This Week in the Cards Minors– 04/28– Hitters

In the second installment of our new weekly stats-based report, Leonda Markee analyzes position player performances across the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system.

Welcome to the first report of 2007 to focus on the position players within St. Louis' minor league system.  Like the Pitching report, this report incorporates several sabermetric statistics.  Those statistics are:  Batting Average for Balls In Play (BABIP), Isolated Power (ISO) and Runs Created (RC). 


None of the sabermetric statistics have been adjusted to include park factors due to extreme time constraints.  However, each team's 2004-2006 Weighted Park Factors are listed for those that want to adjust the figures.  There is a section at the end of the report that tries to explain some of these statistics a bit better.


How Are They Doing?  (Standings as of April 27, 2007)

Memphis Redbirds – Third place, three and one-half games behind the Nashville Sounds (MIL)

Springfield Cardinals – Second place, one game behind the Tulsa Drillers (COL)

Palm Beach Cardinals – Tied for first place with the Brevard County Manatees (MIL)

Swing of the Quad Cities – Sixth place, three and one-half games behind the Clinton LumberKings (TEX)


Up, Down and Out

Here are the transactions for the week:


04/27/07 – St. Louis (Memphis) – LHP Randy Keisler sent down to Triple-A Memphis, RHP Kelvin Jimenez called up to St. Louis


04/22/07 - Quad Cities (Extended Spring Training) - INF Jared Schweitzer placed on the DL, retroactive to 4/21/07 (strained hamstring), C Christian Reyes called up from Extended Spring Training

04/23/07 - St. Louis (Springfield) - OF Juan Encarnacion sent to Double-A Springfield on a Major League rehab assignment

4/26/07 - Springfield (Palm Beach) - LHP Zack Zuercher transferred to A-Advanced Palm Beach, RHP Mike Cooper called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach


Also of interest is that the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Troy Cate has replaced Matt Ginter in the Memphis rotation as of April 27th.  Cate will make his second start on Friday, April 27th, after this report goes to press.  Cate's first start came on an ‘emergency' basis, as a part of a double-header, so this will be his first start as part of the rotation.  Ginter may be on his way out.  He has not been part of a regular minor league bullpen since 2003 and is thought to have been signed as ‘insurance' for the big club. 


Two possibilities for another bullpen arm for Memphis are Chris Perez and Matt Scherer.  The only runs allowed by Perez came on a three-run home run on April 6th against Midland that was weather-aided.  Otherwise, Perez has been dominating.  Scherer boasts a .132 BAA and 0.73 WHIP in 12.1 innings pitched.  Yes, it would be a very quick promotion for either of them but the organization seems to be more aggressive these days (see the skipping of class A-Advanced by Jon Jay, Bryan Anderson, Colby Rasmus and Chris Perez).


The breaking news here is Keisler's (expected) demotion to Memphis and the corresponding call-up of Kelvin Jimenez.  Brian Walton reports that Jimenez will go into the bullpen.  That leaves a rotation slot open for Tuesday, May 1st, in Milwaukee as Chris Carpenter is not a candidate for that start, per Brian.  Looking at the Memphis rotation, May 1st is Blake Hawksworth's scheduled day to pitch but it is extremely unlikely that he would be called up since he got shelled in his last start.  Look for a possible bullpen start that day.


While it is still very early in his rehab assignment, Juan Encarnacion's performance-to-date is not going to get him an early call back to St. Louis.  



Triple-A – Memphis Redbirds

League Affiliation - sixteen-team Pacific Coast League, four-team America North division

Overall Record – 10-11 

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.91, H=0.94, 2B=0.93, HR=1.08, BB=1.01, SO=1.04


Roster Link

Hitting Year-to-Date* – .247/.315/.399/.714, .277 BABIP, 81.91 RC

*Note:  Pitchers' offensive statistics excluded


Who's Hittin' Hot

Left fielder Ryan Ludwick is hitting .351/.384/.623/1.007, 27-for-77, with six doubles, five home runs and 20 runs batted in.   However, Ludwick has a .379 BABIP which says that his hot performance is bound to cool off.  He is second in the Pacific Coast League in runs scored with 19 and fourth in the league in RBIs with 20.  


Who's Hittin' Not

Third baseman Travis Hanson is batting a measly .190/.250/.190/.440, 12-for-63, with no extra base hits and only three runs batted in.  Yet, Hanson's .240 BABIP indicates he has been a bit unlucky with his at bats.  Still, this is a disappointing start to his 2007 season.


Of Note –   

Centerfielder Rick Ankiel is tied with Ryan Braun (MIL) for second in the Pacific Coast League in home runs with seven and is tied with Billy Butler (KC) for third in the league with 21 runs batted in.  (His teammate Ryan Ludwick sits in fourth place.)


Seven players currently average three or more plate appearances per game:  Centerfielder Rick Ankiel, first baseman Tagg Bozied, second baseman Edgar Gonzalez, third baseman Travis Hanson, left fielder Ryan Ludwick, shortstop Brendan Ryan and right fielder Nick Stavinoha.  There you have most of the Redbirds' everyday line-up.  Catching duties are currently split fairly evenly between Ryan Christianson and Brian Esposito.


For those calling for John Rodriguez' promotion to St. Louis, please check his current production, listed below in the ‘Prospect Watch'.  Rodriguez has been battling various injuries and has yet to get untracked at Memphis.  As of now, he does not appear to be a solution to St. Louis' offensive woes.


Prospect Watch

Memphis' roster contains few players that are ‘prospects' in the traditional sense of the word but those they do have will be listed here, in addition to those players that are not prospects but are of interest to readers. 

Rick Ankiel - .264/.304/.597/.901, 19-for-72, .231 BABIP, 12.04 RC, .333 ISO, 1:5.54 K/AB,

John Rodriguez - .174/.296/.283/.579, 8-for-46, .212 BABIP, 3.50 RC, .109 ISO, 1:3.83 K/AB, 2.57 PA/Game

Brendan Ryan - .200/.294/.240/.534, 15-for-75, .227 BABIP, 5.94 RC, .027 ISO, 1:8.33 K/AB, 4.05 PA/Game

Nick Stavinoha - .228/.281/.404/.685, 13-for-57, .233 BABIP, 6.68 RC, .175 ISO, 1:5.18 K/AB, 3.05 PA/Game



AA – Springfield Cardinals

League Affiliation - eight-team Texas League, four-team East division

Overall Record – 7-9

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=1.03, H=1.02, 2B=0.98, HR=1.16, BB=1.02, SO=1.10

Roster Link

Hitting Year-to-Date* – .231/.313/.403/.715, .258 BABIP, 67.10 RC

*Note:  Pitchers' offensive statistics excluded


Who's Hittin' Hot

First baseman/right fielder Joe Mather is on fire right now, to the tune of .361/.418/.885/1.303, 22-for-61, with five doubles and nine home runs.  He is at or near the top of several Texas League offensive categories including:  first in OPS, runs scored (17) and home runs, and tied for third with five other players with 14 runs batted in.  


Who's Hittin' Not

Left fielder Jon Jay is struggling after skipping Palm Beach entirely.  Jay is currently hitting .212/.297/.273/.570, 14-for-66, with four doubles and four runs batted in.  Jay has a .264 BABIP, so he has been a bit unlucky but not that much.


Of Note –

Springfield has seven players averaging three or more plate appearances a game:  Catcher Bryan Anderson, shortstop Tyler Greene, second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir, left fielder Jon Jay, first baseman/right fielder Joe Mather, centerfielder Colby Rasmus and third baseman Juan Richardson.  Mike Ferris has been playing at first lately with Joe Mather in right but that is currently on hold with Juan Encarnacion's rehab assignment at Springfield.  That assignment takes priority over other playing issues so Mather is at first in those games that Encarnacion is in right. 


Speaking of Encarnacion, he has just one hit in 13 at bats over three games so far.  His first two game appearances were as the designated hitter and he appeared in the field for the first time on Thursday, April 26th. 


Prospect Watch

Bryan Anderson – off to a great start, 318/.388/.591/.979, 14-for-44, four doubles, one triple, one home run, eight runs batted in, .375 BABIP, 10.08 RC, .250 ISO, 1:4.4 K/AB, 3.06 PA/Game

Juan Encarnacion – off to a slow start, .077/.143/.077/.220, .083 BABIP

Mike Ferris – 12 at bats since his call-up, .250/.250/.250/.500, no extra base hits and one run batted in, .273 BABIP, 0.75 RC, 0.000 ISO, 1:12 K/AB

Tyler Greene – not quite sure why he was started here instead of Palm Beach, .204/.259/.352/.610, two doubles and two home runs, four runs batted in, .237 BABIP, 4.80 RC, .148 ISO, 1:3.86 K/AB, 3.63 PA/Game

Colby Rasmus – look for him to get untracked, .203/.292/.375/.667, 13-for-64, six doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, nine runs batted in, .235 BABIP, 6.51 RC, .156 ISO, 1:5.33 K/AB, 4.50 PA/Game



A-Advanced – Palm Beach Cardinals

League Affiliation - twelve-team Florida State League, six-team East division

Overall Record – 11–8

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.89, H=0.96, 2B=1.06, HR=0.71, BB=0.97, SO=1.07

Roster Link

Hitting Year-to-Date – .255/.322/.362/.685, .295 BABIP, 78.53 RC


Who's Hittin' Hot

Third baseman Allen Craig, who missed some time with a rib injury suffered on April 20th, is the main offensive spark for the Palm Beach club.  Craig is hitting .348/.357/.565/.922, 24-for-69, with sixteen runs batted in, .370 BABIP, 14.13 RC, .203 ISO, 1:6.27 K/AB and 3.68 PA/Game. 


Who's Hittin' Not

Centerfielder Shane Robinson is cold right now, .237/.277/.303/.580 but does have seven runs batted in and seven stolen bases in nine attempts.  He has a .254 BABIP, 6.96 RC, .053 ISO, 1:15.20 K/AB, 4.47 PA/Game.


Of Note –

Allen Craig is third in Florida State League in batting average (.348), tied with three others for second in home runs (4) and is tied with Jeremy Slayden (PHI) for second in runs batted in with 16.


Six players on the Palm Beach Cardinals average three or more plate appearances per game:  Third baseman Allen Craig, shortstop Jose Martinez, left fielder/utility guy Dan Nelson, centerfielder Shane Robinson, second baseman Casey Rowlett and right fielder Nathan Southard.  Catcher Brandon Yarbrough is just under that average with 2.95 plate appearances each game.


Dan Nelson currently has more walks (18) than strikeouts (15).  That is the good news.  On the other hand, Nelson is currently hitting .222/.395/.302/.697, 14-for-63 with a .292 BABIP which is within the standard .280-.310 BABIP range.


Prospect Watch

Isa Garciais off to a slow start following his April 19th promotion from Quad Cities, going .188/.263/.188/.451, .273 BABIP, 1:3.2 K/AB.

Mark Hamilton – is hitting below the Mendoza line, .195/.233/.317/.550, 8-for-41 only two doubles and one home run, .241 BABIP, 3.02 RC, .122 ISO, 1:3.73 K/AB, 2.26 PA/Game

Nathan Southard – another 2006 draftee off to a slow start.  Southard is currently batting .239/.329/.313/.642, 16-for-67, with five doubles, .271 BABIP, 6.41 RC, .075 ISO, 1:8.38 K/AB, 4.00 PA/Game



Low-A – Swing of the Quad Cities

League Affiliation - fourteen-team Midwest League, eight-team West division

Overall Record – 9–11

Three-Year Weighted Park Factor – R=0.97, H=0.99, 2B=1.09, HR=0.93, BB=0.93, SO=0.98

Roster Link

Hitting Year-to-Date – .250/.322/.368/.690, .292 BABIP, 75.20 RC


Who's Hittin' Hot

First baseman Brandon Buckman is currently hitting .309/.325/.580/.906, 25-for-81, with seven doubles, five home runs and 17 runs batted in.  On the down side, Buckman has only walked once.  He has a .303 BABIP, 15.00 RC, .272 ISO, 1:8.1 K/AB and 4.15 PA/Game


Who's Hittin' Not

Outfielder Daryl Jones has yet to show he can hit, going .177/.301/.258/.559, 11-for-62, with 20 strikeouts, a .244 BABIP, 4.29 RC, .081 ISO, 1:3.1 K/AB and 3.65 PA/Game


Of Note –

The aforementioned Brandon Buckman is tied with Tom King (SD) for first in the Midwest League in doubles (7), is first in home runs (5) and runs batted in (17).


Left fielder Mark Shorey is right behind Buckman with 16 runs batted in which ties him with Marc Maddox (KC) for second place in the Midwest League in that category.  Shorey is batting .280/.337/.413/.751, 21-for-75, with four doubles, two home runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts.  Shorey has a .328 BABIP, 9.69 RC, .133 ISO, 1:5.00 K/AB and 4.15 PA/Game.


Centerfielder Jim Rapoport's five stolen bases (in six attempts) put him in a tie for fourth place in the league in that category.  Otherwise, Rapoport is off to a dismal start:  .206/.276/.265/.541, 14-for-68, .275 BABIP, 5.53 RC, 0.444 ISO and 1:4 K/AB ratio.


The Swing has seven players averaging three or more plate appearances a game:  First baseman Brandon Buckman, catcher Omar Falcon, right fielder Luke Gorsett, outfielder Daryl Jones, centerfielder Jim Rapoport, left fielder/designated hitter Mark Shorey and third baseman Donovan Solano.  Second base is currently manned by either Jaime Landin or Jared Schweitzer who just went on the Disabled List with a hamstring strain.  Shortstop duties are split between Christian Lopez and Willian Sandoval.


Prospect Watch

Luke Gorsett – is currently batting .274/.329/.371/.700, 17-for-62, with little power so far (.097 ISO), and a .308 BABIP.  Gorsett strikes out once every 6.89 at bats and averages 3.5 plate appearances a game.

Christian Lopez - is off to an excellent start in somewhat limited at bats.  Lopez is hitting .326/.442/.442/.884, 14-for-43 over 13 games, with nine walks to 12 strikeouts.  He has a .433 BABIP, 8.65 RC, .116 ISO, 1:3.58 K/AB and 2.60 PA/Game

Donovan Solano – is struggling this month, going .227/.292/.258/.549, 15-for-66 in 19 games, with six walks and seven strikeouts, a .254 BABIP, 5.03 RC, 0.030 ISO, 1:9.43 K/AB and 3.65 PA/Game



NOTE:  The three sabermetric statistics being used in this report as of now are BABIP, Isolated Power and Runs Created.


BABIP – Batting Average on Balls In Play.  It is used mainly to measure the luckiness or unluckiness of either a pitcher or batter on those balls put into play that involve fielders.  Hence, home runs are excluded.  The standard BABIP range is .280-.310 for either pitchers or hitters so hitters with a BABIP above .310 are getting lucky while those below .280 are unlucky. 


Isolated Power (ISO) – is one of five primary production metrics used in identifying a hitter or pitcher's comparables. PECOTA uses a slightly modified version of Isolated Power that assigns the same value to triples as to doubles (extending a double into a triple is generally an indicator of speed, rather than additional power).'


Runs Created (RC) - is a statistic created by Bill James to measure a player's total offensive production? Bill James describes it by saying that scoring runs consists of two actions: first - getting on base or creating base runners and second - the advancing of those runners around the bases. The formula we used to ascertain each player's RC incorporates the stolen base element of offense.



Leonda Markee may be reached via email at


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