Luke Voit (Memphis Redbirds)

Insider news from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate in Memphis for the period of April 28-May 4.

The Memphis Redbirds have won seven straight games behind a combination of solid hitting and pitching. At 17-11, Memphis has retaken the division lead by three games. Luke Voit was named the Cardinals minor league Player of the Month.

The Memphis Redbirds started the week by winning the final three games against Round Rock (TEX) in a five game series. They then traveled to Omaha to take on the Storm Chasers (KC), where they took four straight, with the fifth to be played Friday.

Coming into the hot streak, Memphis had dropped three straight games to fall to 10-11, but the surge has taken them up to 17-11. In four of the seven games, the Redbirds scored more than six runs. And in the other three wins, Memphis pitching held its opponents to just one run in each game.

After falling to a tie for fourth in homers in week three, the Redbirds have retaken their lead in the PCL with 34 long balls. But they have relinquished the lead in doubles. Memphis has 61 and Reno has 63.

During the week, the Memphis bats raised their team season average from .242 to .266, but it still ranks just 11th in the 16-team league. The Redbirds have also improved their on base percentage from 14th in the league to fourth. They are eighth in runs scored.

During the seven-game winning streak, hitting or pitching carried the team during different games. The pitching staff held opponents to one run in four games, and the lineup scored 29 runs in the other three.  The team ERA of 4.35 is eighth in the PCL.


April 28: Memphis 9, Round Rock 1

Todd Cunningham, Luke Voit and Paul DeJong all had three hits, but Voit led the way with two home runs and three RBI. Cunningham plated four, with two on his second inning double.

Daniel Poncedeleon had another solid performance, going six innings and only allowing a run. The right-hander did not have his best stuff, but he found a way to get the big outs and get out of innings.

April 29: Memphis 3, Round Rock 1 (5 innings)

The Redbirds took advantage of two errors and a balk in the bottom of the third inning to score three of their runs. The game was called after five innings due to weather.

It was a pitcher’s duel for the most part, with only three hits in total. Patrick Wisdom had the Redbirds only hit and RBI. Arturo Reyes threw all five innings only giving up one hit on a homer. He also struck out seven on the short night.

April 30: Memphis 11, Round Rock 7

Chris Ellis’ struggles continued as the right-hander allowed four earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, but escaped with the win because of the offensive production.

Six Memphis batters had multiple hits, and four drove in more than one. Paul DeJong had a two homer game with Patrick Wisdom and Harrison Bader each adding a long ball.

John Brebbia, Ryan Sherriff and Josh Lucas combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, but Kevin Herget pitched one and allowed three earned runs.

May 1: Memphis 4, Round Rock 1

Patrick Wisdom and Paul DeJong each hit solo homers in Memphis’ fourth straight win. Breyvic Valera had three hits and an RBI.

Mike Mayers went six scoreless innings and on only two hits. Ryan Sherriff was credited for an earned run in the ninth because of a walk, but Sam Tuivailala allowed an RBI double before closing out the win.

May 2: Memphis 2 at Omaha 1

The St. Louis Cardinals No. 3 prospect made his second start of the season, after coming off the DL following back stiffness. Luke Weaver threw six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just three hits and striking out five.

The Redbirds pitching staff did not allow an earned run, but an error by Patrick Wisdom enabled an Omaha score in the bottom of the ninth.

Luke Voit put his sixth home run in the seats, the most in the Cardinals system, and Paul DeJong added a hit and RBI to his productive week.

May 3: Memphis 6 at Omaha 4 (10 innings)

Tommy Pham knocked in two runs in the top of the 10th to push Memphis to the win.

Josh Zeid started well, but gave up the lead on three runs in the sixth inning. John Brebbia took over and pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts before Rowan Wick earned the save.

Pham had two hits, both for doubles, and two RBI. Four more Redbirds contributed one run driven in each, including Patrick Wisdom’s solo homer.

May 4: Memphis 12 at Omaha 9 (10 innings)

The Redbirds extended their winning streak to seven with a second straight 10th inning win. Memphis was up by 9-3 going into the eighth, but Zach Phillips gave up four runs and Josh Lucas gave up two.

Daniel Poncedeleon made another quality start, but it was his first game allowing more than a run, this time yielding three. Ryan Sherriff picked up his second save of the season and Lucas was credited for the win despite giving up two runs in the ninth.

Todd Cunningham, Chad Huffman and Carson Kelly had three-hit games. Cunningham and Huffman had an RBI each, but Kelly had three, two on his homer.

Cunningham singled and Rangel Ravelo and Patrick Wisdom hit sacrifice flies to give Memphis three runs in the 10th for the win.

Who’s hot

Luke Voit — The first baseman had another stellar week while being named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month, as recognized by the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation. Voit had two three-hit games, five homers and 16 RBI on his way to the April honor.

Voit tied Tommy Pham at first on the Memphis team with 19 RBI after he knocked in six during the week. He also leads the team in hits, homers, total bases, average and on base percentage.

Paul DeJong — The shortstop and Cardinals’ No. 11 prospect comes of the not list and joins the hot. After his average fell to .275 last week, he brought it back up to .300 with eight hits in the six games he played.

DeJong upped his OBP from .296 to .326 during the week and duplicated Voit’s week with three long balls and six RBI.

Breyvic Valera — The 25-year-old second baseman picked up his season batting average from .230 to .289 in just one week. Valera did so with four multi-hit games that also helped lift his OBP from .299 to .344.

Valera still has not shown much power with just four extra base hits on the season and no homers.

Chad Huffman — In five games, Huffman had multiple hits in three and had a four walk night to boost his batting average 31 points and OBP 49 points. He scored four runs and drove in two to add to his solid week at the plate.

Patrick Wisdom — The third baseman played all seven games this week and hit three home runs, a double and a triple. While Wisdom was collecting five extra base hits, he knocked in seven runs and scored five.

Wisdom raised his average from .247 to .278 and his slugging percentage from .411 to .526. His strikeout struggles still continue with 5 K in his last two games. He now has 30 on the year, which is just four off the PCL lead.

Luke Weaver — In his first start back from lower back stiffness, the Cardinals No. 3 prospect threw six scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out five with no walks.

Mike Mayers — He picked up his second win of the season by going six innings and not allowing a run. The righty stuck out three and gave up just two hits in the outing but walked four batters.

This was Mayers’ first outing of the season without giving up a homer. He gave up six combined home runs in his first four starts.

Who’s not

Tommy Pham — The outfielder’s average fell 27 points to .283 in his second straight disappointing week. Pham was batting .340 two weeks ago, but he has not been able to put together much since.

During the week, Pham still found ways to be productive and help the team in their seven game winning streak. He walked five times, scored two runs and drove in three.

Josh Zeid — In his lone outing of the week, Zeid allowed four runs in six innings but escaped with a no decision. The veteran right-hander allowed two homers and walked three batters.

Zach Phillips — The reliever made two appearances in the week but did not record an out in his first. Phillips allowed a hit and an unearned run in the first game. In the second game, he was charged with four earned runs on four hits.

Kevin Herget — Herget gave up a combined four earned runs in three innings this week. He went one inning and gave up three in his first appearance and gave up one in two innings during his second. Before the week was out, the right-hander was returned to Springfield.

The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects

#2 Luke Weaver — see “Who’s hot” above.

#4 Carson Kelly — The catcher had a two homer week with four RBI and three runs. Kelly had six hits in five games, but struck out in each game and seven times in the week.

#6 Harrison Bader — The highly-ranked outfielder had three two-hit games but two no hit games and a 1-for-4 kept him from raising his .273 average much. He scored four runs during the week with two RBI and a home run.

#13 Paul DeJong — see “Who’s hot” above.

#27 Marco Gonzales — The left-hander should be ready to be activated from his extended spring training rehab shortly after Weaver, giving the Redbirds an additional starter.

#32 Daniel Poncedeleon — All the newest Memphis starter did was provide two more quality starts. Poncedeleon pitched six innings each game and struck out a combined seven batters. He allowed one run in the first game and three in the second. The right-hander did not have his best stuff in either game, but he found ways to get outs.

#34 Mike Mayers — see “Who’s hot” above.  

#37 Sam Tuivailala — After being called up for a double header with the Cardinals, the reliever returned to Memphis again and kept his perfect ERA intact. He had two appearances for an inning each before being called back up to St. Louis.

#38 Rowan Wick — Wick duplicated Tuivailala’s results by pitched an inning in two games without giving up a run. He struck out one, walked one and allowed one hit.

#44 Luke Voit — see “Who’s hot” above.

#45 Breyvic Valera — see “Who’s hot” above.


The seven game winning streak put Memphis (17-11) at the top of the American Southern Division by three games. The New Orleans Baby Cakes at 10-17 are in last and 6.5 games out of first. They follow Round Rock Express (TEX) at 12-16 and The Nashville Sounds (OAK) at 12-12.

Team Transactions

4/28 — RHP Sam Tuivailala was assigned to Memphis from St. Louis.

4/28 — The Cardinals promoted first baseman Rangel Ravelo to Memphis. The free agent signee had been playing in extended spring training.

4/28 – OF Anthony Garcia was sent down to Double-A Springfield.

5/2 – Tuivailala was called up to St. Louis to replace injured Tyler Lyons.

5/2 – RHS Luke Weaver was activated from the seven-day disabled list.

5/2 – RHR Kevin Herget was returned to Springfield.

What’s next

The Redbirds will finish the four game series with Omaha Friday then travel to Iowa for a four game series with the Iowa Cubs (CHC). Then Memphis will have on off-day on Wednesday before starting an eight game home stand against The El Paso Chihuahuas (SD) and the Albuquerque Isotopes (COL).

Follow Jon Morgan Bell on Twitter @NotTheLawyer.

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