With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up play last week, it is now a good time to look back and analyze the performance of the St. Louis Cardinals farmhands. The team's position players all put together solid performances while showing good power numbers and hitting a combined .362 with runners in scoring position.
On the rubber, the results were very much the opposite. The organization sent three southpaws to work out of the bullpen along with a former first-round pick who was hoping to find some consistency. As a group, the four combined for an ERA of nearly seven and were tagged for nine home runs.
In the Box
Brett Wallace got
off to a slow start but ended his campaign on a hot streak. In his last 12 games, the 2008
first-round pick hit .417 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. On November 4, he put together a
four-hit, six RBI outburst. The
concern, Wallace did strike out 27 times in 94 at bats and hit only .187 against
left-handers, but it was just over 11 at bats. Overall, the Cardinals have to be very
pleased with the way Wallace responded to the level of competition he faced in
Tyler Greene had
been something of an enigma to Cardinal fans until he broke out at Double-A
Springfield during this past summer.
After struggling at
moved around the diamond playing short as well as second and third. Seems that he went to
Shane Robinson was another player who had a breakout 2008. The outfielder showed off his speed with eight stolen bases in eight attempts. Honing his craft as a potential leadoff man, the 24-year-old walked more times than he struck out, 16-to-13, and posted a very respectable .372 on base percentage.
Robinson came through in the clutch with a blistering .441 average with runners in scoring position. Unexplainably, the former Florida State Seminole hit only .188 against southpaws. Probably the odd man out among the Cardinal minor league outfielders, he could prove himself valuable to a team looking for a speedy centerfielder.
Steven Hill continued to show superb power while donning the "tools of ignorance." After missing time due to injury in 2008, he was able to get 46 at bats in the fall league and was able to take full advantage of the opportunity. The 23-year-old finished with an isolated power number of .305 and an OPS of .991. Though it was a limited number at bats, Hill absolutely crushed left-handed pitching. He had seven hits in nine at bats with four of those hits going for extra bases.
Contact was an issue as Hill struck out in 28% of his at bats. Also, his permanent position seems to be still up in the air as his play behind the plate is still a work in progress.
On the Mound
Cardinals sent three southpaws for relief duties in
Justin Fiske got a late start to the fall season after missing time early on due to a shoulder issue. When he did return to action, Fiske really struggled with consistency. The 24-year-old finished with an ERA close to five. Left-handed hitters tagged him for a .350 average. The former indy-baller struggled with his control, walking five while striking out only eight in 11 innings.
Brad Furnish was knocked around after a good stint with Double-A Springfield in 2008. The hitters in the AFL batted .323 against him contributing to his 7.47 ERA. Furnish struggled with his command as well, finishing with a 12-to-7 strikeout to groundball ratio.
Tyler Norrick was
hoping to make up for lost time after pitching only 22.1 innings during the 2008
season. Though Norrick did put up
excellent strikeout totals in the AFL, 20 in 16 innings, the rest of his
performance was not what the organization was hoping for. The
first-round pick Adam Ottavino was
never able to find any consistency at
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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