This Week in the Cards Minors– 5/5– Pitchers

Every other week, in our new stats-based report, Leonda Markee analyzes pitching performances across the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system. Brandon Dickson is one of the many players called out.

A great deal has happened in the past week which has been dominated by the passing of St. Louis reliever Josh Hancock.  Leaving out the personal side of it, Hancock's death leaves a professional void and the ripples from this event were felt through three levels of the Cardinals' minor league system. 


On a happier note the Memphis Redbirds have put on their hitting shoes and gained three full games on the Nashville team in just a week.  A young Springfield club continues to search for the team identity while Palm Beach moved into sole possession of first place.  The Swing went 6-1 to move from sixth to a third place tie.



How Are They Doing?  (Standings as of May 4, 2007)

Memphis Redbirds – 15-13, Second place, one-half game behind the Nashville Sounds (MIL)

Springfield Cardinals – 10-13, Third place, one and one-half games behind the Tulsa Drillers (COL)

Palm Beach Cardinals – 16-10, First place, one and one-half games ahead of the Brevard County Manatees (MIL)

Swing of the Quad Cities – 15-12, Tied for third place with the Beloit Snappers (MIN), one game behind the Clinton LumberKings (TEX)



Up, Down and Out

Here are the transactions since the last report:

04/27/07 - Memphis - INF John Nelson activated from the 7-day Disabled List, UT Jolbert Cabrera placed on the 7-Day Disabled List due to an emergency appendectomy

04/30/07 - St. Louis (Memphis) - RHP Dennis Dove called up to take the bullpen slot previously held by RHP Josh Hancock

04/30/07 - Memphis (Springfield) - RHP Hugo Castellanos and RHP Chris Lambert: called up from Double-A Springfield.  Both will work out of the bullpen.

04/30/07 - Springfield (Palm Beach) - RHP Jason Motte called up from A-Advanced Palm Beach

04/30/07 - Springfield - LHP Kevin Ool will move into the Springfield rotation, taking Chris Lambert's slot after Lambert's call up to Memphis

04/30/07 - Memphis - RHP Mike Sillman placed on the 7-day DL with right shoulder tenderness (Note:  Action may be retro-active to 04/24/07, the date of Sillman's last appearance.)

05/01/07 - Palm Beach - RHP Kyle McClellan activated from the Disabled List

05/03/07 - Quad Cities - RHP Matt Lane given his unconditional release;  RHP Kyle Sadlowski activated from the 7-day Disabled List

05/03/07 - St. Louis (Springfield) - LHP Ryan Meaux signed to a minor league contract and assigned to Double-A Springfield


This week saw a very sad chain reaction of moves set off by the death of Josh Hancock on April 29th.  Reliever Dennis Dove went into the St. Louis bullpen which brought both Hugo Castellanos and Chris Lambert up from Springfield.  (Mike Sillman going on the Disabled List freed up a roster slot in Memphis.)  Lambert goes into the Memphis pen.


Kevin Ool moved from the Springfield bullpen into the rotation (more on that in the Springfield section) and my favorite converted catcher, Jason Motte, was promoted from the Palm Beach bullpen to the Springfield bullpen to take one of the open positions.  Reliever Ryan Meaux was signed to take the other Springfield spot.  Finally, Kyle McClellan was activated from the Palm Beach DL to take Motte's slot. 


The other move of note was the surprise release of Matt Lane from the Quad Cities' club.  While Lane had struggled recently, he was unscored upon when the last report came out.  However, Lane did not make the eight-man Quad Cities' rotation and the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft is about a month away.  The latter event will bring in fresh new talent into the system.  More competition will result.  Now the following should be filed in the ‘pure speculation' drawer of your filing cabinet.  But perhaps Lane was released so he could try and catch on with an organization in which he has a better chance to succeed.  Who knows, but the best of luck to him in the future.




Triple-A – Memphis Redbirds

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

Overall Record – 15-13 

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

Current RotationTroy Cate, Blake Hawksworth, Randy Keisler, Chris Narveson, Mike Parisi

Note:  The Memphis rotation is in a state of flux right now.  Keisler appears to have taken Mike Smith's rotation slot and Cate recently moved into the rotation. 

Current Bullpen –/SPAN> Hugo Castellanos, Andy Cavazos, Brian Falkenborg, Matt Ginter, Mike Sillman, Mike Smith, Mark Worrell


Current Two-Week Pitching – 4.15 ERA, 4.12 dERA, 1.46 WHIP, .284 BAA, .326 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 4.08 ERA, 4.12 dERA, 1.37 WHIP, .266 BAA, .310 BABIP


Who's Pitchin' Hot – LHP Chris Narveson who posted a 1.07 WHIP and .246 BAA in 15 innings over two game starts.  Narveson struck out ten and walked only two for a 5:1 K/BB ratio.  His dERA of 3.32 was better than his 3.60 ERA and he gave up less than a hit an inning (14 H). 


Who's Pitchin' Not – RHP Blake Hawksworth made three starts over the past two weeks and some of his peripherals suggest that his three-game ERA of 3.64 does not accurately reflect his performance.  Hawksworth tossed 17.1 innings and gave up over a hit an inning while walking five.  That gave him a 1.50 WHIP to go with his .313 BAA.  Yet is dERA was 3.13 while his BABIP was .362 which suggests that he was a bit unlucky.  It should also be said that his most recent start on May 1st was a seven-inning, no-walk gem.  Here is hoping that is the start of good things for him.



Of Note –   

As mentioned above, Randy Keisler appears to have replaced Mike Smith in the Memphis rotation.  Keisler started on May 3rd, in which he took the loss by allowing six earned runs in six and one-third innings, with Smith relieving him.


Brian Falkenborg picked up four more saves by allowing only one earned run in six innings over five games.  Batters hit a measly .217 against him.  He did walk two and struck out only three so his K/BB ratio was 1.50.


Prospect Watch

Dennis Dove – his stay in St. Louis may be a brief one if Chris Carpenter's rehabilitation progresses well.  Carpenter is very tentatively projected to start a real game next week and Dove would be the likely one to go down.  However, he gives the bullpen a strikeout capability that most of the other relievers do not possess.  Should be interesting.

Chris Narveson – 2 G, 2 GS, 1 CG, 2-0, 3.60 ERA, 15 IP, 14 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 2 BB, 10 SO, 1.07 WHIP, .246 BAA, 3.32 dERA, .280 BABIP

Blake Hawksworth – 3 G, 3 GS, 1-2, 3.64 ERA, 17.1 IP, 21 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 0 HR, 2 HB, 5 BB, 9 SO, 1.50 WHIP, .313 BAA, 3.13 dERA, .362 BABIP

Mike Sillman – had limited appearances due to a ‘tender' right shoulder that landed him on the DL on April 30th




AA – Springfield Cardinals

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

Overall Record – 10-13

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

Current RotationMitch Boggs, Jaime Garcia, Eric Haberer, Kevin Ool, Cory Rauschenberger,

Current BullpenMichael Cooper, Jose Garcia, Ryan Meaux, Jason Motte, Chris Perez, Matt Scherer, Brian Stitt


Current Two-Week Pitching – 4.40 ERA, 4.37 dERA, 1.48 WHIP, .281 BAA, .325 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 4.90 ERA, 4.99 dERA, 1.54 WHIP, .290 BAA, .326 BABIP


Who's Pitchin' Hot – LHP Jaime Garcia.  Although he did not pick up a decision in two starts comprising 11 total innings, Garcia held opposing batters to a .171 average.  He struck out 15 and walked only two for a miniscule 0.82 WHIP.  Cross your fingers and pray for continued health for this young pitcher.


Who's Pitchin' Not – RHP Cory Rauschenberger is improving as he did pick up his first Double-A win on May 3rd.  Overall, however, he still has a ways to go.  Rauschenberger posted a 1.60 WHIP and .311 BAA in 10 innings pitched over three game starts.  His dERA was 4.59 for the period with a .317 BABIP.  Since this pitcher is one of my favorites, it is painful to follow him right now.


Of Note –

One of the most interesting things to happen within the past two weeks was lefty Kevin Ool's move from the bullpen to the rotation.  He took Chris Lambert's slot after Lambert's promotion to Memphis.  It is interesting on a couple of levels.  First, his move left the Springfield bullpen without a left-hander.  Palm Beach's only lefty reliever is recently demoted Zack Zuercher, so there was no help coming from Florida.  Hence, if the organization wanted a lefty in the Springfield bullpen, they had to go outside the system and sign one.  Enter 28-year-old veteran Ryan Meaux who was signed to provide a lefty option.  Meaux's prior stats show him to be effective at this level although he has not succeeded at the Triple-A level. 


But more interesting is that Ool's move seems to signal that a promotion from Palm Beach is not eminent.  Tyler Norrick, recipient of both the Cardinals' and Birdhouse's Pitcher of the Month award (he might actually get something tangible from St. Louis), had an excellent month which left some fans clamoring for his Springfield debut.  By choosing instead to move Ool into the rotation, Norrick and the rest of the Palm Beach staff will work on their games in Florida.


A side note here is the continued presence of Cory Rauschenberger in Springfield's rotation.  Rauschenberger was originally slated for the bullpen but because a starter when Stuart Pomeranz started the year on the Disabled List.  (More on Pomeranz follows.)  While he has been remarkably ineffective so far, Rauschenberger has not been replaced, either by Ool or someone else.  If the St. Louis organization was so hot to get Ool into the rotation, one would think Rauschenberger would have lost his spot.  After all, Matt Ginter lost his Memphis slot and on a far better performance. 


As Kary Booher of the Springfield News-Leader reported recently, Stuart Pomeranz has been shut down indefinitely due to shoulder issues.  Not good.  Not good at all.  Thankfully for the Cardinals the past two drafts have reaped some competitive starters so this should not be a huge hit for the system.  But on a personal level this is sad news.


Prospect Watch

Mitch Boggs – 3 G, 3 GS, 1-0, 16.1 IP, 4.41 ERA, 20 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 8 BB, 14 SO, 1.71 WHIP, .299 BAA, 3.81 dERA, .365 BABIP  (But a hammering on May 2nd obscures two excellent outings)

Jaime Garcia – 2 G, 2 GS, 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 11 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 HR, 1 HB, 2 BB, 15 SO, 0.82 WHIP, .171 BAA, 3.65 dERA, .208 BABIP

Chris Perez – 6 G, 0 GS, 4 SV, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 3 BB, 10 SO, 0.47 WHIP, .000 BAA, 1.31 dERA, 0.000 BABIP.  Perhaps the most impressive pitcher in the system so far this season.




A-Advanced – Palm Beach Cardinals

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

Overall Record – 16–10

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

Current RotationGary Daley Jr., Adam Daniels, Trey Hearne, Tyler Norrick, Adam Ottavino

Current BullpenLuke Gregerson, Kyle McClellan, Jon Mikrut, Donnie Smith, Scott Vander Weg, Nick Webber, Zack Zuercher


Current Two-Week Pitching – 3.87 ERA, 3.17 dERA, 1.23 WHIP, .227 BAA, .288 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 3.01 ERA, 2.95 dERA, 1.12 WHIP, .224 BAA, .280 BABIP


Who's Pitchin' Hot – RHP Luke Gregerson has been hotter than hot recently.  In the past two weeks he appeared in seven games, 10 total innings, and gave up one skimpy little hit.  Just one.  Better yet, he walked just two.  Even better, he struck out 12.  That works out to a 0.30 WHIP, 0.32 BAA and a dERA of 1.19.  Oh yes, he also picked up two saves for the Palm Beach club.


Who's Pitchin' Not – RHP Adam Ottavino is averaging under five innings a start so far this season.  During the past two weeks he made three starts but pitched only 14 innings while giving up 15 hits and a whopping 11 walks.  That gives him a 1.86 WHIP and .268 BAA.  On the positive side, he struck out 21.


Of Note –

Mercy, mercy!  Who is Luke Gregerson and where did he come from?  Gregerson's 2007 performance is beginning to get him noticed and that should continue as he steps into the Palm Beach limelight.  Gregerson appears to be the new Palm Beach closer with Jason Motte's departure for St. Louis.  That will put him on the hot seat.  He is a 28th-round draft pick last year that struck out 46 and walked 15 in 32 innings last season.  Keep an eye on this one.


Prospect Watch

Gary Daley Jr. – 3 G, 3 GS, 2-0, 4.00 ERA, 18 IP, 17 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 HR, 3 HB, 5 BB, 14 SO, 1.22 WHIP, .250 BAA, 4.11 dERA, .288 BABIP

Adam Daniels  2 G, 2 GS, 0-2, 3.27 ERA, 11 IP, 13 H, 10 R, 4 ER, 0 HR, 2 HB, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1.45 WHIP, .283 BAA, 2.93 dERA, .333 BABIP

Tyler Norrick – 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 16.2 IP, 14 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 1 HR, 0 HB, 7 BB, 13 SO, 1.26 WIHP, .226 BAA, 3.85 dERA, .271 BABIP

Adam Ottavino – 3 G, 3 GS, 0 CG, 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 14 IP, 15 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 11 BB, 21 SO, 1.86 WHIP, .268 BAA, 3.54 dERA, .412 BABIP




Low-A – Swing of the Quad Cities

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

Overall Record – 15–12

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

Current RotationBrandon Dickson/Blake King, Elvis Hernandez/P.J. Walters, Brad Furnish/Tyler Herron, Shaun Garceau/Mike Schellinger

Current BullpenArmando Carrasco, Kenny Maiques, Kyle Mura, Kyle Sadlowski, Brian Schroeder


Current Two-Week Pitching – 3.43 ERA, 3.60 dERA, 1.23 WHIP, .227 BAA, .282 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 3.19 ERA, 3.35 dERA, 1.27 WHIP, .240 BAA, .303 BABIP


Who's Pitchin' Hot – RHP Brandon "Cotton" Dickson continues to impress.  In three games he went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA, allowing just nine hits in 14 innings with only one walk.  Dickson struck out eight and hit two batters.  Opponents batted just .176 against him.


Who's Pitchin' Not – no one, other than recently released Matt Lane and he pitched just 2.1 innings in the past two weeks. 


Of Note –

RHP Shaun Garceau is coming along nicely after missing the 2006 season due to a leg problem.  In 11 innings over three games, Garceau gave up seven hits and four walks against 11 strikeouts for a 1.00 WHIP and a .175 BAA.  He has a 1.64 ERA and 3.61 dERA with a .214 BABIP.


RHP Kenny Maiques, the Swing's closer, picked up another four saves in five game appearances.  He tossed five innings, allowing three hits and one walk with six strikeouts.  Maiques was unscored upon.


Prospect Watch

Brad Furnish – 3 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 0-2, 4.66 ERA, 9.2 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 5 ER, 1 HR, 1 HB, 7 BB, 11 SO, 1.00 WHIP, .175 BAA, 3.61 dERA, .280 BABIP

Tyler Herron 3 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-1, 4.63 ERA, 11.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 HR, 2 HBk, 5 BB, 7 SO, 1.20 WHIP, .214 BAA, 3.36 dERA, .257 BABIP

Blake King – 3 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 0-0, 8.22 ERA, 7.2 IP, 5H, 8 R, 7 ER, 0 HR, 1 HB, 7 BB, 6 SO, 1.57 WHIP, .167 BAA, 4.37 dERA, .208 BABIP

P.J. Walters – 4 G, 2 GS, 0 CG, 1-0, 4.02 ERA, 15.2 IP, 15 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 HR, 3 HB, 3 BB, 18 SO, 1.15 WHIP, .250 BAA, 2.44 dERA, .341 BABIP




NOTE:  The two sabermetric statistics being used in this report, as of now, are BABIP and dERA.

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

dERA – the small ‘d' stands for the acronym DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Statistics).  DIPS is used in many areas.  With regards to a pitcher's Earned Run Average, it tries to measure his effectiveness in those areas in which the pitcher has the most control:  walks and strikeouts.  This stat is not perfect but it does help gauge a pitcher's performance.



Leonda Markee may be reached at


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