This Week in the Minors - May 2, 2005

Leonda Markee's weekly snapshot of the Cardinals' minor league system.

"If this team didn't make mistakes, they wouldn't be playing here. They would be playing at a lot higher level."
- Joe Cunningham, manager, Swing of the Quad Cities

I read the above quote in Thursday's Quad-Cities Times and it reminded me of what the minors, especially the lower minors, are all about – player development. Said development may or may not lead to wins by the team. It is nice if winning coincides with player development but the former will be sacrificed for the latter if necessary.

AAA – Memphis Redbirds
> Overall Record – 12 - 10
Weekly Record – 4 - 1
Current Standing – Second, one game behind Nashville (Brewers).
Current Week Team Batting - .313/.400/.475
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 1.29 ERA in thirty-five innings pitched.
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 0.00 ERA in ten innings pitched.
Who's Hot – It's May and that means Scott Seabol is hitting. He went .474/.524/1.000 this week. The entire Redbirds pitching staff was hot this week. Just look at their weekly stats, listed above.
Who's NotBo Hart, who has lost his starting job to Hector Luna, went .182/.357/.545 this week. The .357 OBP is a bright spot. It is a great thing when you do not have a bad pitching performance the entire week. Not one.
Transactions – 4/27/05 – LHR Carmen Cali recalled to St. Louis; IN Mike Bell announced retirement; 4/28/05 – INF Hector Luna optioned from St. Louis, INF Wilton Guerrero signed, LHR Bill Pulsipher assigned from St. Louis for rehab, RHS Kevin Jarvis called up to St. Louis.
Summary - Monday saw the Redbirds waste another fine outing by Adam Wainwright, losing 2-1. The deciding run was unearned as left fielder Pete Zoccolillo could not hang onto Mark Teahan ‘s up-against-the-wall fly ball. Wainwright went fourteen and one-third innings, ten hits, four runs (three earned), twelve strike outs and two walks in two starts this week. He leads the Pacific Coast League in innings pitched at thirty-four and one-third and is tied for third in the league with a 2.10 ERA. Monday's loss, however, was the only one this week as the Redbirds are really starting to jell. Tyler Johnson earned his first save of the season on Tuesday, in support of Kevin Jarvis' excellent start. Jarvis' call up to St. Louis later in the week left Memphis short in the rotation as he was replaced on the roster by infielder Hector Luna. When combined with starter Nerio Rodriguez going on the disabled list on April 24th, the Redbirds are down two starters. Bill Pulsipher, in Memphis for his rehabilitation assignment, reportedly will pitch the first two innings of today's game in what will be a bullpen start. Gabe White made his Redbird debut and pitched two and one-third innings, giving up only one hit and striking out three. However, the pitching star of the week had to be Anthony Reyes who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning on Thursday before permitting a single to right. Up to that point Reyes had retired thirty-two consecutive batters over two games. Overall, the Memphis pitching staff is first in the Pacific Coast League with a cumulative 3.24 ERA. Offensively, John Gall joined Scott Seabol as Memphis players whose bats are getting hot. Gall went .444/.545/.444 this week. Team batting leader Chris Duncan cooled off this week by going .263/.333/.421. Several eye witness accounts have also said that Duncan's defense at first base leaves a lot to be desired and greatly needs improvement. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the Memphis Redbirds swept the Iowa Cubs this week. A real test for the Redbirds comes this week as the embark on an eight-game road trip.
Upcoming Week – at third-place Omaha Royals from 2nd through 5th; at last-place Iowa Cubs from 6th through 8th.

AA – Springfield Cardinals
Overall Record – 9 - 14
Weekly Record – 3 - 3
Current Standing – Tied with Wichita (Royals) for third, six games behind Tulsa (Rockies).
Current Week Team Batting - .239/.299/.326
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 2.15 ERA in thirty-seven and two-thirds innings pitched.
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 3.86 ERA in sixteen and one-third innings pitched.
Who's Hot – Papo Bolivar broke out of his recent slump, going .381/.435/.571 this week. Jordan Pals rebounded from his recent struggles with a 1.29 ERA this week, fourteen innings pitched, nine hits, two runs (both earned), eight strike outs and no walks over two starts. Pals retired the first eleven batters he faced on Tuesday.
Who's NotReid Gorecki got one hit the entire week, hitting .071/.133/.286. However, the sole hit was a walk-off home run in the tenth inning of last night's game. Rich Scalamandre had a rough AA debut with five hits and three earned runs in two innings pitched for a 13.50 ERA.
Transactions - 4/27/05 - C Jason Motte and LHR Shane Wallace optioned to Palm Beach, RHR Rich Scalamandre called up from Palm Beach, C Robinson Cancel signed, INF Aaron Herr signed; 4/28/05 – INF Bo Robinson released, RHR Nate Cotton optioned to Palm Beach, OF Rick Ankiel activated from DL;
Summary – Cardinals closer Josh Kinney had an excellent AA debut in 2003, going 0.68 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in thirty-nine and two-thirds innings pitched. I had high hopes for Josh in 2004 and my hopes (and probably his) were not realized as he went 5.50 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in fifty-five and two-thirds innings pitched. Now it has been learned that Josh Kinney had his right shoulder scoped before the '04 season. That may well have been a big factor in his uneven '04 performance. So far this season Kinney has appeared in eleven of twenty-three games, pitching fifteen innings, allowing eleven hits and only one earned run while striking out twelve and walking only two. His ERA stands at 0.60 with a 0.87 WHIP and a Texas League-leading six saves. On the starter front, the Cardinals land three of their starters in the league's top ten in ERA, minimum twenty-three innings pitched. Randy Leek's 1.74 ERA is sixth, Oscar Alvarez is eighth with a 2.37 ERA and Jeremy Cook's 2.55 ERA is right behind him in ninth. Alvarez won on Monday against Tulsa but had to wait out an hour-long rain delay in the second inning to do it. He went six innings and allowed only one run on three hits while retiring the last seven batters he faced. That run scored on a misplayed pop-up that Tulsa's official scorer ruled a hit. (Alvarez pitched again on Saturday, taking Buddy Blair's turn in the rotation as Blair won't pitch until today so he can rest a sore shoulder. Offensively Andy Schutzenhofer had an excellent week, batting .364/.440/.364. Shaun Boyd had a three-run pinch-hit double which was the difference in Monday's game and ended a four-game losing streak. Boyd saw his 12-game hitting streak end on Tuesday as the Springfield bullpen failed to hold a 2-1 lead, falling 5-2. Another high point to mention is that Tyler Minges leads the Texas League in batting average and slugging. A low point is that Springfield is dead last in team batting. You might be wondering when I am going to mention Rick Ankiel's AA debut at an outfielder. Well, Rick went 1-for-11 with one walk for a .091 batting average. The next time Mr. Ankiel gets mentioned in this report is when he merits a mention based on his current performance.
Upcoming Week – vs. second-place (West division) San Antonio Missions (Mariners) from 2nd through 4th; at third-place (West division) Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros) from 5th through 7th; at San Antonio on the 8th

High-A – Palm Beach Cardinals
Overall Record – 13 - 10
Weekly Record – 5 - 2
Current Standing – Tied with Vero Beach (Dodgers) for second, one-half game behind Daytona. (Cubs)
Current Week Team Batting - .262/.329/.410
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation -
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen -
Who's HotCody Haerther is sizzling, going .519/.536/.1.148 in seven games and twenty-seven at bats. Haerther has been DHing recently while his sore shoulder mends.
Who's Not – Third baseman Matt Dryer went ..160/.160/440 in six games and twenty-five at bats.
Transactions - 4/29/05 - LHR Scott Schweitzer to DL, LHR Shane Wallace announced retirement, LHP Jeff Randazzo, fourth round of 1999 draft by Twins, signed.
Summary – Back in the 1980's the New York Mets had a starter named Sid Fernandez. Sid was not a lucky pitcher. He would turn out good start after good start only to lose because he got no run support. (This is a guy who had a 3.03 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 1988 and barely had a winning record, going 12-10.) I nicknamed him "Snake-bit Sid". Why do I bring him up? Well, Stuart Pomerantz is starting to remind me of Sid. In his last two starts Pomerantz has gone eleven innings, given up nine hits, two walks and three earned runs for a 2.45 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He lost both starts. That aside, Palm Beach had a good week. The Cardinals rallied from a 5-3 deficit to win 9-5 Monday on SS Brendan Ryan's bat and Cory Doyne's arm. Ryan went 3-for-5 with a home run, two rbi's and two runs scored. Second baseman Cal Hayes also contributed with two doubles that resulted in two rbi's and a run scored. Doyne picked up the win by pitching two scoreless innings. Starter Tyler Adamczyk pitched well until tiring in the sixth when he gave up all five runs that he allowed. Chris Lambert continues his excellent work with a 1.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP this week. Chris missed qualifying for the April Players of the Month awards by one inning. His April stats of 2.70 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 4:1 K/BB ratio put him among the Cardinals minor league leaders. Lambert is currently sixth in ERA at 2.33 for the Florida State League. Cody Haerther's weekly stats were just sick, .519/.536/.1.148, raising his overall numbers to .349/.400/.574 which is good for ninth on the FSL batting average list. Teammate Brendan Ryan and his .354/.418/.524 are in eighth place. This in a league known as a "pitcher's league".
Upcoming Week – at last-place Brevard Manatees (Brewers) on the 2nd; at first-place Daytona Cubs from 3rd through 5th; vs. second-place (West division) Fort Myers Miracle (Twins) from 6th through 8th.

Low-A – Quad Cities Swing
(Reviewed thru Wednesday) Overall Record – 10 - 12
Weekly Record – 3 - 4
Current Standing – Tied with Kane County (Athletics) for fourth, seven and one-half games behind Clinton.
Current Week Team Batting - .270/.348/.430
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 6.03 ERA in thirty-seven and one-third innings pitched.
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 3.51 ERA in twenty-five and two-thirds innings pitched.
Who's Hot – Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir went .520/.538/.760 in six games and twenty-five at bats. Closer Mike Sillman keeps playing the "Score Off Me If You Can" game, this week pitching another two and one-third innings of scoreless ball. His season-to-date remains 0.00.
Who's Not – Outfielder Derry Hammond hit .179/.258/.393 in seven games and twenty-eight at bats. RHS Mike Parisi did not have a good week, racking up a 8.71 ERA and 2.13 WHIP over two starts.
Transactions – 4/26/05 – LHR Jackson Paz to DL (sore left shoulder); RHP Dennis Medina assigned from extended spring training; 4/27/05 – RHR Justin Brown transferred to extended spring training, RHR Quinton Robertson, forty-fourth round-2004 draft, assigned from extended spring training.
Summary – This week saw more roster changes for the Swing who started the week by absorbing a 12-2 shellacking at the hands of the last-place Dayton Dragons. "It wasn't a well-played game" said Swing manager Joe Cunningham. Struggling righty Justin Brown, whose ERA stood at 94.74 after pitching on Monday, was reassigned to extended spring training and two new pitchers were brought up. The Swing's bullpen took a hit when lefty Jackson Paz went on the DL. Paz has a 2.70 ERA and an excellent 6:1 K/BB ratio. Tuesday saw the Swing rally from a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5. In the bottom of the seventh OF Joe Mather, third round of 2001 draft, drove the eighth pitch of his at-bat to the base of the center field wall for a double. That scored Matt Shepard and wound up being the game-winner. Defensive lapses caused the Swing's Wednesday loss and prompted the quote at the beginning of this article. The rest of Mr. Cunningham's quote is "You learn from your mistakes. You just don't make mistakes – especially mental mistakes – more than once." The Swing bullpen's held their own this week with a 3.51 ERA and a nifty thirty-five strike outs to only three walks. (When was the last time you saw the word "nifty" in print?) Dennis Medina & Quinton Robertson both had a very productive Swing debut week. Medina went five and one-third innings, giving up only one earned run while striking out six and walking none. Robertson pitched three scoreless innings while striking out four and walking none. Lefty Eric Haberer's 2.45 ERA currently stands fourth in the Midwest League.
Upcoming Week – at first-place (Eastern division) Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) from 2nd through 5th; at first-place Clinton LumberKings (Rangers) from 6th through 8th.

The Stat Sheet
As promised last week, this week we will focus on offense. The top and bottom two players, based on batting average, on each team will be given at each level. The same will be given for Runs Created and strike outs per plate appearance. All stats given are year-to-date and the player must have 3.1 plate appearances per game to qualify.

Batting Average – The Top
First baseman Chris Duncan at .333/.365/.506/.871
Center fielder Skip Schumaker at .315/.361/.472/.833

Outfielder Tyler Minges at .397/.425/.685/1.110
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at .284/.333/.444/.778

Palm Beach
Shortstop Brendan Ryan at .354/.418/.524/.942
Outfielder Cody Haerther at .349/.400/.674/1.074

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at .321/.376/.436/.812
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at .279/.419/.412/.830
(Did you know that Hoffpauir and Shepherd were college teammates at Southern Mississippi?)

Batting Average – The Bottom
Second baseman Bo Hart at .205/..267/.333/.601
Outfielder Brandon Berger at .246/.347/.475/.823

Center fielder Reid Gorecki at .176/.265/.297/.562
Third baseman Travis Hanson at .241/.305/.356/.662

Palm Beach
Second baseman Cal Hayes at .203/.325/.297/.622
Outfielder Mike Evans at .226/.323/.417/.740

Quad Cities
First baseman Mike Ferris at .195/.264/.390/.654
Outfielder Matt Lemanczyk at .198/.301/.247/.548

Run Created – The Top
Center fielder Skip Schumaker at 16.32
First baseman Chris Duncan at 13.69

Outfielder Tyler Minges at 21.43
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at 11.52

Palm Beach
Outfielder Cody Haerther at 23.73
Shortstop Brendan Ryan at 18.42

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at 12.60
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at 11.08

Runs Created – The Bottom
Second baseman Bo Hart at 7.04
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at 9.47

Center fielder Reid Gorecki at 5.57
Shortstop Milko Jaramillo at 5.77

Palm Beach
Second baseman Cal Hayes at 4.95
First baseman John Santor at 9.16

Quad Cities
Outfielder Wes Swackhamer at 5.90
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at 7.81

Strike Outs per At Bat – The Top (also known as the "Best Battin' Eye" or the "David Eckstein")
Center fielder Skip Schumaker at 1:12.25 at bats
Outfielder Pete Zoccolillo at 1:9.00 at bats

First baseman Andy Schutzenhofer at 1:12.67 at bats
Outfielder Tyler Minges at 1:8.00 at bats

Palm Beach
Shortstop Brendan Ryan at 1:11.50 at bats
Outfielder Cody Haerther at 1:6.33 at bats

Quad Cities
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at 1:14.17 at bats
Shortstop Matt Shepherd at 1:12.43 at bats*
*Here Shepherd wins the April "Best Battin' Eye" award and in one game he loses it to teammate Hoffpauir.

Strike Outs per At Bat – The Bottom (also known as "Biggest Windmills")
Shortstop John Nelson at 1:3.42 at bats
Outfielder Brandon Berger at 1:4.24 at bats

Center fielder Reid Gorecki at 1:4.20 at bats
Outfielder Papo Bolivar at 1:4.58 at bats

Palm Beach
Third baseman Matt Dryer at 1:3.06 at bats
First baseman John Santor at 1:3.91 at bats

Quad Cities
Third baseman Jake Mullinax at 1:4.11 at bats
First baseman Mike Ferris at 1:5.06 at bats

Don't forget to check out Jason Scott's great weekly report on our minor league prospects. The latest one should arrive at any time.

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