Johnson City Cardinals Report - Week Three

This week's report on the short-season Appalachian League's Johnson City Cardinals from our on-site beat reporter, Shawn Kerrick. Prior to his promotion to Batavia, first baseman Charlie Pelt repeated as the position player of the week.

The Johnson City Cardinals finished the week (Sunday through Saturday) with a record of 1-3 to take their overall record to 3-6.  Thursday's game against the Burlington Royals was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on August 2.  The team had scheduled off-days on both Friday and Saturday.  The Cardinals are currently in third place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League – five and half games behind the Elizabethton Twins and two and half games behind the Kingsport Mets.  The offense is currently seventh in the nine-team league in batting average (.250), having dropped three positions and .028 points in just four games.  The offense is eighth in the league in runs, doubles, runs-batted-in, strikeouts, and on-base percentage.  The pitching ranks sixth in earned run average (5.59), third in walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (1.76 WHIP), and first in home runs allowed (three). 


I was able to attend the three of the four games in person and those observations provide the basis for this report.  Twenty-seven of the twenty-nine active players on the roster played this week.  Starting pitcher Matt North is listed as "day-to-day" by Pitching Coach Sid Monge due to tendinitis in his right arm.  Relief pitcher Steve Hill was the only healthy player to see no action this week, as far as I know. 


The Week in Review

Game Six:  Sunday's game was the second of the two-game series in Bluefield, West Virginia against the Orioles.  Johnson City jumped ahead by a score of 3-0 in the second inning but went on to lose a close game by a score of 6-5.  Left fielder Beau Riportella was the offensive star of the game - going 3-for-5 with one run, one walk, and one run-batted-in.  First baseman Charlie Pelt and right fielder Jon Edwards each added two hits apiece.  Pelt extended his hitting streak to six games.  Closer Pete Parise was the pitcher of the game even though he was not used in the closer role.  Parise retired two of the three batters he faced in the eighth inning – allowing one walk and preventing one of Broderick's inherited runners from scoring.  Starter Tyler Leach, reliever LaCurtis Mayes, and second starter Brian Broderick each posted WHIPs of 2 or more.  Broderick (0-1, 3.68 ERA) took the loss.  Sid Monge told me that Leach is the only starting pitcher of the eight pitchers in the Johnson City tandem rotation that will really start every fourth game.


Game Seven:  Monday's game was the first of a two-game series against the Danville Braves in Johnson City.  The story of this game can be summarized in one word: errors.  There were twelve in the game – three by Danville and nine by the Cardinals.  The Cardinals committed five errors in a fourteen-batter, eight-run, fourth inning that found most fans squirming in their seats and shaking their heads.  Remarkably, only four of the eight runs that inning were unearned.  The Cardinals lost the game by a score of 15-3.  I gave right fielder Jon Edwards the offensive star of the game award on the strength of a 400-foot or greater home run over the left field fence.  The Danville left fielder never moved.  Center fielder Travis Mitchell added two hits but neither of them were hit well and one was the result of the Danville pitcher not properly covering first base.  Second tandem starter Jose Mateo received my pitcher-of-the-game award, despite giving up four runs and one earned run in that infamous fourth inning.  Mateo had three errors committed while he was pitching the fourth – forcing him to essentially get six outs in one inning.  


Game Eight:  Tuesday's game was the second of the Danville Braves series.  A close game until the top of the ninth inning, when Danville scored four runs on four hits and two walks against second tandem starter Senger Peralta (0-2, 15.88 ERA).  Johnson City lost the game by a score of 7-2.  Lead-off hitter and second baseman Jose Garcia was the offensive star – going 2-for-4 with a solo home run that traveled about 350 feet into the netting just above the left field wall.  First baseman Charlie Pelt extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 1-for-1 with three walks.  Starter Mark Diapoules had one of the most interesting games on the mound so far this year and has probably earned the nickname "Wild Thing" as a result.  Diapoules gave up only two hits and one earned run over four and one third innings pitched but he added three walks, four wild pitches, and four hit batters with his 63 pitches.  Relief pitcher Chuckie Fick received my vote for pitcher-of-the-game with his 18 pitches over one and two thirds innings while pitching in a 2-2 ball game.  Fick coaxed four groundball outs and one strikeout while allowing just one hit and one walk.   


Game Nine:  Trying to halt a five-game losing streak, the Cardinals began a two-game series against the Burlington Royals on Wednesday night.  The first close home game of the year ended up in Cardinal victory by a score of 3-2.  The Cardinals scored all three runs in the bottom of the first inning and then were able to hold on for the win despite committing five errors – two in the top of the ninth.  First baseman Charlie Pelt, in what turned out to be his final game as a Johnson City Cardinal – even though he didn't realize it at the time – was the star of the game.  Pelt finished the game going only 1-for-4 but his lone hit was a three-run home run.  The 380-foot shot to right field extended Pelt's hit streak to nine games and gave starter Jose Arredondo all the cushion he needed to become pitcher-of-the-game.  Arredondo (1-1, 5.68 ERA) was regularly throwing both his fastball and off-speed pitch for strikes over five innings pitched.  Arredondo averaged only 3.2 pitches per batter-faced while recording five strikeouts and no walks.  Closer Pete Parise recorded his second save of the year in as many opportunities by averaging only 2.6 pitches per batter over one and two thirds innings.  Parise coaxed two groundball outs, recorded two swinging strikeouts, and started an impressive 1-6-3 double play on a sacrifice bunt attempt in the ninth inning. 


Players of the Week

Each week, the roster is categorized into four categories:  Starting pitchers, relievers, starting position players, and reserves.  I then select one player from each category that warrants special notice as the Johnson City player of the week.


Starting pitchers eligible for selection:  Tyler Leach, Brian Broderick, Jose Mateo, Omar Javier, Senger Peralta, Mark Diapoules, Nick Additon and Jose Arredondo. 


Jose Arredondo is the starting pitcher of the week.  Five innings pitched, one run, 0.60 WHIP, and a win pretty much sealed the deal for Arredondo.  Jose Mateo followed up his week-two pitcher-of-the-week award with a second good outing this week.  Mateo scattered five hits (one double) over four innings in the error filled game to come up second this week. 


Relief pitchers eligible for selection:  Chuckie Fick, LaCurtis Mayes, Wladimir Mendoza, Pete Parise and Dylan Gonzalez. 


Pete Parise is the reliever of the week.  Parise appeared in three of the four games this week, allowing only two hits and one walk over three innings pitched.  Parise inherited four runners this week, allowed none of them to score, added a save, and extended his streak to six inherited runners with no runners scoring.   


Position players eligible for selection:  2B-Jose Garcia, SS-Domnit Bolivar, 1B-Charlie Pelt, 3B/DH-Nick Vera, RF-Jon Edwards, CF-Travis Mitchell, LF-Beau Riportella, and C-Paul Vazquez. 


As much as I wanted to award this to a different player this week than last week, I just couldn't do it for two reasons.  First, he deserved it again, leading the team in virtually every offensive category for the second week in a row.  Second, he was just promoted to Batavia so this will be the last time he can win it.  First baseman Charlie Pelt gets my vote for Johnson City's starting position player of the week.  Pelt was in the top ten of the Appy League in six different offensive categories and leads the team in nine different offensive categories.  Pelt had a batting average of .406 to go with a .500 on-base percentage and a .594 slugging percentage. 


Reserve players eligible for selection:  3B/DH-Mike Folli, C/DH-Casey Mulligan, PH-Adron Chambers, C/DH-Robert Sanzillo, RF-Brian Buck, and 3B-Matt Arburr. 


Mike Folli is the reserve player of the week.  It wasn't so much that Folli performed all that great, going 2-for-9 (.222) with a triple, a walk, and two stolen bases, as much as it was that the other reserves were a combined for 1-for-21 with nine strikeouts.  Folli is starting to look like a Mike McCoy utility-type player – having played second base, third base, and center field (exhibition game) so far this year. 



Scout and manager Joe Almaraz signed right-handed pitcher Ray Silva - an undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas-Pan American. 


Promoted first baseman Charlie Pelt to Batavia of the New York-Penn League.

Promoted closer Pete Parise to Batavia of the New York-Penn League.

Acquired infielder Tony Cruz from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

Acquired outfielder Joey Hage from the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. 



There are no updates on shortstop Pete Kozma.  We still expect him to join the Johnson City Cardinals when and if he signs. 


Errors – a whopping twenty-seven in just nine games.  An average of three errors per game is clearly an unacceptable number.  They have been in all aspects of the game and by fourteen different players.  There have been nine throwing errors, eleven fielding errors, five pick-off errors, and two catcher's interference errors.  Shortstop Domnit Bolivar leads the team with six errors (four this week). 


The team continues to struggle with getting two-out runs-batted-in with runners in scoring position.  They have had thirty-three opportunities so far and have delivered only three times.  That computes to a .091 average.  The team was 0-for-16 this week.  Edwards, Mitchell, and Vera lead the team in this category at 0-for-5. 


The team has had a radar gun mounted in the press box behind home plate and a pitch-velocity readout on the scoreboard over the last few years but the team told me that when the outfield wall and scoreboard fell last year, the city of Johnson City decided not to repair the velocity display.  Such is life in the low-minor leagues. 


Who is hot

P-Pete Parise (promoted to Batavia, .125 batting average against)

1B-Charlie Pelt (promoted to Batavia, .474 batting average with runners in scoring position)

SP-Jose Mateo (seventh in league in ERA with 2.00, fifth in league in strikeouts with 10, and sixth in league in WHIP with 1.22)

SP-Mark Diapoules (fifth in league in ERA with 1.13, eighth in league in WHIP with 1.25, .056 batting average against with runners in scoring position)

RP-LaCurtis Mayes (ninth in league in ERA with 2.25, .214 batting average against)

LF-Beau Riportella (sixth in league with three stolen bases)

RP-Chuckie Fick (12.00 groundball-out to fly-ball-out ratio)


Who is not

SP-Senger Peralta (two losses, eleven runs, ten earned runs, .429 batting average against)

SP-Omar Javier (ten runs, seven earned runs, .333 batting average against)

RP-Wladimir Mendoza (five walks, .333 batting average against)

SP-Mark Diapoules (five hit batters – although two were in the "baggy jersey" – tuck in those shirts!)

3B- Nick Vera (4-for his last-31, .129, after going 4-for-4 with two doubles in his first game)

LF- Beau Riportella (.077 in Johnson City and 2-for-16 when I am watching…)

The whole team with two outs and runners in scoring position.



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