This Week in the Minors

A weekly snapshot of the Cardinals minor league system.

There were more lows than highs this week for the Cardinals minor league teams as they went a combined eight wins and sixteen losses. Still there were bright lights to be found at every level.

AAA – Memphis Redbirds
Overall Record – 4 - 6
Weekly Record – 1 - 5
Current Standing – Fourth, one and one-half games back of Nashville
Who's Hot – LHR Tyler Johnson is unscored upon so far this season in three and one-third innings pitched. Skip Schumaker hit .423/.444/.615 for the week.
Who's Not – RHR Toby Borland's weekly ERA was 20.30 with a 3.01 WHIP. Bo Hart is hitting .130/.231/.174 this week.
Transactions – LHP Carmen Cali called up to St. Louis; RHP Jeremy Cummings assigned from extended spring training; RHP Jimmy Journell called up to St. Louis.
Summary - The highlight of Memphis' week may have come on Monday when there was a rainout and they did not play. The Redbirds won one game in six tries this week with the Memphis bats being the chief culprit in the losses. Memphis scored three or fewer runs in four of the five losses. The Redbirds' bats hit a collective .234/.286/338 for the week. While most of the bats were cold, Chris Duncan, first round-1999 draft, remains hot, batting .300/.317/.400 to this point. Another bright spot was Adam Wainwright's second start of the season which saw him pitching like the top prospect he is, going seven and one-third scoreless innings. Wainwright can thank Tyler Johnson, in part, that his outing remained scoreless as Johnson got Wainwright out of a bases-loaded, one out situation by inducing a double play ball.
Upcoming Week – Memphis finishes a four-game road series with the Oklahoma RedHawks tomorrow. Following an off day on Tuesday, they visit the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Zephyrs (Astros) for three games then welcome the Omaha Royals.

AA – Springfield Cardinals
Overall Record – 4 - 6
Weekly Record – 4 -2
Current Standing – Third, five games back of Arkansas
Who's Hot – For the second week in a row it is the Springfield rotation who went 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP this week. Offensively, OF Tyler Minges went .438/.412/.750 this week.
Who's Not – RHR Nate Cotton whose weekly ERA was 9.81 with a 1.91 WHIP in four innings pitched. Offensively, OF Papo Bolivar went cold, batting just .190/.227/.381 in twenty-one at bats. That's not good when there is a new outfielder named Ankiel that is going to take someone's roster spot on the team.
Transactions - None
Summary – Lefty Randy Leek began his career as a Springfield Cardinal with a bang. He started both the franchise opener and yesterday's game and compiled a pitching line of thirteen hits, four runs (three earned), one walk and seven strikeouts in sixteen innings. His WHIP was 0.875 and batters hit only .220 against him. Leek credited part of his success on opening day to surfing the internet for information on the opposing hitters. On Wednesday lead-off hitter Shaun Boyd, first round – 2000 draft, manufactured the game's sole run with a walk, steal, throwing error and ground out. Boyd is working on curbing his aggressive hitting tendencies by becoming more patient at the plate and it paid off as his OBP for the week was .435. Springfield's bats finally woke up on Thursday when they scored a season-high eight runs in support of lefty Buddy Blair's, tenth round – 2003 draft, excellent start. Blair pitched six innings, giving up only one run. Although the Cardinals won again on Sunday, the win may prove costly as catcher Gabe Johnson had to leave the game with a right knee injury. The injury's severity is not yet known. Johson is batting .346/.452/.385 so far.
Upcoming Week – The Springfield Cardinals began a ten-game road trip yesterday with visits to the Wichita Wranglers (Royals) and Tulsa Drillers (Rockies).

High-A – Palm Beach Cardinals
Overall Record – 5-5
Weekly Record – 2 - 4
Current Standing – Second, tied with three other teams, one-half game behind Jupiter.
Who's Hot – LHR Stephen Schweitzer did not allow a run this week in three innings pitched. SS Brendan Ryan went .474/.565/.579 for the week.
Who's Not –The Palm Beach rotation which compiled a 7.53 ERA this week. OF Terry Evans batted .176 this week.
Transactions - RHP Justin Garza to DL effective 4/9/05; RHP Cory Doyne, eighth round – 2000 Draft by Astros, called up from QC Swing; OF Brian Martin to DL; Signed OF Anthony Monegan.
Summary –. Stuart Pomeranz, second round-2003 draft, made his high-A debut on Monday and got the win. However, his peripherals were high with a 2.00 WHIP and .348 BAA. Perhaps the most interesting match-up of the week came on Wednesday when rehabbing pitcher Matt Morris faced off against rehabbing pitcher Brad Penny. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans Morris didn't impress, going five and two-thirds innings with eight hits, five runs (all earned), one walk and five strikeouts against low-A hitting. However, Morris later said that one should not read too much into his line as he was working on his breaking ball and change-up. He also noted that it was not possible to set up these hitters the same way you would big league hitters because the latter looked for specific pitches to hit while the former were just looking for the ball Righty reliever Michael Doyne, the Astros' eighth round-2000 draft pick, made a good first impression after his call-up on Monday, pitching three innings with one hit, no runs, two walks and four strikeouts. Baseball America rated SS Brendan Ryan as the Cardinals' best position player and this week he looked like it, going 9-for-19 with four walks and only two strikeouts. However, the PB Cardinals' offense took a hit at the end of the week when OF Brian Martin injured his wrist and went on the DL. Martin was batting .400/.432/.543 in nine games and thirty-five at bats.
Upcoming Week – Palm Beach starts six-game road today with three games each against the Vero Beach Dodgers and St. Lucie Mets. They return home next Sunday to begin a three-game series against the Brevard County Manatees (Brewers).

Low-A – Quad Cities Swing
Overall Record – 2 - 8
Weekly Record – 1 - 5
Current Standing – Last, tied with the Peoria Cubs, six games behind Wisconsin.
Who's Hot – RHR's Justin Knoff, thirtieth round – 2002 draft by Reds, and Mike Sillman, twenty-first round – 2004 draft, are both unscored upon so far in five and three and one-third innings pitched, respectively. The lone offensive bright spot for the Swing is SS Matt Shepherd who went .300/.348/.350 this week.
Who's Not – The Swing offense is moribund, hitting just .188/.252/.292 this week. RHS Justin Brown's woes continue as his ERA is now an astronomical 162.00, having given up twelve earned runs and seven walks in only two-thirds of an inning.
Transactions – RHP Jaymie Torres, non-drafted FA 2004 signing, assigned from extended spring training; IN/OF Joe Mather activated from disabled list; Signed OF Derry Hammond – third round 2001 draft by Brewers – from Independent League; OF Andy Brown released; OF Sam Herbert re-assigned to short season-A New Jersey; IN Jose Delgado transferred to extended spring training; IN Chris Patrick assigned from extended spring training.
Summary – As is evidenced by the above-listed transactions, steps were taken on Saturday to kick-start the Swing's offense by bringing in three new players and releasing or re-assigning three others. This paid off with the Swing's sole win of the week that very day as Hammond and Mather went a combined 5-for-9 with five RBI's. RHR Jaymes Torres made his Swing debut by going six and two-thirds innings with six hits, three runs (two earned), no walks and five strikeouts for a 2.70 ERA and 0.90 WHIP A microcosm of the Swing's offensive agony can be found in Friday's game. The entire game's offense consisted of one hit by Jarrett Hoffpauir.
Upcoming Week – Today is an off day for the Swing. Tomorrow they begin a four-game road series with the Kane County Cougars (Athletics). They start a nine-game home stand on Saturday against the Dayton Dragons (Reds).


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