for additional system-wide news from The Cardinal Nation, your most comprehensive source for information about the St Louis Cardinals organization.



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

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