This Week in the Minors – June 22 - AAA/AA

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 Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A) and Springfield Cardinals (Double-A).

This Week in the Minors – AAA and AA

June 22, 2006

The two-week period since the last report has seen Memphis continue to underachieve while Springfield choked away their shot at the first-half divisional title. After spending seven straight weeks at the top of their division, they played .500 ball the final three weeks of the season and saw Tulsa celebrate their title on Springfield's home field.

The changes in the standings – Memphis had another losing period and fell a further game and a half behind Nashville. Springfield gained one game against Tulsa but ended the first half in second place, one game off the pace.


AAA – Memphis Redbirds
League Affiliation - sixteen-team Pacific Coast League, four-team America North division
Overall Record – 25 - 43
Biweekly Record – 4 - 8
Current Standing – Firmly defending their last place spot, thirteen games behind the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee)

The Roster
Transactions – 06/06/06 - RHS Will Cunnane given his unconditional release, OF Brian Martin called up from Double-A Springfield; 06/07/06 - INF Derek Wathan acquired from the Texas Rangers for a PTBNL and assigned him to Triple-A Memphis; 06/09/06 - C Michel Hernandez placed on the 7-day DL; 06/12/06 - LHS Chris Narveson re-called from his rehab assignment at Palm Beach; 06/14/06 - 1B Brian Daubach placed on the 7-day Disabled List; 06/18/06 - RHP John Webb placed on the 7-day disabled list, RHP Orber Moreno assigned from Extended Spring Training, RHP Alan Benes already on the 7-day disabled list

On the DL front – RHP Alan Benes (right shoulder tendonitis) 1B Brian Daubach (bruised hamate bone of right hand), RHS Rhett Parrott (shoulder) RHP John Webb (right oblique)

Current Team Batting – .217/.293/.334/.627
Cumulative Team Batting – .241/.315/.362/.677, last in the league, by OPS

Current Rotation*Randy Leek, Chris Narveson, Anthony Reyes, Travis Smith, Dennis Tankersley, John Webb
Current Pitching Stats – Rotation - 4.44 ERA and 1.39 WHIP: 37 earned runs, 82 hits and 22 walks in 75 innings pitched

Current Bullpen*Carmen Cali, Andy Cavazos, Will Cunnane, Brian Falkenborg, Josh Kinney, Randy Leek, Matt Perisho, John Riedling
Current Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 3.19 ERA and 1.13 WHIP: 11 earned runs, 29 hits and 6 walks in 31 innings pitched
Cumulative Pitching – 4.30 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, tied for seventh 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 Anthony Reyes
Reyes went 2-0 in three starts over this period with a 2.89 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and .217 BAA. The rest of his line: 18.2 IP, 15 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 HR, 1 HB, 2 BB, 17 SO, 8.50:1 K/BB ratio.

Who's Pitchin' Not – RHS John Webb
Webb, who went on the disabled list on the 18th with a right oblique strain, went 0-2 in two starts with a 9.90 ERA, 2.20 WHIP and a whopping .422 BAA. The rest of his line: 10 IP, 19 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1:1 K/BB ratio.

Who's Hittin' Hot – SS John Nelson
Nelson wins ‘Hot' honors for the second report in a row by going .313/.467/.500/.967, 10-for-32 in eleven games with three doubles, one home run, nine walks, eight strike outs and two stolen bases in three attempts. Since Nelson is a bit of a ‘whiff king' the more walks than strikeouts is particularly good to see. He did, however, make three errors

Who's Hittin' Not – 3B Travis Hanson
In a portending of his June 21st demotion to Double-A Springfield, Hanson went .100/.163/.150/.313, 4-for-40 in twelve games with two doubles, three walks, nine strikeouts and two errors. Hanson's ten errors so far this season just misses getting the team lead in that dubious category. ‘Hot' hitter John Nelson has eleven errors through the end of the reporting period. Of the nine reports generated so far this season, Hanson has been the ‘Not' hitter four times. No other Redbird has appeared twice. Not even Junior Spivey.

Of Note – Offense/Defense
When Mike Rose received permission from Tampa Bay to shop for a new club, due to languishing on the Triple-A Durham Bulls bench, the Cardinals jumped at the opportunity to sign him. It seems they have had their eye on him for awhile, as they tried to acquire him when he was with Sacramento two years ago. In addition to catching, Rose can play the outfield and is a switch-hitter and the Cardinals are intrigued by his flexibility. Rose also has a very good attitude about playing where ever and doing whatever is needed to help the club win. He also says that the Redbirds are the first club to utilize him in various roles.
There was an interesting quote by manager Danny Sheaffer in the June 7th edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The article focused on recently-acquired infielder Derek Wathan and his excellent start as a Redbird in the lead-off role. "From here on out we're gonna do what we have to do to win a ballgame and we're gonna play the best guys," Sheaffer added. "That should be a challenge to every player on this club." There was a clear message there and it was likely aimed at more than one player. The chief ‘target' was likely second baseman Junior Spivey. Spivey saw his playing time all but disappear with Wathan's acquisition, getting only ten at bats during the two-week period and going 0-fer. Wathan is off to a hot start, going .317/.349/.659/1.007, 13-for-41 in ten games with five doubles, three triples and a home run. Spivey went back on the disabled list on Monday, the 19th.

Of Note – Pitching
Chris Narveson had an impressive 2006 Triple-A debut on the 13th. He shut out Oklahoma (Rangers) on three hits and one walk through six and two-thirds innings. Although he did not strike out a batter, Sheaffer was impressed with Narveson's progress in the two plus months since Spring Training. At that point Sheaffer did not see Narveson even pick up a ball. It is also important to remember that for all of his professional experience as a 2nd Rd-2000 draft pick, Narveson just turned 24 in late December.
Randy Leek has been bounced from the rotation into the bullpen and then back to the rotation two past two weeks. Narveson's arrival on the 12th sent Leek to the bullpen where he made one appearance. John Webb's landing on the disabled list on the 18th sent Leek back to the rotation, at least for now. One area in which Leek has improved is his control. He walked an average of 2.4 batters every nine innings during April but pared that down to 1.8 in May.
If former Memphis starter Rhett Parrott's current rehab at State College goes well, he could find himself back in Memphis. However, Parrott had not seen live action since May 2004 until his start for the Spikes on the 21st. Potentially that is a lot of rust to work off. On the "What Relievers Can Possibly Help The Big Club" front, in addition to Brian Falkenborg, two other names stick out: Josh Kinney and Matt Perisho. Kinney, a righty who was signed by the Cardinals out of Indy ball back in 2001, has compiled a 1.08 WHIP and .206 BAA in thirty-nine innings pitched while striking out almost a batter an inning (36 strikeouts). He has a 2.8 K/BB ratio. Lefty Matt Perisho, who has prior experience in the Bigs, was picked up by the Cardinals on May 11th and is holding opponents to a .196 batting average. While his 1.08 WHIP is identical to Kinney's, Perisho does not have either the strikeout or walk numbers as he has K'd only seven in thirteen innings while walking five. At 31 he is no prospect but might serve a purpose if he continues to do well in Memphis, particularly with Tyler Johnson's current woes.

Prospect Watch
Shaun Boyd - .182/.250/.182/.432, 2-for-11 in eight games, sent down to Springfield on the 21st
Carmen Cali – 4.77 ERA and 2.12 WHIP in 5 2/3 innings over four games with a .357 BAA, joined Boyd on the Springfield Express on the 21st
Andy Cavazos – unscored upon in 5 ½ innings over four games with five strikeouts and no walks, 0.56 WHIP and .158 BAA. Another pitcher to keep an eye on, particularly since Cardinals management likes him
Travis Hanson – Hittin' ‘Not', sent to Springfield on the 21st to hopefully get things worked out
Anthony Reyes – Pitching' ‘Hot', if he holds his own against the White Sox in his June 22nd start then Memphis is likely in his rearview mirror


AA – Springfield Cardinals
League Affiliation - eight-team Texas League, four-team East division
Overall Record – 39 – 29, end of the first half
Biweekly Record – 7 - 6
Final First-Half Standing – Second, one game behind the Tulsa Drillers (Colorado)

The Roster
Transactions –06/06/06 - OF Brian Martin called up to Memphis; 06/08/06 - OF Terry Evans called up from Palm Beach; 06/13/06 - C/1B Gabe Johnson placed on the inactive list, C Dan Moylan activated from the Disabled List; 06/18/06 - Springfield - C/1B Gabe Johnson activated from the inactive list, C Iker Franco placed on the 7-day disabled list

On the DL front – C Iker Franco (right elbow tendonitis), SS Brendan Ryan (left wrist)

Current Team Batting – .249/.317/.393/.711
Cumulative Team Batting – .263/.339/.422/.762, fifth in the league, by OPS

Current Rotation*Chris Lambert, Jordan Pals, Mike Parisi, Stuart Pomeranz, Rich Rundles
Current Pitching Stats – Rotation - 3.40 ERA and 1.26 WHIP: 30 earned runs, 78 hits and 22 walks in 79.1 innings pitched

Current Bullpen*Cory Doyne, Justin Garza, Kevin Ool, Chris Russ, Rich Scalamandre, Mark Worrell
Current Pitching Stats – Bullpen - 4.15 ERA and 1.33 WHIP: 16 earned runs, 28 hits and 18 walks in 34.2 innings pitched
Cumulative Pitching – 4.01 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, fifth 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 Chris Lambert
After a pitching a clinker against Wichita on June 6th, Lambert reeled off two of the best starts of his professional career. His performance in beating both Arkansas and the eventual first-half winner Tulsa was simply superb. He held both teams to a total of seven hits and two runs, both earned, in fourteen innings pitched. His stats for the two weeks, which include the ‘clinker' are: 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 2-1, 18.1 IP, 13 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 2 HR, 7 BB, 18 SO, 3.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP .197 BAA, 2.6:12 K/BB ratio.

Who's Pitchin' Not – RHS Jordan Pals
With Tulsa coming to town for a four-game series to decide the first-half divisional championship, Pals coughed up a hairball in the opening game. He gave up five runs, all earned, on twelve hits – including three home runs – and one walk in six innings as Springfield lost, 6-2. Pals went 1-1 in two game starts with a 1.66 WHIP and .339 BAA in twelve and two-thirds innings. Overall, batters are hitting .314 against him and Pals may be on the outside looking in before long.

Who's Hittin' Hot – SS Mike McCoy
The current Springfield shortstop hit went .373/.396/.412/.808, 19-for-51 in twelve games with five stolen bases in five attempts. Brendan Ryan's ‘temporary' replacement held up his end of the offense during the Cardinals' push for the first-half title. It is unfortunate that many of his teammates did not do the same.

Who's Hittin' Not – CF Reid Gorecki
Gorecki hit a dismal .163/.263/.367/.631, 8-for-49 in thirteen games with twelve strikeouts, six walks, two stolen bases in three attempts but committed no errors. Gorecki is reported to be nursing a sore right heel thus did not play in the Texas League All-Star game on Tuesday. He is questionable for the balance of this week.

Of Note – Offense/Defense
The majority of the talk on fan boards about Springfield recently has been about Terry Evans. Evans made the most of his promotion by going .364/.436/.970/1.406, 12-for-33 in ten games with two doubles, six home runs, four stolen bases in four attempts and four hit-by-pitches. Evans fattened up on the weak Wichita and Arkansas pitching staffs who are the bottom two staffs, by WHP, in the league but did not do as well against a powerful Tulsa squad. Still, he merits the attention that he is receiving.
Evans' promotion from Palm Beach on the 8th has mainly impacted Cody Haerther's playing time. Haerther had only twenty-two plate appearances over nine games during the past two weeks and went .045/.045/.045/.091 during that span. Haerther has been in a season-long slump and certainly is not going to break out of it by watching the game from the bench.

Of Note – Pitching
When a team falls short of a title by only one game, there are several losses to which one can look back and think "That loss was key." With that said, Mark Worrell's fourth blown save on June 8th against Wichita, in which he took the subsequent loss, was a difference maker. With Springfield up 4-1 through seven, primarily on an excellent performance by Mike Parisi, Worrell inherited a bases-loaded, no outs situation from Cory Doyne. He proceeded to get two outs without a runner advancing, then the flood gates opened. Walk-single-walk-single and a 4-1 lead has become a 5-4 deficit. Worrell had to be replaced by Chris Russ who made matters worse by giving up a 2-run double before getting the final out of the inning.
Reliever Rich Scalamandre is on his way to Memphis as part of the Memphis Express, replacing Carmen Cali in the Redbirds' bullpen. He has held opposing batters to a .237 average while compiling a 1.28 WHIP. Scalamandre is also striking out just over a batter an inning with thirty strikeouts in twenty-nine and two-thirds innings pitched. However, one of the most impressive things about his Springfield performance is that only four of the twenty runners he inherited subsequently scored. A well deserved promotion.

Prospect Watch
Reid Gorecki – Hittin' Not
Cody Haerther – would have been Hittin' Not except for the paltry number of at bats he got during this span
Jarrett Hoffpauir - .194/.256/.222/.479, 7-for-36 in eleven games with one double, two walks, two strikeouts and two errors
Chris Lambert – Pitchin' Hot
Mike Parisi – 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 15.2 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, 2 HB, 6 BB, 12 SO, 1.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .230 BAA, 2:1 K/BB ratio
Stuart Pomeranz – 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 1-0, 19.2 IP, 17 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 6 BB, 15 SO, 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .243 BAA, 2.5:1 K/BB ratio
Nick Stavinoha - .263/.317/.263/.580, 10-for-38 in eleven games with three walks, three strikeouts and one error
Mark Worrell - 6 G, 0 GS, 0-1, 1 BS, 5 SV, 5.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 8 SO, 6.36 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .158 BAA, 2.7:1 K/BB ratio

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