This Week in the Minors – May 27 - Part Two

One of our most popular features with the St. Louis Cardinals organization's minor leaguers' stats and news from the week past. This report focuses on the Palm Beach Cardinals and Swing of the Quad Cites (A).

This Week in the Minors – Part Two

May 27, 2006

With the individual success of certain pitchers has come the clamoring of some fans for their promotions. Stuart Pomeranz (Springfield), Blake Hawksworth (Palm Beach) and Jaime Garcia (Quad Cities) have all performed quite well. (As an aside, at the end of the 2005 season, it was pointed out in this report that Pomeranz' overall AA numbers masked a promising last month to the season. If you were reading the report at that time, then Pomeranz' 2006 start should not come as a big surprise.) Going strictly by statistics, each has pitched well enough to merit a promotion.

However, promotions are never earned strictly on statistics and sometimes are earned despite the statistics. Other factors come into play when decisions on player movement are made. Pomeranz, for example, is the ace of a first-place team trying to earn a post-season qualification by winning their first-half division title. He is very unlikely to be moved until that goal is either accomplished or lost.

Having pitched just 25 innings over the past two seasons due to injuries, Blake Hawksworth needs innings and experience. Both could come at either Palm Beach or Springfield. However, with Pomeranz unlikely to advance in the near future, Hawksworth's promotion right now would come only with another pitcher's demotion to another level or re-assignment to the bullpen. The most likely two candidates are Chris Lambert and Jordan Pals. As a first round selection, Lambert will be given plenty of time to work out his performance problems and has shown recent signs of doing just that. Pals may be on the bubble but has shown himself to be a workhorse and the Cardinals would likely prefer that he improve enough to merit a promotion to Memphis. However, that is speculation. The Cardinals traditionally like to start moving a few players around Memorial Day so Hawksworth may get the call upwards.

Jaime Garcia is an exciting young left-handed starter with good peripherals. The caution here is that 2006 is his first season in professional ball and he does not turn 20 until July. Hence, like Hawksworth, he needs innings and experience. If Garcia is promoted which Palm Beach starter's slot does he take? Clearly, the ideal situation is that Garcia be promoted into a vacant slot due to the promotion of another Palm Beach starter, such as Hawksworth. Otherwise, which pitcher does he bump?

The ‘McCormick factor' comes into play here as well. It is well known that the only area preventing Mark McCormick's promotion is his control. He has improved his control from April to May, from 8.7 BB/9 IP in April to 6 BB/9 IP in May. However, as his control has improved, his hits per innings pitched has increased (11 hits in 19.2 IP in April to 19 hits in 23.2 IP in May). (Stats through May 26th.) In any event, if McCormick improves enough to merit a promotion, he will vault to the ‘head of the class' as far as promotion priority goes. He is the wild card.


High-A – Palm Beach Cardinals
League Affiliation - twelve-team Florida State League, six-team East division
Overall Record – 21 - 21
Weekly Record – 2 – 5
Current Standing – Fourth, four games behind the St. Lucie Mets

The Roster
Transactions - 05/17/06 – OF Ty Parker optioned from Springfield; 05/20/06 – OF Wes Swackhamer placed on the 7-day Disabled List;
On the DL front – OF Matt Lemanczyk (swelling in arm), OF Wes Swackhamer (wrist sprain)

Current Week Team Batting – .207/.290/.344/.634
Cumulative Team Batting – .244/.320/.380/.701, tied for fourth in the league, by OPS

Current Rotation*Mitch Boggs, Eric Haberer, Blake Hawksworth, Mark Michael, Nick Webber
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 2.98 ERA and 1.23 WHIP: 14 earned runs, 40 hits and 12 walks in 42.1 innings pitched

Current Bullpen*Tyler Adamczyk, Troy Cate, Dennis Dove, Jose Garcia, Matt Scherer, Mike Sillman, Zack Zuercher
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 2.08 ERA and 0.97 WHIP: 5 earned runs, 18 hits and 3 walks in 21.2 innings pitched
Cumulative Pitching – 3.78 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, ninth in the league, by WHIP
*Those pitchers contributing to the current stats. Pitcher may appear in both rotation and bullpen.

Who's Pitchin' Hot – RHS Blake Hawksworth's line: 2 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 0-0, 13 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 9 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 3:1 K/BB, .136 BAA
Who's Pitchin' Not – RHS Mark Michael's line: 2 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 0-2, 11.1 IP, 16 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 2 HR, 1 HB, 2 BB, 9 SO, 8.74 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 4.5:1 K/BB, .333 BAA

Who's Hittin' Hot – RF Terry Evans went .346/.433/.731/1.164, 9-for-26 in seven games with one double, three home runs, three runs scored, six runs batted in, four walks, 5 strikeouts, two stolen bases in two attempts and no errors
Who's Hittin' Not – SS Tyler Greene went .133/.188/.267/.454, 4-for-30 in seven games with one triple, four runs scored, two walks, seven strikeouts and one error

Of Note – Offense/Defense
When the team bats a collective .207 for the week, it goes without saying that there were numerous candidates for the Hittin' Not notice. Matt Dryer, Mike Ferris and ‘winner' Tyler' Greene all had more than twenty at bats and hit below the Mendoza line although Ferris walked five times to bring his on-base percentage up to .333. Juan Lucena, Brady Toops and Simon Williams all hit below .200 in more limited at bats. Williams was optioned to Quad Cities on Monday, the 22nd and Toops was released on the 23rd.
Centerfielder and lead-off man Sean Danielson was absent from the Palm Beach line-up from May 12th through May 19th with a pulled hamstring. He returned to the line-up on the 20th. His .359 on-base percentage is among the team leaders as the top four players are separated by .011. Terry Evans' .370 leads the pack with Mike Ferris (.368) and Ryan Barthelemy (.364) hot on his heels.

Of Note – Pitching
Palm Beach's overall pitching this week was exceptional. Five pitchers posted 0.00 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP and sub-.200 BAA's: Starters Mitch Boggs and Blake Hawksworth and relievers Tyler Adamczyk, Troy Cate and Dennis Dove.
Speaking of Tyler Adamczyk, he had a rather dismal 2005 season that saw him demoted from the Palm Beach rotation to the Quad Cities rotation and finally into the Quad Cities bullpen where he did not succeed at any level. This season he has pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen, he made one spot start in April, with much improved results. Adamczyk has held opposing batters to a .243 average in twenty-six innings pitched. His bugaboo is control as he has walked eleven batters to only thirteen strikeouts for a K/BB ratio of 1.2:1. Still, this is much better than last season.
It seems that fan attention ceases when pitchers move from the rotation into the bullpen except for the closer role. Yes, such a move can signal a drop in the pitcher's stock within the organization. Alternately, it can mean the organization happily has a glut of excellent starting candidates and there are others, for the moment, taking priority. Dennis Dove, a third round pick from the 2003 draft, made such a move this season, going from exclusively starting to the Palm Beach bullpen. Whether his stock has fallen or he simply has other higher-ranked pitchers in front of him is difficult to say. In any event, he has compiled some excellent numbers so far this season. He has struck out twenty-three batters in twenty-three innings over seventeen appearances while walking only four for a K/BB ratio of 5.75:1. Dove has held opposing hitters to a .228 batting average and has a 0.96 WHIP with only eighteen hits allowed. He has inherited eight runners with three scoring.

Prospect Watch
Mitch Boggs – 1 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 1-0, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 6 SO, 0.00 ERA,0.83 WHIP, 2:1 K/BB, .100 BAA
Mike Ferris – .182/.333/.182/.515, 4-for-22 in seven games with three runs scored, two runs batted in, five walks, five strikeouts and three errors
Tyler Greene – Hittin' Not
Eric Haberer – 1 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 6 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 2 BB, 2 SO, 3.00 ERA, 1.83 ERA, 1:1 K/BB, .360 BAA
Blake Hawksworth – Pitchin' Hot
Juan Lucena - .176/.263/.176/.440, 3-for-17 in five games with one run scored, one run batted in, two walks and one strikeout
Mark Michael – Pitchin' Not
Mike Sillman – 3 G, 0 GS, 1 BS, 0 SV, 1-0, 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 1 BB, 4 SO, 3.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 4:1 K/BB, .333 BAA
Nick Webber – 1 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-0, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 0.50:1 K/BB, .280 BAA


Low-A – Swing of the Quad Cities
League Affiliation - fourteen-team Midwest League, eight-team West division
Overall Record – 17 - 24
Weekly Record – 2 – 4
Current Standing – Tied for sixth, seven games behind the Kane County Cougars (Oakland)

The Roster
Transactions – 05/15/06 – LHS Adam Daniels activated from the Disabled List, RHS Josh Wilson optioned to Extended Spring Training;
On the DL front – RHP Phillip Andersen (May 2006 Tommy John surgery), RHP Kyle McClellan (July 2005 Tommy John surgery), RHP Donnie Smith (August 2005 shoulder capsule surgery)

Current Week Team Batting – .248/.305/.374/.679
Cumulative Team Batting – .262/.328/.384/.712, fourth in the league, by OPS

Current Rotation* – Adam Daniels, Jaime Garcia, Mark McCormick, Cory Meacham, Kyle Sadlowski
Current Week Pitching Stats – Rotation - 5.96 ERA and 1.83 WHIP: 17 earned runs, 30 hits and 17 walks in 25.2 innings pitched

Current Bullpen*Danny Borne, Jason Cairns, Trey Hearne, Ashley Hooks, Jon Mikrut, Matt Trent, Scott Vander Weg
Current Week Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 2.22 ERA and 0.95 WHIP: 7 earned runs, 18 hits and 9 walks in 28.1 innings pitched
Cumulative Pitching – 4.03 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, ninth in the league, by WHIP
*Those pitchers contributing to the current stats. Pitcher may appear in both rotation and bullpen.

Who's Pitchin' Hot – RHS Cory Meacham's line since coming off the D/L on May 5th: 2 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 1-0, 10 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 4 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1:1 K/BB, .194 BAA
Who's Pitchin' Not – RHS Kyle Sadlowski had his first poor start of the season and followed it up with a merely mediocre one for the following line: 2 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 6.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 HR, 2 HB, 4 BB, 2 SO, 11.37 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 0.50:1 K/BB, .296 BAA

Who's Hittin' Hot – 2B/SS Jose Martinez went .318/.333/.818/1.152, 7-for-22 in five games with two doubles, three home runs, six runs scored, eight runs batted in, one strikeout, one hit-by-pitch, one sacrifice fly and one error
Who's Hittin' Not – 1B/3B Randy Roth went .200/. 5-for-25 in six games with one run scored, two walks, five strikeouts, two stolen bases in two attempts, one hit-by-pitch and no errors

Of Note – Offense/Defense
The decision for Hittin' Hot honors was a toss-up Jose Martinez and Colby Rasmus. While Rasmus had the superior batting average and on-base percentage, Martinez got the nod with the higher slugging percentage, runs scored and runs batted in for the week. It really could have gone either way.
Colby Rasmus is an excellent young player with multiple tools. After his rookie season one area that merited improvement was Rasmus' plate discipline. He struck out once every three at bats in 2005. So far this year Rasmus is striking out once every 5.6 at bats.
Utility player Casey Rowlett had his best week of the season so far, going .6-for-20 in five games with three doubles for a .300/.300/.450/.750 line.

Of Note – Pitching
Since control is the only area preventing Mark McCormick from advancing, here is a breakdown of his BB/9 IP by reporting period:
April 6-9 – 6.00, 4 BB, 6 IP
April 10-16 – 10.4, 5 BB, 4.1 IP
April 17-23 – 10.8, 4 BB, 3.1 IP
April 24-30 – 9.00, 6 BB, 6 IP
May 1-14 – 4.80, 8 BB, 16 IP
May 15-21 – 9.84, 4 BB, 3.2 IP

Lefty reliever Danny Borne is striking out 10.5 batters every nine innings while holding opposing batters to a .188 average in 13.2 innings pitched, so far. He has a cumulative 0.66 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in fifteen game appearances.

Prospect Watch
Bryan Anderson – .250/.286/.550/.836, 5-for-20 in five games with three doubles, one home run, two runs scored, four runs batted in, one walk, seven strikeouts and one error
Jaime Garcia – 1 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 2 BB, 5.07 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 4:1 K/BB, .409 BAA
Jose Martinez – Hittin' Hot
Mark McCormick – 1 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 4 BB, 4 SO, 9.84 ERA, 2.46 WHIP, 1:1 K/BB, .333 BAA
Colby Rasmus - .375/.393/.500/.893, 9-for-24 in six games with three doubles, three runs scored, three runs batted in, two walks, one strikeout, two stolen bases in two attempts and no errors
A.J. Van Slyke - .333/.429/.333/.762, 4-for-12 in five games with three runs scored, two walks, two strikeouts and no errors
Brandon Yarbrough - .167/.167/.167/.333, 3-for-18 in five games with one run batted in, seven strikeouts and no errors


Extended Spring Training

Transactions – 05/15/06 – RHS Josh Wilson optioned from Quad Cities

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