Junior Fernandez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Florida State League affiliate in Palm Beach for the period of April 19-25.

The Palm Beach Cardinals went 2-3 on the week but are only a half-game out of first place. The pitching was either very bad or very good, with nothing in between. Junior Fernandez is the Florida State League’s Pitcher of the Week.

Game summaries

April 19th - Palm Beach Cardinals 7, Tampa Yankees 0

Junior Fernandez was magnificent against Yankees, picking up his first victory of the season. The 20-year old right hander pitched a gem, carrying a perfect game into the seventh and throwing eight shutout innings. Fernandez was aided by good run support. Darren Seferina led the Cardinals attack, going 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. Randy Arozarena was also 3-for-4 on the night with two runs scored.

April 20th - Palm Beach Cardinals 3, Tampa Yankees 2

The Cardinals moved to three games over .500, matching their season-best mark. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Arozarena’s RBI triple scored Luke Dykstra, tying the score at one. Two batters later, Jeremy Martinez broke the tie with a sacrifice fly.  The lead was padded when Edmundo Sosa scored on a pair of Yankees errors. Landon Beck closed the door for his fourth save. Zac Gallen earned his first victory, collecting eight strikeouts through 6 2/3 innings while allowing one run on four hits.

April 21th - Charlotte Stone Crabs 10 at Palm Beach Cardinals 0

Despite eight hits, the Cardinals’ offense was shut out for the third time this season. Derian Gonzalez labored through his start, giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. The 22-year old threw 83 pitches, only 46 for strikes. Arozarena and Chris Chinea went 2-for-4.

April 22nd - Charlotte Stone Crabs 10 at Palm Beach Cardinals 6

For the second consecutive game, the Cardinals surrendered ten runs in defeat. Seven Stone Crab runs crossed the plate against starter Ryan Helsley. The right-hander was removed after only 2 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three walks through 49 pitches. On the bright side, the offense mashed their way to 14 hits, including home runs from Chinea and Casey Turgeon.

April 23rd - Charlotte Stone Crabs at Palm Beach Cardinals: POSTPONED

The series finale between the Stone Crabs and Cardinals was postponed due to inclement weather in the Jupiter area. The game will be made up as a double header in Port Charlotte on June 19th.

April 24th – off day

April 25th - Florida Fire Frogs 22, Palm Beach Cardinals 2

The Cardinals gave up 10 runs in the first inning of an absolute laugher. Starter Jake Woodford was crushed, only lasting two-thirds of an inning after allowing seven runs (three earned) on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. Every reliever gave up at least a run, four pitchers plus infielder Leobaldo Pina, who took the mound for the final two outs. In his first game back from the disabled list, Magneuris Sierra was 3-for-4 with a RBI and a walk in his return. It is the biggest loss and most runs allowed by the Cards since a 17-1 defeat to St. Lucie on May 9, 2013.

Fernandez honored

http://www.scout.com/player/192408-junior-fernandez?s=321

Junior Fernandez (11th ranked TCN prospect): Perfect through 6 1/3 innings, the right-hander was spectacular on April 19th against Tampa, pitching eight shutout innings -amazingly through just 42 pitches- collecting six strikeouts and allowing just one hit. Due to his effort, the Florida State League named him the Pitcher of the Week for the period of April 17-23.

On the season, the 20-year old has a 3.06 ERA and is holding opponents to a .197 average. After the pitching staff has allowed 42 runs over the last three games and with Fernandez scheduled to take the mound on Wednesday, the Cardinals could use a start as good as his last appearance.

Three up

http://www.scout.com/player/210771-randy-arozarena?s=321
Randy Arozarena (26th ranked TCN prospect): Arguably the hottest hitter on the team, Arozarena has gotten over his initial slump to open the season. Entering the April 19th contest against the Yankees, the outfielder was batting .105. Since then, the 22-year old from Havana, Cuba is on a five-game hitting streak, going 10-for-19 and raising his average to .246.


http://www.scout.com/player/206199-zac-gallen?s=321
Zac Gallen (16th ranked TCN prospect): With a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, Gallen has 23 strikeouts through three starts, nine more strikeouts than anyone else on the staff. He picked up his first win of the season after allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings of work against Tampa on April 20th. The right-hander from Gibbsboro, NJ leads the rotation with a 1.50 ERA.

http://www.scout.com/player/163182-casey-turgeon?s=321

Casey Turgeon: Since joining the club on April 14, the third baseman-left fielder has hits in seven of nine games, including three multi-hit outings. Turgeon’s two home runs in 33 at-bats tie him for the team lead. The left-handed hitter’s slash line is .303/.378/.485/.863.


Three down

Darren Seferina (36th ranked TCN prospect): The second baseman from Curacao is hitless in four of his last five games, dropping his average 63 points. The left-handed batter has particularly struggled with left-handed pitching, batting just .091 against them.

Steven De La Cruz: In his two appearances since being assigned last week to Palm Beach from Extended Spring Training, De La Cruz has allowed eight runs and five walks through 3 2/3 innings. Batters are hitting .294 against the right-hander, who currently holds a 19.64 ERA.

Derian Gonzalez (39th ranked TCN prospect): Gonzalez continues to struggle out of the gate this season. Through three starts, Gonzalez has allowed the most hits (20), runs (14), home runs (3) and is tied for the most walks (7) on the staff. Opponents are hitting .323 against the right-hander.


Team Stats

Allowing double-digit run totals in their last three games has added over a run to the pitching staff’s ERA. Their 3.85 mark for the season knocked the Cardinals down from fourth to eighth in the 12-team league. The offensive story is worse, as Palm Beach ranks second-to-last in the FSL in runs scored (3.4 per game) and OPS (.647).

Standings - Florida State League South – First Half

Club W L PCT GB
Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 10 9 0.526 -
Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 10 9 0.526 -
Palm Beach Cardinals (STL) 9 9 0.500 0.5
Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 9 10 0.474 1
Charlotte Stone Crabs (TB) 7 11 0.389 2.5
St. Lucie Mets (NYM) 7 12 0.368 3


Injury Updates
http://www.scout.com/player/171618-magneuris-sierra?s=321

4/25: Palm Beach activated TCN ninth-ranked prospect Magneuris Sierra from the 7-day disabled list. The center fielder and leadoff man was struck by a pitch on April 13 and sat out 11 days due to a concussion.

4/19: Palm Beach placed LHP Jacob Evans on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to April 18

 

Transactions

4/25: OF Austin Wilson assigned to State College Spikes from Palm Beach. The minor league Rule 5 pick came into 2017 with two years of high-A experience but struggled mightily in the FSL. The 25-year old had just nine singles in 49 at-bats for a slash line of .184/.245/.184/.429 before being sent to Extended Spring Training to make room for Sierra.

4/24: St. Louis Cardinals released RHP Josh Wirsu, who had been on the Palm Beach DL

4/21: RHP Dailyn Martinez assigned to Palm Beach from Peoria Chiefs

4/20: LHP Ross Vance assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Palm Beach

4/19: RHP Steven De La Cruz assigned to Palm Beach from State College Spikes

4/19: RHP Austin Sexton assigned to Palm Beach from Johnson City Cardinals

4/19: RHP Tyler Bray assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Palm Beach


Week ahead: April 26th - May 2nd

The week ahead will feature lots of home cooking. After finishing up their three-game set at Florida on Thursday, the Cardinals will begin a ten-game home stand with a weekend set “at” their fellow Roger Dean Stadium tenants, the Jupiter Hammerheads. Starting next Monday, Palm Beach will reunite with the Fire Frogs, but this time, the four-game series will be in Jupiter.

 

Follow Patrick Bernadeau on Twitter @PatBernadeau.

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