The biggest performer of the spring has to be Tommy Pham. One of the best athletes in the Cardinals system led the camp in most offensive categories as he works to consistently harness his tools. The 22-year-old topped all players in spring batting average, on-base and slugging percentages, hits, runs and walks. During the spring, Pham's line was .476/.600/.810 with two home runs and 12 walks. His walk rate is encouraging, he did so only 36 times all season in 2009.
Right on Pham's heels was catcher Charles Cutler. The 23-year-old continues to punish baseballs wherever he goes as he went 12-for-26 (.462) at the plate with a .548 on-base mark and a .731 slugging percentage.
The 2008 Appalachian League Player of the Year, Curt Smith, tied for the organization lead with three home runs. The former 39th round pick hit .383 while slugging .702. For his efforts, Smith is ticketed for Double-A Springfield.
Adron Chambers continues to hit and will now get his chance as the Springfield leadoff man. The 23-year-old hit .368/.467/.553 while preparing for his first action in the Texas League. With Chambers and Daryl Jones, the Double-A Cardinals will have two burners who can cover a lot of ground in the Hammons Field outfield. Plus, both were highly prized football recruits that would make for an interesting intrasquad flag football game.
Another late round find, Rich Racobaldo, has used his bat to put himself into position for a full season job. The 37th round pick in last June's draft posted a slash line of .408/.463/.551, all but assuring him of that assignment at third base with Palm Beach.
The often-overlooked Mark Shorey, ticketed to return to Memphis, had seven doubles to lead all Cardinal minor leaguers.
"Sugar" Shane Robinson led the organization with six triples. No other player in the organization had more than two. It was a successful spring for the Florida State Seminole. In big league camp, the Memphis outfielder/second baseman hit .364 in 11 at bats.
Tied with Smith in home runs was outfielder Frederick Parejo. The 19-year-old appears to be headed back to the Quad Cities where he hopes to build upon his spring performance.
Niko Vasquez hit the Cardinals' system like a shining star and got a lot of prospect followers excited. Unfortunately, the young infielder struggled offensively during his first full season and was moved from the shortstop position to third base. After a slow start this spring, the 21-year-old heated up and finished the spring strong. Hopefully, his offensive woes are behind him and he is ready to show the promise that excited so many after he entered the organization.
Outfielder C.J. Beatty put together a solid spring after his first professional season was cut short by an injury. This afternoon. Beatty told me he will be staying in Florida for extended spring training, mainly so that he can get regular at bats.
Extended spring training camp gets underway Tuesday, April 6 in Jupiter, Florida with 65 players on hand.
Up Next: Look for part two of this report covering top Cardinals minor league pitching performances from spring training camp.
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