This Week in the Cards Minors– 6/2 – Pitchers

Every other week, in our new stats-based report, Leonda Markee analyzes pitching performances across the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system.

The biggest news of the week was the demotion of pitcher Anthony Reyes and the injury to catcher Yadier Molina.  The Reyes move has initiated quite a bit of debate on the correctness of said move and where the apparently mandatory finger pointing should be aimed.  Reyes appears to be convinced that he will be successful pitching in the same fashion that both made him a Pitcher of the Year in the Cardinals' minor league system and the Cardinals' top prospect.  Well-regarded pitching coach Dave Duncan disagrees.  Joe Strauss recently indicated that an impasse has apparently been reached and that a trade may be needed.  That would be a shame since Major League quality pitchers do not grow on trees.

 

In other news on the pitching front, a knowledgeable poster on the Scout message board indicates that Mark Mulder has not yet started a decent long toss program.  The poster's best estimate for an activation date is late August, if at all.

 

The injury to catcher Yadier Molina stirred up its own debate about the quality of St. Louis' third catcher, in the case Brian Esposito.  The Cardinals are reportedly looking to acquire a more substantive alternative to Esposito until Molina's return which has some carping that the Cardinals' were short-sighted in that regard.  Yes, Esposito is a third catcher, at best and does not hit his shoe size.  But if he did hit adequately then he would not be a third catcher.  Are not most third catchers defensively adequate and offensively challenged?  The last time the Cardinals lost their catcher for a significant period they were able to call up one Yadier Molina from Triple-A.  No, Memphis does not have a Molina-quality catcher and it is not even close.  But if the system did have a Molina-quality catcher at Triple-A, he likely would already have been traded to another team for needed missing pieces.  (Insert your own choice for the applicable needed missing piece.) 

 

 

How Are They Doing?  (Standings as of June 1, 2007)

Memphis Redbirds – 26-29, Fourth and last place, six games behind the Iowa Cubs

Springfield Cardinals – 23-26, Second place, three and one-half games behind the Tulsa Drillers (COL)

Palm Beach Cardinals – 29-24, Second place, three games behind the Brevard County Manatees (MIL)

Swing of the Quad Cities – 29-24, Tied for third place with the Cedar Rapids Kernels (LAA), four and one-half games behind the Beloit Snappers (MIN)

 

 

Up, Down and Out

Here are the transactions since the last report:

05/26/07 - Memphis - RHP Mike Sillman placed on the 7-day Disabled List; 1B Tagg Bozied activated from the 7-day Disabled List

05/27/07 - St. Louis (Memphis) - RHP Anthony Reyes optioned to Triple-A Memphis; LHR Troy Cate called up from Triple-A Memphis

05/27/07 - St. Louis - RHP Frank Pol, RHP Yuery Valera: given their unconditional release, per Baseball America.  Exact release date unknown

05/29/07 - Springfield (Quad Cities) - OF Cody Haerther placed on the 7-day Disabled List (broken hamate bone - right hand); OF Mark Shorey called up from class A Quad Cities (to replace Haerther)

05/29/07 - Palm Beach (Quad Cities) - OF Shane Robinson placed on the 7-day Disabled List; OF Jim Rapoport called up from class A Quad Cities

05/29/07 - Quad Cities (Extended Spring Training) - 3B Wilmer Alvarado, OF Tommy Pham: called up from Extended Spring Training

05/30/07 - St. Louis (Memphis) - C Yadier Molina placed on the 15-day Disabled List (left wrist fracture), C Brian Esposito's contract purchased from Triple-A Memphis and added to both the 40- and 25-man rosters

05/30/07 - Memphis - RHP Matt Ginter placed on the 7-day Disabled List (shoulder), C Ryan Christianson, RHP Dennis Dove: activated from the 7-day Disabled List

 

 

Cody Haerther's incapacitation from a broken hamate bone left Springfield with only three legitimate outfielders in Sean Danielson, Joe Mather and Colby Rasmus, with Mather still spending significant time at first base.  That meant that Springfield dearly needed another outfielder.  The surprise move was the promotion of left fielder Mark Shorey from Quad Cities.  However, the move makes sense when the available alternatives are explored.  None of Palm Beach's available outfielders, Ian Church, Nathan Southard and A.J. Van Slyke, were hitting very well while Shorey was excelling offensively at Quad Cities.  With Jon Jay expected to come off the disabled list in about two weeks this move is likely a short-term one.  Why not promote Shorey to Springfield and give him a taste of Double-A before re-assigning him, most likely to Palm Beach?

 

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Triple-A – Memphis Redbirds

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

Overall Record – 26-29 

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 RotationBlake Hawksworth, Randy Keisler, Mike Parisi, Anthony Reyes, Mike Smith

Current Bullpen  Hugo Castellanos, Andy Cavazos, Dennis Dove, Brian Falkenborg, Chris Lambert, Ryan Meaux, Mark Worrell

 

Current Two-Week Pitching – 3.98 ERA, 4.18 dERA, 1.28 WHIP, .259 BAA, .297 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 4.55 ERA, 4.07 dERA, 1.39 WHIP, .276 BAA, .321 BABIP

 

Who's Pitchin' Hot 

RHS Blake Hawksworth has been cookin' with four straight quality starts.  He started six games in May and five of them qualified as a quality start and the sixth would have been a quality start with one more inning pitched.  Over the past two weeks, he allowed nine hits and just one walk in thirteen innings for a 0.77 WHIP.  Opposing batters hit just .196 against him but Hawksworth did have a .200 BABIP.  He struck out only five, which is also of concern.  

 

Who's Pitchin' Not

LHS Randy Keisler will not get recalled to St. Louis anytime soon if he continues to pitch the way he is currently.  Keisler started three games and gave up 23 hits and seven walks in 19.1 innings for a 1.55 WHIP and .311 batting average against.  He has been unlucky with a .355 BABIP but his dERA is 4.00 and with eleven strikeouts, his K/BB ratio over the past two weeks was 1.57:1. 

 

Of Note –   

Blake Hawksworth's overall 1.19 WHIP ties him for sixth place in the league with Round Rock's Juan Gutierrez (HOU).  

 

Righty starter Mike Parisi rebounded from receiving the last report's ‘NOT' mention to be the runner-up to Hawksworth for "HOT' honors (albeit a distant second).  Parisi went 1-1 in three starts and allowed fewer hits (18) than innings pitched (19) and held the opposition to a .257 batting average.  His control needs to improve as he walked seven to only nine strikeouts for a 1.29:1 K/BB ratio.  He allowed eight earned runs for a 3.79 ERA and 4.22 dERA.  He had a .283 BABIP.

 

 

Prospect Watch

Dennis Dove – came off the disabled list on May 30th but did not pitch during this two-week period

Chris Narveson – currently on the disabled list

Blake Hawksworth – two G, two GS, 13 IP, 1-1, nine H, two R, two ER, one HR, 0 HB, one BB, five SO, 0.77 WHIP, 1.38 ERA, 3.91 dERA, .196 BAA, .200 BABIP, 5:1 K/BB ratio

Mike Sillman – went back onto the disabled list on May 26th

 

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AA – Springfield Cardinals

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

Overall Record – 23-26

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, Jason Motte, Chris Perez, Matt Scherer, Nick Webber, Zack Zuercher

 

Current Two-Week Pitching – 3.41 ERA, 4.24 dERA, 1.29 WHIP, .223 BAA, .261 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 4.30 ERA, 4.76 dERA, 1.45 WHIP, .266 BAA, .302 BABIP

 

Who's Pitchin' Hot

LHS Jaime Garcia continues to be plagued by poor run support this season.  In the past two weeks, he tossed 13.2 innings over two starts and allowed only three runs, two earned, but lost both games.  Opposing batters hit just .170 against him but his BABIP was .176 so his peripherals should rise.  Like others in the system, control remains an issue, as he averaged over three walks for every nine innings pitched.  However, he is impressing at a young age.

 

Who's Pitchin' Not

Although lefty Eric Haberer limited the earned runs allowed during his two starts this period for a pedestrian 4.50 ERA (five earned runs in ten innings pitched which is not dreadful), his peripherals indicate that he should have done worse.  He gave up more than a hit an inning (12 hits) and walked more (six) than he struck out (five).  That worked out to a 1.80 WHIP, .300 BAA, 0.83:1 K/BB ratio and .343 BABIP.

 

Of Note –

Kevin Ool was moved into the Springfield rotation in early May and has been unsuccessful in that role.  Ool's May stats are almost exclusively as a starter with only one inning coming in relief.  (More on that in a moment.)  His May stats are: six G, five GS, 2-1, 23.1 IP, 30 H, 23 R, 12 ER, one HR, 0 HB, nine BB, 12 SO, 4.63 ERA, 4.02 dERA, 1.67 WHIP, .300 BAA, .333 BABIP, 1.3:1 K/BB ratio.  He pitched one inning of relief on May 30th which triggered speculation on a possible move back to the bullpen.  Since Ool's May 27th start was extremely short, two-thirds of an inning and nine batters faced, the more likely scenario is that the 30th was Ool's day to throw and he did it in a game since he had faced so few batters during his last start.  In any event, it is difficult to conceive of Ool as a permanent starter.

 

Mitch Boggs continues to work on his consistency.  In six starts this month, he had three superb starts and three in which he was absolutely hammered.  There was no in-between.  The past two weeks, he had two excellent starts on May 18th and May 24th but followed those up with a stinker on May 29th.  He also walked more than he struck out.  His two-week stats are in the ‘Prospect Watch'.

 

 

Prospect Watch

Mitch Boggs  three G, three GS, 2-0, 17.2 IP, 17 H, 10 R, 10 ER, one HR, three HB, 10 walks, eight strikeouts, 5.09 ERA, 4.89 dERA, 1.53 WHIP, .258 BAA, .281 BABIP, 0.80:1 K/BB 

Jaime Garcia – two G, two GS, 0-2, 13.2 IP, eight H, three R, two ER, two HR, one HB, five BB, 11 SO, 1.32 ERA, 4.99 dERA, 0.95 WHIP, .170 BAA, .176 BABIP, 2.2:1 K/BB

Chris Perez – four G, 0 GS, 1-0, two SV, five IP, two H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, one BB, 11 SO, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, .125 BAA, .400 BABIP, 11:1 K/BB, 19.8 K/9 IP

 

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A-Advanced – Palm Beach Cardinals

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

Overall Record – 29–24

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, Fernando Salas, Donnie Smith, Matt Trent, Scott Vander Weg

 

Current Two-Week Pitching – 4.02 ERA, 3.66 dERA, 1.47 WHIP, .268 BAA, .327 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 3.45 ERA, 3.37 dERA, 1.26 WHIP, .241 BAA, .294 BABIP

 

Who's Pitchin' Hot

Adam Daniels gets the ‘Hot' nod for this report by compiling a 1.22 WHIP and .257 BAA in 18 innings over three starts.  He gave up a hit an inning but limited the walks to four to go with 12 strikeouts.  He averaged just two walks every nine innings.  While Daniels' strikeout numbers are not great overall, 42 in 53.2 innings, his ground-to-fly out ratio is better than two-to-one.  At 24, Daniels is the oldest member of the Palm Beach rotation, so he needs to move upward to remain in the ‘prospect' category.

 

Who's Pitchin' Not

Trey Hearne's slot in the Palm Beach rotation is the shakiest of the five, as he is ineffective.  He gave up 29 hits in 18.1 innings over three starts, along with 10 walks and nine strikeouts.  That is a 2.13 WHIP, .372 BAA and 5.40 ERA although his .420 BABIP and 3.88 dERA say he should be better than his results suggest.

Of Note –
Last week's report discussed possible promotions and their potential impact. In that report, the idea of Allen Craig remaining at third base was taken as a given. That ‘given' was based on the comments by St. Louis Cardinals' Director of Minor League Operations John Vuch that appeared in a May 8th article here at The Birdhouse. More information has come forth in the past week that casts Craig's future at third in doubt. First is a May 27th article in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that discusses Craig and quotes Palm Beach manager Gaylen Pitts (a former Major League coach) as saying Craig's immediate future is at first base due to a lack of arm strength. The stress here is immediate. Then comes an interview with Jeff Luhnow at Viva El Birdos on May 29th in which Luhnow said that the Cardinals did not know what his position would be ‘down the road' but that he would stay at third base ‘for now'. If Craig cannot play third well enough to merit a promotion to Springfield, then that leaves first base as an even more crowded option.

The Florida State League All-Star Game roster has been announced and Palm Beach placed five players:  closer Luke Gregerson, starters Tyler Norrick and Adam Ottavino, third baseman Allen Craig and first baseman Mark Hamilton.  The game will take place on Saturday, June 16th at the Daytona Cubs' field. 

 

Prospect Watch

Gary Daley Jr. – two G, two GS, 1-0, 10 IP, 10 H, five R, five ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, 10 BB, eight SO, 4.50 ERA, 4.62 dERA, 2.00 WHIP, .286 BAA, .370 BABIP, 0.80:1 K/BB

Adam Daniels  three G, three GS, 1-1, 18 IP, 18 H, nine R, six ER, one HR, one HB, four BB, 12 SO, 3.00 ERA, 3.43 dERA, 1.22 WHIP, .257 BAA, .298 BABIP, 3:1 K/BB

Tyler Norrick – two G, two GS, 1-0, 11.2 IP, 10 H, four R, four ER, 0 HR, one HB, nine BB, six SO, 3.09 ERA, 4.64 dERA, 1.63 WHIP, .238 BAA, .278 BABIP, 0.67:1 K/BB

Adam Ottavino – three G, three GS, 1-1, 12 IP, 11 H, eight R, eight ER, one HR, o HB, six BB, 14 SO, 6.00 ERA, 3.55 dERA, 1.42 WHIP, .239 BAA, .323 BABIP, 2.3:1 K/BB

 

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Low-A – Swing of the Quad Cities

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

Overall Record – 29–24

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, Eddie Degerman/Shaun Garceau

Current BullpenArmando Carrasco, Kenny Maiques, Kyle Mura, Kyle Sadlowski, Mike Schellinger

 

Current Two-Week Pitching – 2.83 ERA, 2.85 dERA, 1.26 WHIP, .247 BAA, .315 BABIP

Pitching Year-to-Date – 3.08 ERA, 3.06 dERA, 1.21 WHIP, .234 BAA, .301 BABIP

 

Who's Pitchin' Hot

P. J. Walters gave up three earned runs during his May 31st start and they were the first runs that he has given up the entire month.  Oh yeah, he is HOT!  Overall, he combines the best control on the staff, an average of 1.49 walks every nine innings, with the most hit batsmen (seven).  What is up with that?  His two-week stats are in the ‘Prospect Watch'.

 

Who's Pitchin' Not  

Young Blake King goes from ‘Hot' to ‘Not' in one reporting period.  The 19-year-old allowed 10 hits and nine walks in just four and two-thirds innings over three games for an eye-popping 4.07 WHIP and .455 BAA.  He struck out just four but did have a .529 BABIP. 

 

Of Note –

One thing to note on the position side is with Wilmer Alvarado's switch to third base and promotion to Quad Cities, Donovan Solano played short for the first time this season on 5/30/07.  Although Solano was signed as a middle infielder, he had played third exclusively this season.

 

Walters' tandem partner Elvis Hernandez appeared in three games and had one poor, one average and one good performance, from an earned runs allowed viewpoint.  But his peripherals were rather ugly.  He gave up almost twice as many hits (19) as innings pitched (11) to go with four walks for a 2.09 WHIP and .404 BAA.  On the other hand he sported a whopping .559 BABIP and a dERA of 2.15 (4.91 ERA).  Hernandez turned 22 in April.

 

While Eddie Degerman is putting up excellent overall numbers at Quad Cities, the key number to track is his walks.  Degerman was held back at Extended Spring Training at the season's start due to serious control issues.  He went from averaging 1.72 walks every nine innings the last report (his first reporting period) to walking 4.77 this reporting period.  That is a significant jump.

 

Prospect Watch

Eddie Degerman – three G, one GS, 0-1, 11.1 IP, three H, two R, two ER, two HR, 0 HB, six BB, 14 SO,   1.59 ERA, 5.09 dERA, 0.79 WHIP, .083 BAA, .050 BABIP, 4.77 BB/9 IP

Brad Furnish – three G, two GS, 0-0, 11.1 IP, 10 H, two R, one ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, two BB, nine SO, 0.79 ERA, 2.23 dERA, .238 BAA, .303 BABIP, 4.5:1 K/BB

Tyler Herron – three G, two GS, 1-0, 13.2 IP, nine H, three R, three ER, 0 HR, 0 HB, four BB, 11 SO, 1.98 ERA, 2.47 dERA, .191 BAA, .250 BABIP, 2.75:1 K/BB  

Blake King – pitchin' Not.

P.J. Walters – four G, two GS, 1-0, 16.2 IP, 11 H, four R, three ER, 0 HR, three HB, four BB, 17 SO, 1.63 ERA, 1.90 dERA, .190 BAA, .268 BABIP, 4.25:1 K/BB

 

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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 uconncard@yahoo.com.

 

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