Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s weekly summary of St. Louis Cardinals players competing in winter leagues around the world. We conclude the Week 3 pair of reports with the pitching.
The Arizona Fall League prospect showcase is in its third week of action.
The main change from last week is that the Puerto Rico League (PWL) opened play on October 27. Now, the four leagues which join Cuba in the annual Caribbean Series in February are underway – including the Dominican League (LIDOM), Mexico (LMP) and Venezuela (LVBP).
In addition, there is a minor winter league in Venezuela called Liga Paralela or Parallel League. At times, players move up to the LVBP temporarily and many times right back down.
Other winter leagues yet to open, which typically feature lower level players from those nations, include Panama (November 3) and Colombia (November 4).
New to the report this week are Kevin Herget and Robby Rowland, who finished the season as Springfield teammates. Both are now pitching in Puerto Rico, Herget for Mayaguez and Rowland with Caguas.
In addition to the one starter, Austin Gomber, the Cardinals have three relievers assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs of the AFL – Corey Littrell, Ryan Sherriff and Rowan Wick.
Palm Beach reliever Kyle Grana is working in relief for Navojoa in Mexico. Memphis starter Jeremy Hefner is the only Cardinal pitcher in the Dominican Republic.
Cardinals farmhands pitching in the LVBP include starter Kurt Heyer and relievers Pedro Echemendia, David Oca and Silfredo Garcia. Garcia had been moved up from Liga Paralela to the Venezuelan League, but only had one rough appearance. It could be that he has been returned.
Gerwuins Velazco is with Caribes of the Parallel minor league. Because I cannot get access to his stats this week, hopefully he will rejoin this report next week (if he does not depart as a free agent, that is. Hefner and Rowland are among the others in that same boat.)
Pitching stats - season
Following are pitching stats for the winter ball season through November 3, sorted by ERA.
|Herget , Kevin||Spr||MAY||PWL||2.0||0.00||1.50||0.286||4.5||4.5|
|Herget , Kevin||0||0||2||0||2||2||2||0||0||1||1|
Pitching standouts - season
Looking at ERA, WHIP and batting average against, the first four pitchers listed are off to the best start this fall/winter season.
Herget has thrown just two innings and his peripherals suggest his ERA will not remain spotless too much longer. After a so-so start, Heyer is putting together a nice campaign to date, despite one of the lowest strikeout rates listed.
Two of the Cardinals’ AFL pitchers, Gomber and Littrell, are excelling against some very challenging competition.
Obviously, the innings counts are small, but looking down the walks per nine innings column is a bit disappointing. Last week’s Pitcher of the Week, Echemendia, and Grana down in Mexico have been especially plagued by the free pass recently. Wick and Sherriff in the AFL also could improve here.
Following are pitching stats for the last week alone, sorted by ERA.
Pitching standouts – week
Six hurlers did not allow a run last week.
Gomber and Heyer each had a fine five-inning start, though an unearned run did score against the former. As the AFL weeks cut different than ours, that outing plus the one before were enough for Gomber to be selected as the AFL Pitcher of the Week.
Four relievers were also unscored upon last week, with Littrell’s line really standing out. The lefty allowed just two baserunners over 2 2/3 innings and collected five of his eight outs via strike threes.
That impressive performance, on top of an already strong overall AFL campaign (over his six outings: 1.86 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 11.2 strikeouts per nine and 1.9 walks per nine) make Corey Littrell our winter ball Pitcher of the Week.
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