Surveying the Cards Crops: On the Mound

Top St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training pitching performers. The Cardinal Nation's exclusive report from Dustin Mattison.

With the minor league season prepared to start on Thursday, we look back on some of the top performers on the mound in this final part of a two-part series. It is often quite difficult to compile results from the spring training games, but The Cardinal Nation has exclusive stats from the recently-completed St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring camp.

Shelby Miller will be breaking camp with the Quad Cities River Bandits. After an impressive performance with St. Louis, there were rumblings that Miller might start his first full season at Palm Beach. But that will not be the case. The Cardinals 2009 first-round pick will make his season debut during the River Bandits first home series, on Sunday, April 11.

Has he figured it out? The oft-wild Gary Daley started the spring with eight scoreless innings and only a couple of hits allowed. No one has ever questioned his raw stuff but there have been doubts about Daley's ability to consistently throw strikes. If he has harnessed his plus fastball, he is a candidate to be a 2010 breakout performer as he begins in the Springfield rotation.

Joe Kelly's transformation from reliever to starter appears to be on track. The early reports on the college reliever with the big arm and an extensive injury history have been encouraging. The right-hander has allowed only one earned run in his first 10 innings of action for an ERA of 0.90.

Equaling Kelly's production on the mound was Jason Buursma. The reliever also posted a 0.90 ERA and was awarded a job at Palm Beach.

Kevin Siegrist pitched the most innings without allowing an earned run. The southpaw threw nine innings during the spring but did not earn a full season job, signifying how competitive camp must have been.

A very encouraging sign is the strikeout total posted by Deryk Hooker. The promising young right-hander struck out 15 in 13 innings of work. He will start the season at Quad Cities.

Close behind Hooker's strikeout total was reliever David Carpenter. The former catcher rung up 14 batters in only 7 2/3 innings during his time in Florida. The 24-year-old will stay behind at Roger Dean Stadium as he will be pitching for Palm Beach.

Brandon Dickson did the heavy lifting during spring camp. "Cotton" worked 15 innings, the most of any Cardinal farmhand. The former undrafted free agent will break camp with the Redbirds and soon make his Triple-A debut.

The resurgent Shaun Garceau and Scott McGregor were close behind at 14 2/3 innings of work. Garceau will join Springfield and be the team's opening day starter. McGregor will stay behind and make his Florida State League debut.

Two other relievers made their presence known during camp. Blake King (0.96) and Matt Frevert both posted ERAs below one. The big-armed King also racked up 11 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings.

Note: Link to part one of this report, "Surveying the Cards Crops: At the Plate".

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