Alvaro Seijas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Exclusive, in-depth weekly news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League for the period July 11-17.

A scouting report on 2015 international signee Alvaro Seijas and details of the “Wacha Plan” for three top St. Louis Cardinals draftees.

By winning three of five, the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (10-10) returned to .500 and finished the week in third place in the East Division, two games behind the first-place Nationals and 1-1/2 games behind the Mets.  

As might be expected of a .500 team, the Cardinals are in the middle of the GCL in most team offensive and pitching categories, except for two negatives: The pitching staff has the highest WHIP in the league (1.49) because they are second to the Astros in walks allowed and fifth in hits allowed, and they are tied with the Pirates and Yankees East for the most unearned runs allowed (25).


Seijas Scouting Report

Alvaro Seijas, the 17-year-old Venezuelan who was St. Louis' top signee in last summer’s international draft, made his fourth start, but his first at home, with the team on Sunday against the Nationals. In one road start each against the Marlins, Astros and Mets, Seijas was 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA. The only pitcher with two wins as a starter, Seijas had allowed 17 hits and six walks while fanning eight in 16-1/3 innings.

With a fastball that sat in the low 90s but occasionally touched 95, Seijas needed only 40 pitches to retire the first 12 batters in order. He needed 23 pitches to get through a rough fifth inning, when five of the first six batters got hits, the last of which was a long home run. But after a leadoff single in the sixth inning, Seijas settled down to retire the next three hitters. In all, he threw 75 pitches, 53 for strikes – 52 fastballs, 15 curveballs and eight cambios (changeups).  While 77 percent of his fastballs were strikes, 57 percent of his off-speed pitches were strikes, but that is rather typical because off-speed pitches are often located to get batters to chase.


Murders Starts Killing Spree

Bolivar High School graduate J.D. Murders (listed on MiLB’s system as Jonathan), the Cardinals’ 31st-round pick last month, joined the team with a bang this past week. Murders is only the third Polk County player ever selected by an MLB team - joining Mike Tennant (1975, Dodgers) and left-hander Aaron Bass (1994, Padres).

The infielder drew a walk in his first plate appearance as a pro, then stroked an RBI double in his first official at-bat in the Cardinals’ 13-3 win over the Marlins on Thursday. Murders added two more hits the next day and after three games is 4-for-13 (.308), with three of his four hits having gone for extra bases.


Lancaster Gets Rolling

Catcher Tyler Lancaster, the Cardinals’ 16th-round pick out of Spartanburg Methodist (S.C.) Junior College, had gone 0-for-17 in his first five games as a pro before getting his first hit, a single, as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning Thursday in that rout of the Marlins, then singled again in the ninth inning. Starting the next day, Lancaster had a sacrifice fly and an RBI single.


Rodriguez Cold, then Hot

Carlos Rodriguez, a 19-year-old Venezuelan first baseman, went 6-for-10 in the last three games of the week after having only had five hits in his previous 30 at-bats.


The Wacha Plan, Part II

The Cardinals’ three early-round college pitchers from last month’s draft -- Dakota Hudson (No. 34 overall), Connor Jones (No. 70) and Zac Gallen (No. 106) – are all expected to make their pro debuts this week with an inning apiece.

GCL Cardinals manager Steve Turco said Hudson will appear in the game Monday, with Jones to follow on Wednesday and Gallen on Friday. This is consistent with the “Wacha Plan,” which was developed for 2012 first-rounder Michael Wacha after the 6-foot-6 right-hander from Texarkana, Texas, who threw 113 innings that spring for Texas A&M. After a slow introduction in the GCL, Wacha was jumped to Palm Beach and finished his rookie season with Springfield.

Coincidentally, Hudson threw 113 innings for Mississippi State this spring, while Jones worked 103 innings at Virginia and Gallen tossed 90 innings for North Carolina. In addition to their game appearances, they will play catch this week and perhaps throw a bullpen session while they get acclimated and do their workouts.

Update: Hudson pitched a scoreless fifth inning Monday, striking out three. After the first strikeout, he hit a batter. Then a double error by the second baseman put runners on second and third before he struck out the next two.

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