During 2008, the Johnson City Cardinals had a total of nineteen different position players. Sixteen of those
players had the majority of their at-bats (AB) with
The three players that played for
The list below shows the names, primary position, number of at-bats (AB), batting average (AVG), on-base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage (SLG), fielding errors (E), and age in years (y) and months (m) for each of the sixteen qualifiers. The list is ordered from top to bottom by the number of at-bats.
|Niko Vasquez||SS||208||0.317||0.416||0.462||9||19y 7 m|
|Curt Smith||1B||193||0.378||0.418||0.585||5||22y 1m|
|Alex Castellanos||3B||181||0.298||0.354||0.536||16||22y 2m|
|Edgar Lara||RF||161||0.267||0.337||0.429||2||19y 7m|
|Joey Hage||LF||158||0.272||0.299||0.323||5||19y 8m|
|Osvaldo Morales||DH||152||0.250||0.345||0.579||5||21y 3m|
|Guillermo Toribio||146||0.212||0.314||0.226||7||21y 7m|
|Ivan Castro||C||139||0.237||0.296||0.360||2||20y 11m|
|Paul Cruz||OF||131||0.183||0.285||0.260||2||23y 1m|
|Jarred Bogany||COF||123||0.260||0.333||0.382||2||21y 9m|
|Brett Lilley||2B||119||0.319||0.445||0.387||5||23y 2m|
|Jack Cawley||C||109||0.330||0.426||0.413||7||22y 7m|
|Jairo Martinez||COF||85||0.247||0.369||0.412||0||21y 4m|
|Matt Rigoli||3B||83||0.205||0.343||0.337||8||22y 11m|
|Rickey Noland||C||39||0.231||0.354||0.359||4||22y 11m|
It was a very good year for the
Rickey Noland was one of only two American born non-drafted free agents and because of that and the fact that he was third on the depth chart at catcher, he really didn't get much playing time. Noland appears to have good strike zone judgment (four walks, six strikeouts, and 7th in OBP) but he is challenged in the field (four passed balls and four errors), didn't show much power or average, and will be 23 years old next month. Noland was invited to the instructional league this fall.
Matt Rigoli was basically third on the depth chart at third base and first base so much like Noland, he didn't get much playing time. He doesn't have very good range and he struggled in the field at both positions (eight errors). Rigoli's bat showed some signs of power (two home runs) but not enough to displace any playing time from his competition at the positions he played.
Martinez has some power
(5th in SLG) but he doesn't make nearly enough contact (35% strikeout
rate). He has a tendency to be
pull-happy and often struggles to keep his head down and on the ball.
Jarred Bogany was the only other non-drafted American-born free agent but he received some early playing time due to injuries and got off to a good start at the beginning of the year (.286 AVG through five games). He has good gap-to-gap power and speed. He finished 6th in doubles (10) and 5th in stolen bases (5). Bogany was invited to the instructional league this fall, most likely to work on reducing his strikeout rate (34%).
Paul Cruz was last on the team in batting average (.183) and is already 23 years old. He hit .268 in August and .286 in his last ten games so his bat was improving at the end of the year. He is left-handed and has pretty good speed in both the field and on the base paths. He only had seven extra base hits in 131 ABs so, as you might expect, his outfield defense is quite good. Cruz has good range in the outfield and an accurate and strong-enough arm. He can play centerfield.
Ivan Castro was, by far, the best defensive catcher. He combines a strong arm and quick release with relatively accurate throws. His struggles are at the plate. He has good power when he makes contact (33% of his hits were extra base hits). The only problem is that he doesn't make enough solid contact. Many of his swings are late and the result is often a weak fly ball or pop-up to the right side of the field. Castro is the fourth youngest on the team but will turn 21 years old next month.
Guillermo Toribio was an absolute terror at the plate (.375 AVG) and on the base paths (eight stolen bases) in June but it all came apart after that as he finished the year 13-for-98 with just three more stolen bases. He is a switch hitter and pretty good groundball fielder. Toribio hit .318 last June in the GCL but also finished with a much lower overall average. His game is that of a "slap" (opposite field line drive type) hitter with above-average speed.
Morales started the year with
Hage spent his second year
Edgar Lara has a cannon for a right arm. He, like Hage, is also just 19 years old. Contact is where he needs to improve (37% strikeout rate). He hit .364 in August to improve his AVG to .267 but he really struggled with runners on-base (.218) and runners in scoring position (.170). Lara finished 4th in home runs (5) and 5th in SLG (.429) and doubles (11).
Mitchell spent his third
consecutive season playing for
Jack Cawley, 5th – Cawley had a very good year at the plate despite getting to play in only half of the games. Cawley finished 2nd in AVG (.330), 2nd in OBP (.426), and 6th in SLG (.413). He, like many catchers, has an excellent eye at the plate (18 walks and just 20 strikeouts). Cawley doesn't have much speed and he struggled defensively (13 passed balls and 7 errors) but his ability to keep base runners in check is at least average.
Lilley, 4th – Lilley
was on-base machine (.445 – 1st). He also ranked as the toughest to strike
out (12%). He was the oldest at 23
years old but his defensive range and ability to turn the double-play at second
base was excellent. He has good,
but not great speed, and bats left-handed.
He finished 3rd in AVG (.319) while striking out fewer times
(14) than he walked (16). Lilley
went on to post an encouraging .296 AVG in 54 AB with
Castellanos, 3rd –
Castellanos started the year poorly but put together an incredible mid-season
stolen base and hit streak.
Castellanos was hitting just .252 with two stolen bases on July 23 (Game
36). Just fifteen games later,
Castellanos had improved his AVG to .313 and his stolen bases to eighteen. He was soon promoted to
Vasquez, 2nd – Vasquez
started the year playing some of the smoothest and unflashy shortstop I have
seen in a long time in
Vasquez doesn't have a lot of speed and his strikeout rate (25%) could use some improvement but he is only 19 years old. His .317 AVG (4th) would have been ten to twenty points higher with a little more speed. Vasquez led the team in games (55), AB (208), runs (42), doubles (16), and walks (29). He also finished 4th in stolen bases (8), OBP (.416), and SLG (.462). With a little more arm strength, he should be able to continue to play shortstop for a few more full season minor league years.
Smith, 1st – Smith was
the key that kept the
Smith's biggest future challenge will be establishing himself in the field. He is not very fast, not very quick, and often has trouble with his footwork and his hands at first base. He only committed five errors at first base but there were several instances of missed double plays that were not errors.
Smith led the team in six offensive categories (hits, RBI, total bases, SLG, AVG, and OPS) while finishing in the top five in virtually every other offensive category except walks and stolen bases. He is 22 years old now so he will likely be challenged next year with a full season assignment. Establishing himself in the field while maintaining his hitting and slugging performance should be his goal for 2009.
Note: Master article with all 2008 Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Players of the Year and the schedule for daily announcements: link. (This link is also permanently located at the lower left of The Birdhouse home page.)
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