Cardinals Recent Arizona Fall League History

Looking back at how Cardinals prospects fared in the Arizona Fall League since 2003.

The Arizona Fall League has a proven player developmental track record and dozens of future Cardinals have participated, back to the early years with J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero (1996), Kerry Robinson (1997-98), and So Taguchi (2002).

Chris Carpenter also suited up in 1996 when a member of the Toronto Blue Jays system and rotation-mate Adam Wainwright pitched in 2004.

Then-unknown Albert Pujols played for the 2000 Scottsdale Scorpions as a standout third base prospect and was later named to the league's Hall of Fame in 2004, the only Cardinal enshrined to date.

In total, over 1,700 former Arizona Fall Leaguers have reached the major leagues including 141 future MLB All-Stars. 38 of them were on the 2009 teams that took the field at Busch Stadium for the 2009 MLB All-Star Game on July 14.

In recent years, the Cardinals were part of the Grand Canyon Rafters in 2003, the Mesa Solar Sox in 2004, the Surprise Scorpions in 2005, the Peoria Saguaros in 2006, the Solar Sox again in 2007 and were back with the Saguaros last fall.

2008 Cardinals AFL participants were pitchers Brad Furnish, Tyler Norrick, Justin Fiske and Adam Ottavino, catcher Steven Hill, shortstop Tyler Greene, third baseman Brett Wallace and outfielder Shane Robinson. Springfield skipper Ron ‘Pop' Warner managed the Saguaros.

Among the Cardinals players who competed in the AFL in 2007 were pitchers Mitchell Boggs, Stuart Pomeranz and Jason Motte, infielders Mark Hamilton and Jarrett Hoffpauir and outfielder Amaury Cazana (Marti). Then-minor league pitching coordinator Mark Riggins coached.

In 2006, the Cardinals sent the following players to Arizona: starting pitcher Stuart Pomeranz and relievers Dennis Dove, Eric Haberer and Mike Parisi along with shortstop Brendan Ryan and outfielders Cazana and Nick Stavinoha.

The Cardinals assigned pitchers Andy Cavazos, Cory Doyne, Chris Lambert and Rich Scalamandre, outfielder Cody Haerther, third baseman Travis Hanson and catcher Gabe Johnson to the AFL in 2005.

The 2004 Cardinals AFL contingent included future major leaguers Chris Duncan and Adam Wainwright plus Cavazos. The year before, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney and Skip Schumaker all competed.

Cards AFL stat summary

Here we have the leader among the Cardinals participants in the AFL over each of the last six years – the time I have been attending games in person. We'll start with the offense.

BA Rk OBP Rk SLG Rk
2008 Wallace 0.309 30 Wallace 0.381 30 Wallace 0.585 19
2007 Hoffpauir 0.236 37 Hoffpauir 0.368 19 Hoffpauir 0.255 53
2006 Cazana 0.345 7 Cazana 0.378 17 Cazana 0.571 4
2005 Hanson 0.261 37 Hanson 0.306 40 Hanson 0.359 39
2004 Gorecki 0.363 6 Gorecki 0.449 Gorecki 0.569
2003 Schumaker 0.220 Schumaker 0.330 Boyd  0.333
2.7 PA/G

Only in 2006 with Cazana and in 2004 with Reid Gorecki (who began the fall on the taxi squad), did the Cardinals have a batter that placed in the league top ten. While Brett Wallace hit a respectable .309 batting mark in 2008, that was only 30th-best in the AFL.

The 2003 results are not a typo. Schumaker actually had the best average of the three Cardinals position players that year and he batted just .220. Shaun Boyd (.219) and John Nelson (.154) did even worse.

In 2007, Joe Mather actually hit better than the listed leader Jarrett Hoffpauir at .268, but had only 21 at-bats. Mark Hamilton brought up the rear that year at .171.

Let's move to pitching, where the results have been equally uneven.

ERA Rk WHIP Rk Opp BA
2008 Ottavino 6.17 40 Furnish 1.72 46
2007 Pomeranz 0.64 7 Pomeranz 1.00 13
2006 Dove 1.93 Dove 0.86
2005 Scalamandre 1.76 Cavazos 1.50
2004 Cavazos 3.97 Cavazos 0.193
2003 Thompson 1.59 Thompson 0.200
0.4 IP/G

There have been a couple of good years by relievers – Rich Scalamandre in 2005 and Dennis Dove the next year. Brad Thompson performed very well as a starter in 2003 as did a rehabbing Stuart Pomeranz in 2007.

When you see numbers like Adam Ottavino and Brad Furnish put up last year and realize they were the best among the Cardinals' four AFLers, you get a feeling for how badly the pitchers struggled.

Of course, it remains to be seen how the Cardinals 2009 contingent will perform. Again, they are pitchers Lance Lynn, David Kopp, Adam Reifer and Mike Parisi, catcher Bryan Anderson, infielder Daniel Descalso and outfielders Daryl Jones and Tyler Henley.

Related articles

"Jones Leads Eight Cards to Arizona Fall League"
"Cardinals early Arizona Fall League leftovers"

The Cardinal Nation has the AFL covered!

As every year, The Cardinal Nation, stlcardinals.scout.com, will be your leader in independent first-hand reporting on and from the Arizona Fall League. So, be looking for our eyewitness reports on the Cardinals prospects that will be playing for the Surprise Rafters this October and November.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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