Any week in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system has plenty of storylines and highlights, two of the top stories of the week that caught my eye involved the Quad Cities roster.
First, it is really nice to see that Josh Wilson has reconsidered and is back on the hill in Des Moines. After retiring during last season, the 2005 second round pick returned to the bump with four innings of work on May 8. Like most Cardinals fans, I am anxious for him to show the talent that made him the 70th overall selection nearly four years ago.
Charles Cutler has been red hot for the River Bandits. The backstop is hitting .387 over his last eight games including a walk off home run in extra innings on Saturday night. Cutler's .338 is the fifth best mark in the Midwest League.
Daniel Descalso is a beast. He is quickly establishing himself as an important prospect in the system and a player Cardinal Nation should take note of. The former third round pick is hitting .368/.415/.602 at a premium position.
Descalso's teammate, Steven Hill, ranks second in the Texas League in slugging and home runs.
Though he made his big league debut last season, Nick Stavinoha seems to have been all but forgotten. A rough April didn't help things but he enjoying the warmer weather of May. So far this month, the former Bayou Bengal is hitting .333 plus he stroked a game-winning hit in three games during Memphis recent road trip.
Another Memphis slow starter, Bryan Anderson, is picking it up with a .391 average this month. More encouraging is his .652 slugging percentage since the first of May.
Curt Smith is out to prove his professional debut was no fluke and Florida State League pitchers are paying the price. Smith ranks among the league leaders in home runs and batting average. The 39th round selection finds his place among such more highly touted prospects as Mike Stanton, Jesus Montero, Yonder Alonso, and Reese Havens.
Osvaldo Morales just keeps driving in runs with 26 in the same amount of games.
Paul Cruz has definitely come back to earth. On May 3, the outfielder was hitting .370 but has seen his average drop to .304 over the last week.
After struggling mightily out of the gate, it is good to see Andrew Brown back on track. The former Cornhusker has hit in seven straight and has his average up to .317.
Pete Kozma has been slow to get going at Double-A but his 10% strikeout rate is a good sign.
Is there anything else to prove at Class-A for Casey Mulligan? Though he is the team's closer, he is leading the team in strikeouts with 26 in only 12 innings. Oh and by the way, he has walked only two. That's Stephen Strasburg-like. His eight saves are the second best total in the Midwest League. Time to promote him to Palm Beach.
Jess Todd looks just about ready to join the Cardinals big league bullpen. The former Razorback has not allowed a run in his last 10 outings while racking up six saves and 15 strikeouts.
Kevin Thomas has proved to be human but still has the fourth best ERA (1.82) amongst qualifiers in the MWL. I still don't like that he has only 13 strikeouts and nine walks.
Tyler Norrick is quickly re-establishing in the Springfield bullpen. With a fastball in the mid-nineties from the left side, he has 26 K's in 22 innings and has notched three saves.
Nick Additon has to be happy the month of April is gone and May is here. The southpaw posted an ERA over seven in the first month of the season but has been all but unhittable since the calendar flipped. In 12 innings this month, Additon has allowed only one hit and struck out 11.
Don't Forget Me
That has to be the mantra of Springfield pitcher Trey Hearne. In 2006, the 28th round pick posted a 12-3 record and a 2.25 ERA at the Quad Cities. He followed that up with a disappointing season at Palm Beach where he posted an ERA close to six.
After spending 2008 on loan to the Mexican league, the 25-year-old is making life difficult on the hitters of the Texas League. Hearne set a franchise record with 13 strikeouts in a six-inning outing this week. On the season, he has posted a 2.79 ERA with 32 strikeouts and only seven walks as both a starter and a reliever. Since rejoining the rotation, he has a 1.74 ERA with an outstanding 16-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Hearne ranks fifth in the Texas League in ERA,
Dustin can be contacted at email@example.com.
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