Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 1

Left fielder Chris Edmondson was 6-for-13 with two home runs this week. Edmondson's slugging percentage leads the Johnson City Cardinals and is second in the Appalachian League.

The Johnson City Cardinals finished the first five games with a record of two wins and three losses.  They are in a three-way tie for third place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, two games behind the Greeneville Astros.  The Cardinal pitching staff has issued the fewest walks of any team in the league (6) through their first five games and is averaging just 1.26 walks per nine innings.  The hitters are second in the league in drawing walks (20). 

 

I was able to attend four of the first five games in person and I listened to the other game on the Internet.  Those observations provide the basis for this report.   

 

Roster

 

The only roster change that occurred since my Johnson City Cardinals 2010 Preseason Report was the exchange with Batavia of P Zach Russell for P Cale Johnson.  Johnson went into the same piggy-back starter spot that was held by Russell.  As expected, C Travis Tartamella joined the team from Palm Beach.  The roster holds at 32 active and currently healthy players (max of 35).  P Iden Nazario is the only player on the roster who has yet to make an appearance. 

 

The Week in Review

 

Other than walks, neither the hitters nor pitchers are in the top or bottom three of the league leaders/losers.  The Cardinals lost two one-run games in Greeneville that they easily could have won.  The defense has committed ten errors which have contributed to a league third-worst seven unearned runs.  SS Cesar Valera (.133) committed four errors, two throwing and two fielding, while turning in at least two very nice plays deep in the hole. 

 

Dean Kiekhefer and the Cardinals had some tough luck during the eighth inning of Friday's 7-6 loss.  Johnson City led 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth inning with two outs and a 3-2 count on the third batter of the inning when Kiekhefer struck out LF Telvin Nash swinging.  Unfortunately, the pitch (ruled as "wild") made it past C Juan Castillo (.125) and Nash reached first base safely.  A double against Kiekhefer and two singles against Francisco Guzman converted the possible 6-5 win into a frustrating 7-6 loss. 

 

DH Kleininger Teran (.125) narrowly missed a game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss to Greeneville.  The Astros made a defensive replacement after the eighth inning that paid off nicely when LF Ryan Humphrey tracked down a two-out deep drive in the left-centerfield gap to preserve the win.

 

Kingsport 8 @ Johnson City 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/23/10

Kingsport 4 @ Johnson City 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/24/10

Johnson City 7 @ Kingsport 4, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/25/10

Johnson City 6 @ Greeneville 7, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/26/10

Johnson City 3 @ Greeneville 4, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 06/27/10

 

Tandem Starting Pitchers

 

As a reminder, listed below are the pairings for Johnson City.  The five primary starters (labeled "A") are limited to around 70 pitches and the secondary starters are limited to 40-45 pitches starting out the season (may vary from pitcher to pitcher).  Four of the pitchers spent time in the Cardinals organization last year (Hernandez, De Jesus, Daugherty, and Johnson) and were competing for long season roster spots during Cardinals spring training.  The other five pitchers were drafted during the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft.  Some may be building their arm strength while others may be coming off some pretty high pitch-count college seasons.    

Tandem Starting Pitchers (9): 

LHP Hector Hernandez (1A) and LHP Ryan Copeland (1B)

RHP Angel De Jesus (2A) and LHP Pat Daugherty (2B)

RHP Cale Johnson (3A) and "To Be Determined" (3B)

RHP Trevor Rosenthal (4A) and LHP Dean Kiekhefer (4B)

RHP Boone Whiting (5A) and LHP Jeff Nadeau (5B)

 

Piggy-back Starter Pitch Counts

 

Hector Hernandez:  59 pitches, 34 strikes, 10-for-19 first-pitch strikes.

Ryan Copeland:  30 pitches, 21 strikes, 7-for-10 first-pitch strikes.

Angel De Jesus:  70 pitches, 48 strikes, 15-for-23 first-pitch strikes.

Pat Daugherty:  38 pitches, 24 strikes, 7-for-12 first-pitch strikes.

Cale Johnson:  68 pitches, 50 strikes, 17-for-21 first-pitch strikes.

Trevor Rosenthal:  61 pitches, 43 strikes, 15-for-18 first-pitch strikes.

Dean Kiekhefer:  29 pitches, 21 strikes, 7-for-11 first-pitch strikes.

Boone Whiting:  70 pitches, 50 strikes, 13-for-22 first-pitch strikes.

Jeff Nadeau:  35 pitches, 27 strikes, 9-for-13 first-pitch strikes.

 

Note:  Rosenthal and Kiekhefer were based on an internet radio call by Steve Wilhoit of the Greeneville Astros and it is likely, especially during Kiekhefer's innings, that a few pitches may not have been announced. 

 

Who's Hot (Hitters)

 

C Cody Stanley is leading the team, in limited plate appearances, in both on-base percentage (.667) and batting average (.625). 

 

LF Chris Edmondson is second in the league in slugging (1.077), tied for third in home runs (2) and runs-batted-in (5), fourth in on-base plus slugging (1.639), fifth in on-base percentage (.563), sixth in batting average (.462), and tied for ninth in runs (4).  Edmondson has been burned a couple of times in the outfield on line drives hit right at him.  He who hesitates turns outs into doubles. 

 

C Travis Tartamella, in his second year with Johnson City, has gotten off to a much better start than last year.  "Tart" is 4-for-8 (.500) with a double and a triple.  He is second on the team in slugging (.875). 

 

1B David Medina has been hitting the ball very well and has impressed me a lot with his approach at the plate.  He has been centering both fast balls and off-speed pitches and is fourth on the team in all his "line" categories:  .417/.462/.583/1.045.  He appears to need a little bit of improvement with his footwork at first base and could add even more power with emphasis on a weight program.  

 

2B Greg Garcia is fourth in the league in runs scored (5) after being only one of three on the roster that played in all five games.

 

CF Reggie Williams (.364) has four singles and some very good defensive range. 

 

3B Romulo Ruiz is tied for fourth in the league in doubles (3).  Ruiz looks much more comfortable at third base this year and has played well there so far despite committing one throwing error.  Ruiz' batting average of .278 is just barely above the team average of .269. 

 

Who's Not Hot (Hitters)

 

OF Virgil Hill is eighth in the league in strikeouts (6) and is 1-for-8 (.125).  However, he has put his excellent speed to good use.  He is first on the team and is tied for fourth in the league in stolen bases (2). 

 

SS Cesar Valera is tied for first in the league in walks (4) despite hitting just .133 (2-for-15).  Valera has, at 18-years-old and as you might expect from the team's youngest player, been pretty inconsistent.  His defensive range is excellent and his arm is strong.  His future development into a top prospect will be dependent on his hitting and his ability to become more consistent with his fielding. 

 

1B/DH Phil Cerreto (.125) is tied for ninth in the league in runs (4).  His fielding error in game three was a tough one.  There was a medium-height pop-up that came down directly on top of the mound that he caught.  However, the ball was dislodged from Cerreto's glove as he fell over…

 

…3B Packy Elkins (.200), who had tripped and fallen on the mound while tracking the same pop-up.  Elkins has the fewest at bats (5) and has missed two games since that mound collision.  Elkins missed time in April and May of this year while at Belmont (Nashville, TN) with a strained muscle in his back.  C Cody Stanley will soon learn the importance, if he hasn't already, of directing traffic on infield pop-ups. 

 

OF Steven Ramos, used predominantly as a pinch runner and defensive specialist so far, is the only batter to remain hitless (0-for-7). 

 

Who's Hot (Pitchers)

 

Pitchers with walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIPs) of 1 or less in the early going include Hector Corpas (0.00), Jeff Nadeau (0.67), Ryan Copeland (0.67), Dean Kiekhefer (0.75), Cale Johnson (1.00), and Pat Daugherty (1.00).

 


 

P Boone Whiting, an 18th round pick in this year's draft (see above), is second on the team with a strikeout per nine innings (K/9) rate of 12.6.  That alone is impressive but to consider that the righty from Centenary College (LA) did that without ever going to a three-ball count in Saturday's game is even more impressive.  Unfortunately, Whiting's first pro inning was one in which the Astros found both the right and left field lines with extra base hits.   

 

All of the pitchers deserve credit for keeping their walks down.  However, there are several pitchers who have given up extra base hits with 0-2, 0-1, and 1-2 counts.  

 

Panamanian P Hector Corpas and Venezuelan P Francisco Guzman each recorded their first save this week.  Guzman leads the team with 13.5 K/9. 

 

Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)

 

Right-handed relievers Drew Benes and Aidan Lucas and left-handed reliever Bob Revesz are the only pitchers with walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIPs) of 2 or greater and earned run averages (ERAs) of 9 or greater. 

 

Week Two Schedule

 

Game 6 (Sun):  Hernandez/Copeland @ Greenville Astros

Game 7 (Mon):  Daugherty/De Jesus vs. Bristol White Sox

Game 8 (Tue):  Johnson/bullpen vs. Bristol White Sox

Game 9 (Wed):  Kiekhefer/Rosenthal vs. Bristol White Sox

Game 10 (Thu): Nadeau/Whiting @ Elizabethton Twins

Game 11 (Fri):  Copeland/Hernandez @ Elizabethton Twins

Game 12 (Sat): De Jesus/Daugherty vs. Elizabethton Twins

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