As a whole, the pitchers did seem to outshine the hitters in the early going. One of the pitchers became a top ten prospect in the Cardinals' organization. Four of the picks were ranked in The Birdhouse's Top 40 Prospects. One of the picks posted the second-best ERA in the system.
Below, the player's name is listed and to the right is the round he was drafted. The picks are listed numerically by the round selected.
Clayton Mortensen (1S)
The 22-year-old's first assignment was at Batavia where he impressed in limited action. In 20 innings, Mortensen fanned 23 batters while posting a 1.77 ERA. Known as a groundball specialist, he proved it by inducing a groundout 72% of the time. The only negative regarding his stay in the New York-Penn League was the 11 free passes he gave out. On to the Quad Cities, where Mortensen found his control. For the Swing, the Gonzaga product walked only eight batters while striking out 45 in 40 innings. Overall, Mortensen posted an ERA of 2.67 while striking out 68 in 60.2 innings between the two levels. Also, he posted a superb groundball to flyball ratio of 3.31 to 1. The Birdhouse ranked Mortensen as the number nine prospect in the Cardinals' system.
David Kopp (2)
Pitched in only two games, totaling four innings for Batavia before being shut down. Kopp was limited due to an ankle injury and shoulder discomfort. The 21-year-old (he turned 22 in October) did return to action during the Winter Instructional League. The former Clemson Tiger was rated as the number 36 prospect in The Birdhouse Top 40.
Jess Todd (2)
Todd was assigned to Batavia and excelled from the beginning. The 21-year-old logged 69 strikeouts in 58 innings while allowing only 14 walks. Todd was a New York-Penn League Mid-Season All-Star and was the Pitcher of the Week for July 30. His strikeout total was the ninth best in the league and his 2.78 ERA would have ranked seventh had he logged enough innings to qualify. The former Arkansas Razorback finished with a WHIP of 1.07, which would have ranked fifth in the league. During the Winter Instructional League, Todd was overpowering, as witnessed by his 15 Ks in 10 innings. Maybe even more impressive is that he did not walk a batter. Todd was chosen as The Birdhouse's number 18 prospect as well as the Batavia Starting Pitcher of the Year.
Thomas Eager (5)
Appeared in 18 games, including nine starts, for Batavia. Eager finished with a record of 1-6 and a 4.30 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 60 innings. The 22-year-old allowed too many base runners; he gave up 69 hits while walking 27. The California native did fare much better in his nine starts, posting a 2.48 ERA in 36 innings. Eager shined during the Instructional League with a 10-to-1 K to BB ratio.
Deryk Hooker (7)
Hooker dominated the Gulf Coast League, fanning 47 batters in 31 innings. The 18-year showed good command, allowing only 11 walks while posting an ERA of 2.32. The big righty dominated lefties, allowing only a .071 batting average against. His ERA would have ranked seventh and his WHIP of 1.26 would have ranked 20th in the Gulf Coast League if he would have logged enough innings to qualify. The Birdhouse ranked him as the number 32 prospect in the Cardinals system.
Adam Reifer (11)
Was considered a first to second-round talent who had elbow troubles and was shut down during the college season. Saw no action for the Cardinals this summer.
Brett Zawacki (12)
Signed just before the deadline for $215,000. Appeared in only two games for the Gulf Coast League team. Zawacki fanned three batters and posted a 3.00 ERA in three innings.
Josh Dew (14)
Looks to be a mid-round find after an impressive showing at Batavia. Dew finished second in the NY-Penn League with 15 saves while posting a 1.80 ERA. In 25 innings, Dew notched 32 strikeouts and posted an outstanding WHIP of 0.80. The 22-year-old did get roughed up during the Instructional League but fanned ten batters in six innings compared to only one walk. The Troy product was named The Birdhouse Batavia Relief Pitcher of the Year as well as being recognized as Baseball America Short Season All-Star.
Chuckie Fick (15)
Started the year at Johnson City, allowing only a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings. He struggled with command, walking six compared to 12 Ks. The 21-year-old was then promoted to the Midwest League and continued to be productive. For the Swing, he allowed an ERA of 2.16 in 25 innings. His strikeout total fell to only 12 but he improved his command allowing only five walks. Combined over the two levels, Fick posted a 1.85 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 39 innings. The California State Northridge product allowed only 36 hits and an almost 3-to-1 groundball to strikeout ratio.
Brian Broderick (21)
Originally assigned to Johnson City, Broderick posted a 1.75 ERA in 36 innings, with 23 Ks and only four walks. The 21-year-old was then promoted to Batavia and continued to show excellent command. For the Muckdogs, Broderick posted a 10-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio (30 compared to three) in 31 innings. Overall, Broderick posted a 2.55 ERA with 53 strikeouts compared to seven walks in 67 innings. That 2.55 ERA ranked second in the Cardinals' system and was one of the reasons he was named The Birdhouse's Johnson City Starting Pitcher of the Year.
J.D. Stambaugh (25)
Stambaugh was quietly productive in his first professional assignment at Batavia. The Brigham Young product appeared in 19 games including nine starts with a 3.15 ERA. Stambaugh had 53 Ks compared to eight walks in 66 innings, finishing with a WHIP of 1.21.
Dylan Gonzalez (31)
The Pepperdine product appeared in 20 games out of the Johnson City bullpen. Those 20 appearances ranked tied for sixth in the Appalachian League. The 22-year-old finished with 20 strikeouts, eight walks, and a 2.66 ERA in 20 innings.
Josh Fritsche (33)
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy was sent to Batavia where he struggled to find his groove. The 22-year-old posted a record of 0-4 with an ERA of 6.00. On a positive note, Fritsche did have 19 strikeouts in 18 innings.
Steve Hill (34)
Hill did not have as good a season on the hill as his namesake did at the plate. In 8.2 innings at Johnson City, Hill registered a 7.27 ERA but did fan 10. The 23-year-old (he turned 24 in November) posted a 2.80-to-1 groundball to flyball ratio.
Mike Blazek (35)
The 18-year-old was outstanding in his first pro season and looks like another late-round find for the Cardinals. Blazek posted 42 strikeouts in 34 innings to go with his 2.60 ERA. His ERA would have ranked in the Gulf Coast League top ten if he had qualified. On August 19, Blazek was electric, fanning 10 in five innings of work.
Rigoberto Lugo (39)
Appeared in 14 games including one start, totaling 19 innings for the Gulf Coast League team. Lugo really had trouble with his command, walking 19 compared to 17 strikeouts. Lugo finished with a record of 2-2 and ERA of 6.98.
Ramon Delgado (41)
The 20-year-old (he turned 21 in September) was assigned to the GCL and had decent success. In ten innings over ten games, Delgado had 11 Ks with a 4.50 ERA.
Davis Bilardello (43)
Appeared in 26 games, tied for the third highest number of appearances in the New York-Penn League. Had a record of 3-2 with an ERA just over four in 30 innings of work. The 22-year-old needs to work on his command; he finished with 18 strikeouts compared to 16 bases on balls. The left-hander held lefty hitters to a .179 average with a 1.46 ERA.
Jameson Maj (45)
Was a late sign, appearing in only two games, striking out two in 1.1 innings. Maj competed in the Texas Collegiate League before signing, putting up impressive numbers. In 24 innings, the 22-year-old fanned 26 batters while allowing only five earned runs and three bases on balls.
Ronald Russell (49)
Played as a 17-year-old in the GCL. Pitched in seven innings over eight games, finishing with a 2.71 WHIP. Too young with too small a sample size to pass judgment.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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