The St. Louis Cardinals picked up catcher Michael Ohlman off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles in early February, a condition of which was that the 24-year-old would assume a spot on the organization’s 40-man roster.
The move was early enough to give Ohlman time to spend the entire spring training with his new organization. He ended up receiving the bulk of the workload behind the plate for Double-A Springfield this season. In the process, the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder honed his receiving skills under two coaches with Major League experience behind the plate in manager Dann Bilardello and hitting coach Erik Pappas.
The work paid off as the Texas League recognized Ohlman as both a mid-season and post-season All-Star. In his second year of experience at the Double-A level, the right-handed hitter improved his offensive results across the board. His 12 home runs led Texas League catchers and his total of 69 RBI was third in the entire Cardinals system.
In his second consecutive season in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, Ohlman caught, played some first base, appeared as a designated hitter, and often on days he was not in the lineup, he was asked to coach first base for the Surprise Saguaros.
Half of Ohlman’s AFL hits went for extra bases, but he went just 8 for 39 overall. His final line was .205/.256/.410/.666. He doubled twice, went deep twice, drove in four, walked three times and scored seven runs.
From the AFL, Ohlman recapped his first season in the Cardinals organization.
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