Welcome back to The Cardinal Nation’s weekly summary of St. Louis Cardinals players competing in winter leagues around the world. Here in Week 4, we start today with the offense.
The Arizona Fall League prospect showcase is in its fourth week of action with just one remaining.
The four leagues which join Cuba in the annual Caribbean Series in February are all underway – including the Dominican League (LIDOM), Mexico (LMP) and Venezuela (LVBP) and Puerto Rico League (PWL).
In Puerto Rico, three Cardinals hitters are participating – Anthony Garcia, Yariel Gonzalez and Luke Voit. Jonathan Rodriguez is among the new free agents dropped from these reports.
In the Dominican are catchers Luis Cruz and Alberto Rosario plus Peoria teammates outfielder Magneuris Sierra and second baseman Eliezer Alvarez.
The two Mexican Winter League position players still under Cardinals contracts are Cuban outfielder Randy Arozarena and Mexican native and catcher Irving Wilson.
In the AFL, the Cardinals position player contingent includes catcher Carson Kelly, shortstop Paul DeJong and outfielder Harrison Bader.
Four hitters are suiting up in Venezuela, two regulars and two part-timers. Outfielder Jose Martinez, who finished in St. Louis, and his Memphis teammate and new 40-man roster player, second sacker Breyvic Valera is also competing. Catchers Jose Godoy and Joshua Lopez are active.
Hitting stats - season
Following are hitting stats for the winter ball season through November 9, sorted by OPS.
Hitting standouts - season
In OPS, the middle is surprisingly barren. Five hitters are above the .900 OPS mark, yet only two are in the huge area between .653 and .906. The final eight are scuffling with OPS’s at .607 or below, so there is quite a gap between the winter ball hitting “haves” and the “have nots”.
Martinez and Valera in Venezuela continue to deliver the best performances with a larger number of at-bats. Obviously, Wilson is not playing much – which is not a surprise given that he is a teen in a league with many older players - but perhaps his manager should consider giving him a bit more time.
Martinez and the two AFL stars, Kelly and Bader, each have double-digit RBI totals for the winter season to date.
Some of the names below the Mendoza Line in batting average are surprising – Voit, DeJong, Sierra and Alvarez specifically. An American like Voit needs to get going soon or could find his assignment ended early. Winter ball clubs are notoriously impatient.
Following are hitting stats for the last week only, sorted by batting average.
Hitting standouts – week
Again, there is a big gulf between the hot and cold hitters.
Kelly is red-hot, not only batting .500, but plating seven runners. He was joined in the latter category by Bader and Martinez. Interestingly, five of Martinez’ seven RBI not only occurred in the same game, but they were in the same inning, setting a league record!
It is good to see that Randy Arozarena is not only continuing to hit, but that three of them were extra base hits and he went 4-for-4 in steals. I noticed from the box scores that the 21-year old has been playing in left field more recently.
While six hitters had a .318 or better average last week, just two others batted above .200 and six were mired at .200 or below. Other than his seven RBI, Bader had just four hits while batting .211.
Not only did Kelly lead the way in batting average and RBI (tied), he was also first among Cardinals prospects in walks last week with four and was second in runs scored with six. Given that strong and balanced performance, the catcher is our Winter Ball Hitter of the Week.
Look for the Week 4 Pitching Report coming on Friday.
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