I have decided to forgo the classic 20-80 scouting scale for these reports and make more general observations about the players for two reasons, 1) many of these players are in their first year of professional baseball, which can be a difficult adjustment for some, and 2) because these players are so young, and inexperienced professionally, a lot can change from one year to the next.
The final post in the “Scouting the Spikes” series will focus on players who were missed in previous posts because they were no longer on the roster, or had not played the qualifying number of games. Specifically, this post will include all previously unmentioned pitchers who appeared in two or more games and any previously unmentioned position player who appeared in more than five games.
** Stat summaries from MiLB.com and Baseball Reference.
|Barkley, Jeff||R||6-5||210||7/7/90||Charlotte, IL||NDFA, 4/4/14|
|Gerdel, Anderson||R||6-3||190||3/22/93||Charallave, VZ||Int. FA 11/1/09|
|McKinney, Ian||L||5-11||185||11/18/94||Orlando, FL||5th Round 2013|
|Perdomo, Luis||R||6-2||159||5/9/93||San Cristobal, DR||Int. FA 11/28/10|
|Ehrlich, Adam||C||L/R||6-1||205||12 13 92||Studio City, CA||6th Round, 2011|
|Peoples-Walls, Kenny||LF||R/R||6-1||180||8 16 93||Los Angeles, CA||4th Round, 2011|
|Pina, Leobaldo||SS||R/R||6-2||160||6 29 94||Turmero, Venezuela||Int. FA 9/16/10|
|Sohn, Andrew||SS||R/R||5-11||185||5 8 93||Bloomfield Hills, MI||6th Round, 2014|
|Wick, Rowan||RF||L/R||6-3||220||11 9 92||North Vancouver, BC||9th Round, 2012|
|Wiley, Brett||2B||R/R||5-10||175||11 24 91||Huntington, IN||13th Round, 2012|
Jeff Barkley was signed by the Cardinals in February of 2014 after graduating from Pfieffer University in 2013. Barkley struggled in State College and performed even worse in Johnson City this year. Barkley has good size at 6-foot-5, 210 lbs, but just doesn’t seem to have the arsenal to consistently get professional hitters out.
I would be surprised if Barkley isn’t let go this offseason, as the 24-year old struggled throughout the 2014 campaign.
Anderson Gerdel gave up a home run to the first batter in State College this season, foreshadowing the struggles he had in the New York-Penn League this year. Although the 21-year old did not have the best of years in State College, he posted excellent numbers in Johnson City, and is poised for a full-time spot in the State College bullpen in 2015.
Gerdel can be a feast or famine pitcher, but learning how miss barrels and work down in the zone will be key for the young Venezuelan who has built a solid foundation in his five years in the St. Louis organization.
Ian McKinney, much like Gerdel, struggled in very limited action in State College this year, but is a promising young arm with a bright future. McKinney dominated Appalachian League batters, and posted an impressive 0.95 WHIP in Johnson City.
Although the 2013 5th round pick was less than stellar in his two starts with the Spikes this season and missed time due to injury, I would not be surprised to see him make the jump to Peoria to start the 2015 campaign. I would also not be surprised to see him put up good enough numbers to keep him there, even after the short-season leagues begin play in June.
Luis Perdomo had a season typical to the year he had in Johnson City in 2013, posting an ERA of 5.05 in 11 starts in Peoria this summer. Perdomo pitched well in the two appearances he made in State College in 2014, but could be coming up on a make or break year in 2015.
The 21-year old Dominican righty is still young, but needs to show that he can be the pitcher he was in State College, at higher levels.
Adam Ehrlich was a 6th Round selection out of Campbell Hall High School in Los Angeles in 2011, but with each passing season that pick looks more and more like a miss. While Ehrlich is a solid defensive catcher, he does not bring much to the table offensively. Ehrlich served as an organizational player this season, rotation between Palm Beach, State College and Johnson City throughout the season.
The 21-year old catcher may hang around the organization for a few more seasons, but I don’t expect him to be anything more than an organizational catcher.
Kenny Peoples-Walls opened the season with an incredible April, batting .309 through 21 games in the opening month of the season, but his monthly average fell to .219 in May, .205 in June and .156 in July before he was sent down to State College. With the Spikes, Peoples-Walls didn’t fare much better.
The converted shortstop looked uncomfortable in the outfield, and never showed the athleticism or offensive ability that made him a 4th round selection back in 2011. Peoples-Walls is an interesting study. He is a player who looks like he once had the tools, but either lost them, or has no clue what to do with the ones he has found. At many times he looked disinterested in State College, even though he joined a squad that was in the thick of a pennant race and ultimately won the NYPL Championship.
It is strange to have a 21-year old as a minor league reclamation project, but for a young, athletic player who hit .300 in Johnson City just a season ago, that appears to be exactly what the Cardinals have on their hands in Peoples-Walls. Hopefully he can figure things out this offseason and return to his 2013 form in 2015.
Leobaldo Pina played just 12 games in 2014 before injuring his ankle and missing the remainder of the season. Pina is solid defensively and is a legitimate threat on the bases when healthy. But, Pina struggled at the plate in the 12 games he did play, but the Venezuelan shortstop is just 20 years old, and is likely to return to form after his ankle is fully healed.
Andrew Sohn was picked by the Cardinals in the 6th round on this year’s draft out of Western Michigan and looked great in his limited time with the Spikes. Sohn’s season was cut short due to an injury to his throwing arm, but in the 11 games he played, Sohn looked poised to take over the primary shortstop duties in State College, and maybe force his way into lineup as a DH when not playing shortstop. Sohn batted .324 and looked comfortable defensively, making just one error in his 47 chances.
The 21-year old is definitely someone to keep an eye on in 2015.
Rowan Wick dominated NYPL pitching in State College, hitting .378 in 35 games and blasting 14 home runs, but it was a different story in Peoria for the Canadian outfielder.
Wick’s raw power is obvious, but his biggest issue is plate discipline. The 21-year old outfielder struggles with pitch recognition, and will consistently chase breaking balls in the dirt. During Wick’s torrid streak in State College he showed great plate discipline, and waited for his pitch, but toward the end of his time with the Spikes, he started getting more anxious in the box and his walk rate dropped and strikeout rate subsequently rose.
Because of the raw power, Wick still has a high ceiling, in my opinion. But he needs to improve his pitch-recognition and let at-bats come to him, rather than swinging at a pitcher’s pitch. Despite his struggles in Peoria, I will be paying close attention to Wick in 2015.
After sitting out the first 50 games because of a suspension for a banned substance, Brett Wiley was determined to make the most of limited 2014 campaign. The 22-year old infielder hit .301 in 19 regular season games with the Spikes and was a key piece of the Spikes’ lineup down the stretch. Wiley had a solid 2013 in State College, batting .337 last year, and picked up where he left off when he rejoined the Spikes this season.
The Huntington, Indiana native has hit over .300 in each of his three professional seasons and looks poised to start 2015 in Peoria, and maybe even make his way to Palm Beach at some point next season. Regardless of where Wiley begins 2015, I expect to see the same consistent player that I’ve seen in State College the past two summers.
Follow Robert Davidson on Twitter @robo_tweets.
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