St. Louis Cardinals: Surveying the Crops

Dustin Mattison's weekly look around the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system.

Looking around the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, Tyler Henley's performance at Double-A Springfield seems to be going unnoticed. Also, Pete Kozma continues to struggle while Charles Cutler has little else to prove in the Quad Cities.

To me, Henley is one of the most underrated players in the system. A highly decorated player coming out of Rice, injuries have seemed to be the only thing to slow him down. "Psycho T" got off to a slow start this season but has been punishing Texas League pitching since mid-April. In his last nine games, Henley is hitting .429 with eight extra base hits and 11 RBIs. As impressive, the 23-year-old has 11 walks on the season compared to only 10 strikeouts. Only a logjam in the organizational outfield will keep him from Memphis this season.


Though he suffered through a terrible April, Jon Jay has found his groove. During the month of May, the former Miami Hurricane is hitting .313.

With the return of Donovan Solano to Springfield, the organization should look to send Pete Kozma back to Palm Beach. Kozma has only eight hits in his last 10 games and five of them came in two games. In 23 at bats, the former first round pick is hitting only .214/.261/.238.

Curt Smith is hitting .351 during his first 10 Double-A games. Wow, he is looking like he is going to be a big time steal. Smith is getting work in the outfield and reports are that he is more than handling his own.

Joining Smith at Springfield is Matt Arburr. Fresh off winning Florida State League Player of the week honors, Arburr will fill in for the injured Mark Hamilton.

Charles Cutler seems primed to join former battery mate Casey Mulligan at Palm Beach. The left-handed hitting catcher seems to have little left to prove against Midwest League pitching. The 22-year-old is hitting .359/.415/.452 with a 15-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

After a horrid start, Alex Castellanos appears to be figuring things out. He is 6-18 with a home run, five runs scored, five RBI and three stolen bases in his last five games. Castellanos is a tremendous athlete and the team needs him to keep this streak going.


Evan MacLane has been a nice surprise down at Memphis. After posting an ERA approaching seven with Reno, the southpaw has posted a stingy 1.56 mark since joining the Redbirds. His 25-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio is really impressive.

After starting the year in the big leagues, Josh Kinney is beginning to find his rhythm at Triple-A. He could be a key factor in St. Louis down the stretch.

Overexposed? Jess Todd has allowed six runs in his last five innings.

Look for the next Springfield Cardinal heading to Memphis to be Tyler Norrick. The southpaw has 35 strikeouts in 28.2 innings while recording a better than 2-to-1 groundball-to-fly ball ratio.

In his last two starts, Brian Broderick has allowed only one earned run covering 14 innings. During that span, the Arizona native has given up only nine hits while walking only one. At the rate players are getting promoted, he may find himself in the Ozarks sooner rather than later.

One of the more talked about late round selections, Samuel Freeman, seems to have a handle on his control problems. In his last nine outings, he has posted a 9-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

I am really looking forward to following the progression of Brett Zawacki. The Cardinals paid him well above slot to keep him from going to Arizona State after drafting him in 2007. The right-hander struggled during his first full season in pro ball complicated by missing three weeks due to a spider bite. He makes his full-season debut at the Quad Cities on Wednesday.

What's up with Josh Wilson?

Born to be Wild

Two of the top arms in the system are known more for their command issues than their strikeouts. Gary Daley and Blake King both have power fastballs from the right side but to say the have had control problems is an understatement.

Working out of the Palm Beach bullpen, King has posted a 1.27 ERA to go along with a 28-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 21.1 innings is nothing to write home about. Daley has a 7.18 ERA with 30-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The walks are slightly better but he is getting hard in the Midwest League, a circuit he should be dominating.

Dustin can be contacted at

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