Weekly notebook focuses on St. Louis Cardinals prospects in the Arizona Fall League, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia

Weekly notebook focuses on St. Louis Cardinals prospects in the Arizona Fall League, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Colombia. Reliever Heath Wyatt is off to a good start in the Dominican.

Stats are through November 24th.

Arizona Fall League

The Surprise Saguaros claimed the West Division title with a 17-11-1 record.  They faced the Scottsdale Scorpions (18-12) in a winner-take-all championship game on Saturday, November 21st and lost.

The Pitchers

Dean Kiekhefer (Memphis):  Kiekhefer’s noteworthy Arizona Fall League (AFL) performance positioned him for consideration in the 2016 St Louis bullpen as a lefty specialist.  The southpaw tossed 15 1/3 frames in nine outings, giving up five runs on 11 hits for a 2.94 ERA.  His right/left splits were pretty extreme with only one hit and one base-on-balls yielded in 6 2/3 innings versus lefties – an .050 batting average against (BAA) – while fanning 10.  No lefty scored against him.  But Kiekhefer was touched for five runs on 10 hits in 8 2/3, a 5.19 ERA and .286 BAA versus right-handed batters.  He did not issue a free pass to any of his 57 batters faced until his final appearance on November 18th, an average of 0.59 walks per nine innings pitched.  Kiekhefer was recently added to St Louis’ 40-man roster, along with fellow AFL teammates Aledmys Diaz and Charlie Tilson.  His cumulative line:  1-1, 9 G, 2 S, 2.93 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 0.78 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R/ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 1 BB, 14 SO, .200 BAA, .244 BABIP

Alex Reyes (Springfield):  Reyes garnered major attention and press, both positive and negative, in the AFL.  His pure stuff and upside had on-lookers drooling and dreaming of what might come, but his participation in the 2015 Arizona Fall League came to a screeching halt in early November after the 21-year-old tested positive for a ‘substance of abuse’, marijuana.  He received the mandated 50-game suspension for a second offense, effective immediately, and was pulled from his scheduled start for the West Division in the AFL Fall-Stars game.    Reyes continued to gain post-season recognition, being named the top AFL prospect by two prospect watchers and St. Louis’ co-minor league Pitcher of the Year by the organization.  His final numbers:  0-1, 4 G/GS, 3.60 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 1.60 WHIP, 15 IP, 14 H, 6 R/ER, 10 BB, 14 SO, .333 BAA, .333 BABIP

Robby Rowland (Springfield):  While Rowland had his moments in the Saguaros’ bullpen, he did not do much that really stood out.  The right-hander appeared in 10 games, hurling 11 1/3 innings while giving up six runs on 10 hits and four free passes.  He fanned 10.  His right/left splits show that Rowland held lefty hitters to a .188 batting average, three hits in 4 2/3 frames, versus a .280 BAA against righties, seven hits in 6 2/3 frames.  Twice he inherited runners and allowed two of four to score.  Rowland finished with a strong effort in the regular season finale on the 19th, retiring all six faced, striking out two, for his third save.  His line:  1-0, 3 SV, 3 BS, 10 G, 0 GS, 11.1 IP, 4.77 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 4 BB, 10 SO, .244 BAA, .290 BABIP

Luke Weaver (Palm Beach):  Weaver started twice in seven appearances, tossing multiple innings in five of his six relief efforts.  The Florida native compiled noteworthy stats, including holding opposing batters to a .171 batting average.  His 3.72 ERA and 4.67 FIP were impacted by home runs and hit batsmen.  Two of the three long balls he surrendered occurred on November 13th, his worst outing of the fall campaign, resulting in four of the five scores allowed in four innings.  Weaver did not give up an earned run in four outings covering 10 1/3 frames.  He was ranked 17th out of 20 in the Post-AFL Top Prospects by MLB.com.  His cumulative line:  2-1, 7 G, 2 GS, 3.72 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 0.83 WHIP, 19.1 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 HR, 2 HB, 4 BB, 18 SO, .171 BAA, .184 BABIP

The Hitters 

Aledmys Diaz (Memphis):  After a slow start through his first three weeks of the season, when he hit just .229 in 35 at bats, although he posted a .514 slugging percentage, Diaz caught fire just before the Fall Stars game on November 7th.  Over his final 38 at bats, the middle infielder went .395/.415/.711/1.125, 15-for-38 with six doubles, two home runs and two bases-on-balls.  Defensively, all five of his errors (two throwing and three fielding) occurred at short, where he played in 15 of his 20 games.  Diaz he started four times at second and once at third.  He was named one of 10 breakout prospects from the 2015 Fall League season and re-added to the 40-man roster.  Cumulative line:  .315/.370/.616/.987, 23-for-73, 8 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 17 R, 14 RBI, 7 BB, 12 SO, 2 SB, 1 CS, 5 E, .328 BABIP in 20 games, 19 starts

Michael Ohlman (Springfield):  Ohlman started 11 games – eight at catcher, two at first and was the designated hitter once.  Defensively, he was not charged with an error.    Cumulative line:  .205/.256/.410/.666, 8-for-39, 2 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 14 SO, 4 R, 7 RBI, 0 E, .250 BABIP in 11 starts

Charlie Tilson (Springfield):  The outfielder started 15 games – 10 in center and the balance in left – handling it all without a miscue.  But he struggled at the plate with only 12 hits in 59 at bats.  St Louis added Tilson to its 40-man roster on the 19th, thus protecting him from the forthcoming Rule 5 Draft.  His final stats:  .203/.309/.254/.563, 12-for-59, 3 2B, 9 BB, 13 SO, 14 R, 6 RBI, 4 SB, 0 CS, 0 E, .261 BABIP in 15 starts 

Patrick Wisdom (Springfield):  Wisdom failed to get on track offensively in 24 games, 23 starts, although he did drive in 21. Perhaps this unevenness played a part in his omission from the Cardinals’ 40-man additions on November 19th.  Defensively, he spent the vast majority of his time manning the hot corner, where all three of his errors occurred (two fielding and one throwing) although he did start at first base three times.  Wisdom was named to the AFL Fall Stars squad where he went 0-for-3 as a reserve.  Cumulative line:  .237/.268/.452/.720, 22-for-93, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 4 BB, 17 SO, 15 R, 21 RBI, 3 SB, 1 CS, 3 E, .250 BABIP in 24 games, 23 starts

Dominican (Winter) League

Six-team league

Season runs from October 15th through December 21st 

Aguilas Cibaenas - 

Robelys Reyes (Palm Beach):  Reyes pinch ran on the 18th and did not otherwise get into a contest this week.  His cumulative line:  .143/.143/.143/.286, 2-for-14, 2 SO, 1 R, 2 CS, .167 BABIP in 13 games

Leones del Escogido –

Heath Wyatt (Memphis):  Wyatt relieved three times, striking out three and walking two in 2 1/3.  The righty stranded an inherited runner at second, recording the final out of the frame in one appearance.  Overall, he has yet to allow an earned run in 12 innings over 14 games.  His cumulative numbers:  1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 BB, 8 SO, .186 BAA, .229 BABIP, 7 IR/3 IRS in five chances

Mexican Pacific League

The eight-team Mexican League got underway October 9th and the regular season concludes December 29th.

Naranjeros de Hermosillo –

Ronnie Shaban (Springfield):  Shaban is currently listed as a reserve on Hermosillo’s roster, having not pitched since October 25th.  He has compiled a dismal record with one blown save in one game, a loss in another and three of four inherited runners crossing and has given up seven hits and three base-on-balls in 5 2/3 frames over six appearances for a 1.76 WHIP and .304 BAA, .389 BABIP.  Shaban has been charged with only two runs, giving him a misleading 3.17 ERA and 3.02 FIP.  Three of four inherited runners have scored.

Tomateros de Culiacan –

Irving Wilson (DSL):  Wilson caught one game and pinch hit in another, singling once in five at bats with two strikeouts, one as a pinch hitter.  Overall, he is 3-for-19 with two walks, two runs scored, one knocked in and seven K’s in 11 games. 

Premier 12

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12 is comprised of 12 countries and regions.  Their inaugural world baseball championship tournament, to be held every four years, got underway in Taiwan, on November 10th and finished on the 21st with Korea crowned the winner. 

Team Italy -

Trey Nielsen (Palm Beach):  Nielsen relieved twice did not do very well either time.  On the 10th, Nielsen began the fifth inning with Italy down 1-0 and basically put the game out of reach, considering how the offense was hitting.  The right-hander fanned his first batter swinging but yielded a base-on-balls, single and two-run triple.  A coaching visit to the mound resulted in a run-scoring wild pitch before the reliever notched another K and a 6-3 groundout.  He took the loss on Saturday the 14th, giving up a run on three hits and two free passes in two frames.  Cumulative line:  0-1, 12.00 ERA, 2.67 WHIP, 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R/ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, .357 BAA, .500 BABIP, 1 IR/0 IRS

Colombian League

The five-team Colombian League’s season commenced on November 13th and finishes on January 6, 2016.  Right-hander Jonathan Escudero pitches for Caimanes while southpaw Dewin Perez is part of Cartegena’s staff.

Caimanes de Barranquilla –

Jonathan Escudero (Johnson City):  Escudero has pitched eight frames, allowing one run, earned, on five hits and a free pass for a 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and .179 BAA, .219 BABIP.  The 22-year-old has struck out six of the 30 batters he has faced.

Tigres de Cartegena –

Dewin Perez (Peoria):  Like Escudero, Perez has thrown eight innings but with very different results.  The 21-year-old has been touched for eight hits, including one long ball, while issuing six free passes, resulting in six runs allowed, all earned.  That works out to a 6.75 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and .250 BAA, .292 BABIP.  Perez has fanned seven of his 39 batters faced.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cards Winter League Notebook 10: VL/VPL/PR/NIC

Coming at The Cardinal Nation: More interviews with St. Louis Cardinals prospects playing in the AFL.


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