Cards Pitching Prospect Mo: Spring Week 2

Which pitching prospects performed in St. Louis Cardinals major league spring training camp last week?

While our popular St. Louis Cardinals Monthly Prospect Rankings will be back for 2015, its first edition will not come out until real baseball begins – in April. In the meantime, I will continue with a weekly look at how the members of The Cardinal Nation’s 2015 top 40 prospect list and other minor leaguers are doing in Major League camp.

Before camp opened, I went on record with my predictions of which players I thought would make the Major League roster out of spring training. I did the same for all four of the full-season minor league clubs. Click here to be taken to the Peoria article, as links to the other four team’s articles are included at the end.

I am using those predictions in the tables below, but we should all understand that the roster targets are constantly moving throughout camp based on injuries and performance as the Cardinals figure out who best fits where.

Of course, the usual small sample size warnings are relevant. Think of this as a hot-lukewarm-cold look from a seven-day period that could and likely will change substantially from one week to next.

Overall

The Cardinals had a strong 4-2-1 week, improving on their 3-3 start. Five of the seven games were held at familiar Roger Dean Stadium.

St. Louis’ staff continues to lead the way. The pitchers lowered their cumulative ERA to 3.32, fifth in the National League. Their opponent batting average of .225 is second lowest.

The team batting average has improved substantially to .271, also fifth-best in the NL, but the power questions continue. The Cardinals’ slugging of .381 is 11th of 15.

The players

The Cardinals opened big-league camp with 57 players invited, with 39 on the 40-man roster and 18 non-roster invitees. They are all vying for one of the 25-man roster spots to open the season.

In two cuts during the week, nine players were sent to minor league camp. Of the 48 remaining 36 are from the 40-man roster and 12 are NRIs.

11 of the 48 are members of The Cardinal Nation top 40 for 2015 – four pitchers and seven position players. Another 11 minor leaguers in total are in Major League camp, either as members of the 40-man or as non-roster invitees, but did not place among our top 40.

This group of 22 is those about whom I will be reporting below. Of course, the list of 22 we are now tracking here – nine pitchers and 13 position players - will further decline in count each week as camp continues and cuts are made.

I rank each player based on his momentum this past week – high/medium/low. I want to be clear that is NOT how I assess their chances of making the team – see the column I call “Prediction” for where I thought as camp opened that the player will start in April. Players will remain “medium” unless I see as a clear reason to shift them.

Innings pitched (IP) and earned run average (ERA) are for first 13 games of the spring, coming into play on Thursday, March 19.

The roster

The nine cuts this past week are as follows. All except pitcher Tyler Lyons are considered prospects.

The others are pitchers Mike Mayers and John Gast, catchers Carson Kelly, Steve Bean, Michael Ohlman and Alberto Rosario, plus infielders Greg Garcia and Breyvic Valera.

The results

Pitchers (11) Top  Ros Prediction IP ERA Mo  
Majors camp 40         Last wk This wk
Gonzales 1 40m Memphis 10.2 0.84 High High
Tuivailala 8 40m Memphis 3.0 3.00 High Medium
               
Cooney 7 NRI Memphis 8.0 1.13 High High
Petrick 29 NRI Memphis 7.1 4.91 High Low
               
Greenwood NR 40m Memphis 3.0 9.00 Low Medium
               
Harris NR NRI Memphis 4.0 0.00 High High
Hatley NR NRI Memphis 2.2 0.00 Medium High
Kiekhefer NR NRI Memphis 2.1 3.86 High Medium
Socolovich NR NRI Memphis 3.2 0.00 High Medium
               
Dropped off T40  Ros Prediction IP ERA Mo  
this week (2)           Last wk This wk
Mayers 25 NRI Memphis 4.1 4.15 Medium  
               
Gast NR NRI Memphis 1.2 21.60 Low  

This week, my scoring toughened. I gave two of the three top 40 prospect pitchers a high mark, with one receiving a medium score and the other a low.

Marco Gonzales gave up his first run Tuesday, but has been very strong through three starts. Sam Tuivailala also yielded his first tally this week, in two innings, but overall, he has been just fine. The only surprise perhaps is no strikeouts in three frames.

The folly of small amounts of data nailed Zach Petrick. Four clean innings the first week were followed by four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings this period. The fourth top 40 prospect, Tim Cooney, remains hot. The lefty tossed four scoreless frames this past week.

Reliever Mitch Harris has an odd line in that all four of his baserunners allowed have been via the walk. No runners home, however. So far in 2 2/3 innings, newcomer Marcus Hatley has allowed just one baserunner.

Another new Cardinal, Miguel Socolovich, is still carrying a 0.00 ERA, but is playing with fire, having allowed seven baserunners in 3 2/3 innings. From the left side, Nick Greenwood had a better week than last while Dean Kiekhefer yielded a run in 1 1/3 innings.

The only STEP camp pitcher to appear in game action to date is Alex Reyes, who logged a 1-2-3 inning against the Orioles last Thursday and looked good doing it.

Game highlights

Wednesday, 3/11 at Braves: In his four scoreless innings, Gonzales was fantastic, giving up a hit and a walk. He fanned three. Hatley and Harris logged back to back scoreless innings. Tuivailala had a rough day, charged with a run on three runners in one frame. An unearned run crossed home during Socolovich’s 2/3 of an inning. He was bailed out by Kiekhefer, who secured the game’s final out.

Thursday, 3/12 vs. Baltimore: Meyers yielded a run on two hits in 1 1/3.

Friday, 3/13 at Miami: Starter Petrick was touched for a run in the first and three more in the second. Cooney allowed a lone baserunner against two strikeouts in two innings.

Saturday, 3/14 vs. Minnesota: After Greenwood tossed a perfect fourth, the game got away with five crossing against Lyons in his two innings. Harris issued a free pass in the seventh.

Sunday, 3/15 at Minnesota: Tuivailala pitched a clean inning. Socolovich ran into trouble in the ninth after allowing two hits, but escaped with no runs across.

Monday, 3/16 vs. Detroit: Hatley fanned a batter in his one inning and Cooney yielded a lone hit in two frames. The lefty fanned two.

Tuesday, 3/17 at Miami: Gonzales allowed his first run of the spring, the only minor blemish on a strong 4 2/3 inning outing. Petrick bounced back by retiring all four batters faced. Harris did his usual thing – one harmless walk in an inning.

Link to Cardinals full spring training pitching stats

What is next

Look for the companion article to this one, covering the Cardinals prospect hitters during week two of the 2015 Major League spring training camp.



To see the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and non-roster spring training invitees, STEP campers and more, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

Join the prospect discussion with other Cardinals fans here



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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