2009 Palm Beach Cardinals Team Review

After a successful span of three playoff appearances in four seasons, the 2009 Palm Beach Cardinals struggled for most of the season.

After playoff births in three of the previous four seasons, the 2009 season proved to be a disappointment for the Palm Beach Cardinals. The team got off to a fantastic 7-2 start before the wheels fell off for the St. Louis Cardinals Florida State League affiliate. The team would then lose 16 of 18 on its way to a first half record of 29-41. That was 14.5 games behind South Division leader Fort Myers.

The second half proved to be only slightly better for the inhabitants of Roger Dean Stadium. The team finished with a record of 32-36, which was 4.5 games behind Fort Myers. Overall, the team finished with a mark of 61-77, 10th in the 12-team league.

All was not lost at Palm Beach, as there were many strong individual performances along with players that made their mark at the higher levels that used the Florida State League as a stepping-stone.

At the Plate

In all, 26 hitters got at least nine at bats on the Palm Beach roster. Adron Chambers led the team with 448 AB's while Kevin Moscatel got in the batter's box for Palm Beach only nine times.

For the season, the team finished tenth in the Florida State League in average (.244), seventh in OBP (.319), and ninth in slugging (.355). On a positive note, the team did lead the FSL in triples with 51.

Curt Smith led the team in the Triple Crown categories with 10 home runs, 56 RBIs, and a .286 average. His average was the eighth best in the FSL and he finished 10th in slugging.

Adron Chambers ranked first in the league with 16 triples, fifth in the league in OBP (.370), seventh in hits (127), eighth in runs (66),and 11th in average with a .283 mark.

On the Mound

The 28 pitchers that took the mound for the Cardinals combined to finish tenth out of 12 teams in team ERA with a 3.91 mark. The team finished 11th in WHIP, ninth in team saves, but did finish third in holds.

Making 41 appearances with only two of them starts, Blake King led the pitching staff with nine wins, tied for the eighth best mark in the FSL. Richard Castillo ranked tied for fourth in the league with 26 starts. Adam Reifer's 21 saves were one off Tampa's Jonathan Hovis' league-leading total. Thomas Eager tied for the league lead with 10 holds.

Stepping Stone

The grounds at Roger Dean Stadium provided the stepping-stone for several players on their way to Double-A Springfield.

Of those players, former first round pick Pete Kozma was arguably the highest regarded. The shortstop hit .315/.381/.384 before moving on to the Texas League.

Though Kozma may have been the highest regarded, Eduardo Sanchez probably was the biggest mover on prospect lists. The 20-year-old struck out 26 in 25 innings while allowing only five walks before giving Double-A hitters fits.

Shane Peterson showed a mature approach and smooth stroke while playing 76 games for Palm Beach. Shortly after being promoted, he would be traded to the Oakland Athletics as a key piece in bringing Matt Holliday to St. Louis.

Pitcher Lance Lynn has positioned himself as a strong candidate for organizational pitcher of the year. Before winning 11 games in the Texas League, Lynn struck out 17 in 15.2 innings while posting a 2.30 ERA in the FSL.

Aaron Luna and Colt Sedbrook were among the hitters that used Palm Beach as a launching pad.

Team Triple Crown leader Curt Smith performed well in a 24-game audition at Springfield before returning to the Florida State League.

Wins leader King along with Nick Additon, Scott Gorgen, Sam Freeman, Casey Mulligan, Chuckie Fick, and Ryan Kulik would all move on to Springfield as well. Along with Lynn, many of the previous would see time against Northwest Arkansas in the first round of the postseason.

Draft Pick

The only 2009 draft pick to see time at Palm Beach was 13th round selection Matt Carpenter. After hitting .469 at Batavia and .295 for the Quad Cities, the 23-year-old struggled to adjust in the historic pitchers league. In 114 at bats, Carpenter finished with a slash line of .219/.286/.342 with two home runs and nine RBIs.



Related articles:

"2009 Quad Cities River Bandits Team Review" – by Jon Popham

"2009 Batavia Muckdogs Team Review" – by Brian Walton

"2009 Johnson City Cardinals Team Review" – by Shawn Kerrick

"2009 Gulf Coast League Cardinals Team Review" – by Dustin Mattison

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