Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 5

RF/1B Phil Cerreto ranks second in the Appalachian League in slugging percentage (.683), second in on-base plus slugging percentage (1.102), third in batting average (.378), seventh in on-base percentage (.419), and seventh in home runs (5).

The Johnson City Cardinals were 5-2 this week (21-11 overall).  They maintained first place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, two games ahead of the Elizabethton Twins and five games ahead of a playoff berth.  The Cardinals have the best record in the league while the Twins have the second best.  Johnson City is on pace to finish 45-23.  If they did, it would be their best finish since 1976. 


I was able to attend five of the seven games in person this week.  I didn't personally attend the two games in Danville, VA however; I charted pitch counts based on the play-by-play observations and internet radio call of Danville Braves announcer Nick Pierce.  Those observations provide the basis for this report. 


Roster Changes


P Kevin Siegrist has been reassigned from Batavia to Johnson City.  Siegrist was the Cardinals 41st round pick (1,235th overall) in the June 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Palm Beach Community College (FL).  Siegrist is expected to make his Appy League debut on Monday night in Burlington, NC against the Royals. 


OF Joey Hage was released this week.  Hage had been listed on the roster as "reserved" and was not considered "active". 


The roster has increased from 31 to 32 active players (max of 35). 




1B/DH David Medina suffered a right hamstring injury in the eighth inning of the game on July 5.  Unfortunately, his injury has not responded well to treatment.  Doctors do not believe surgery will be required.  There is no timetable for his return.  Medina has missed 18 consecutive games with the injury. 


P Trevor Rosenthal (pictured below) experienced some pain in his right pitching elbow after his last start on July 16.  Doctors have prescribed rest and do not believe surgery is required.  Rosenthal has not thrown at all since the pain and will need to come back slowly to avoid further injury.  He should resume throwing again sometime next week but he has been removed from the piggyback pitching system indefinitely.  The injury to "Rosie" is very unfortunate for the Cardinals.  He was leading the team in groundouts of batters faced (40 percent) by a wide margin and was among the best performing starters for Johnson City. 



Team Statistical Review


The offense remained hot this week.  After posting a line of .329/.412/.574 two weeks ago, they produced a slightly less slugging line of .340/.416/.533 this week.  They hit 30 extra base hits in seven games while striking out 55 times.  They averaged 8 runs and 12.6 hits per game.  They almost doubled their stolen base output this week by adding seven.  This week's offense kept the team in first place in the league in twelve different categories:  batting average (.298), on-base percentage (.370), slugging (.475), on-base plus slugging (.845), at bats, hits, runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks, and total bases.  They are second in the league in triples and fewest strikeouts. 


The defense committed nine errors this week however; the pitchers limited the damage by allowing just three unearned runs.  3B Romulo Ruiz committed five of those errors.  The defense ranks seventh in the league in the number of unearned runs allowed. 


The Cardinal pitching staff's ERA increased for the third consecutive week.  A 5.37 ERA this week gave them a 4.29 season ERA (sixth in league).  Coming into the week, the pitchers had allowed 16 home runs.  This week, they allowed 12 home runs to move into a tie for last place in home runs allowed.  The pitchers have the most wins (21), the fewest losses (11), the most holds (17), the most saves (13), and the fewest walks (66) through their first 32 games.  Their walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) of 1.33 is sixth in the ten-team league.  The relievers inherited seven runners this week and allowed two to score. 




The Cardinals had their biggest offensive output of the year on Sunday night against Kingsport.  Johnson City hit a season high 19 hits and scored a season high 15 runs in a 15-5 trouncing of the Mets.  They extended their streak of games with double digit hits to nine.  Ryan Copeland improved his record to 3-0 despite seeing his ERA (1.16) and WHIP (0.86) "balloon" to the fourth best in the Appalachian League.  Iden Nazario continued his trial with a new delivery.  Nazario notched a scoreless ninth inning by first hitting and walking the first two batters (6-of-8 pitches were balls) and following that with three consecutive outs (all nine pitches were strikes). 


Johnson City extended their streak of games with double digit hits to double digits after a sweep of the Kingsport Mets in Johnson City Monday night.  Cody Stanley, Chris Edmondson, and Phil Cerreto each hit home runs in an 8-5 victory.  Travis Tartamella (pictured below) and Oscar Taveras combined to go 7-for-7, with three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs.  Both had identical .385 season batting averages after the game.  Romulo Ruiz extended his hit streak to 17 games.   Hector Corpas collected his league leading seventh save.  Seven of the nine hitters in the starting lineup finished the game with season batting averages of .313 or better. 



The Cardinals pulled out a big come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Twins Tuesday that extended their lead over Elizabethton to two games.  Bob Revesz (pictured below) picked up his first pro victory.  Phil Cerreto hit a big 3-2 pitch, two-out, two-RBI double in the eighth inning to erase a one-run deficit and to put Johnson City ahead to stay.  Cerreto followed that up with a great diving catch of a sinking line drive in the bottom of the ninth that would have at least tied the game had he pulled up to allow a single.  The Cardinals could have easily lost the game on the play had the ball bounced past Cerreto since there were runners on first and second with two outs.  Both teams allowed just one earned run in the game.  Romulo Ruiz ended his 17 game hitting streak and the Cardinals ended their double digit hit streak at 10 games. 



The Cardinals had another exciting come-from-behind victory Wednesday night.  Johnson City fell behind the Twins 5-0 and 7-2 before mounting a late-inning rally that saw the Cardinals score three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to pull out a 9-8 victory that was their sixth in a row.  Johnson City extended their lead on Elizabethton to three games and their lead for a playoff spot to five games.  Francisco Guzman (featured in the pitchers section below), threw three no-hit innings while facing the minimum and Hector Corpas recorded his league leading eighth save.  Greg Garcia, with his father visiting from California, collected two two-out RBIs, raised his average to .330, and extended his hit streak to five games.  18-Year-old Oscar Taveras was 3-for-5 with two stolen bases.  1B Phil Cerreto was 2-for-4 with a double, raised his average to .357, and extended his hit streak to six games.  C Juan Castillo extended his hit streak to eight games with his first triple. 


The third and final game of the series against Elizabethton on Thursday night was a battle between the two best teams in the Appalachian League.  The Twins, behind four home runs and good starting pitching, won the final game of the series by a score of 7-3.  Boone Whiting picked up his first loss after giving up three home runs, walking his second batter of the year (118 batters faced), and going to four three-ball counts.  The hitters, who were lead by a 3-for-3 from RF Roberto Reyes (pictured below with swing and ball just before hitting his double), were a combined 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.  Phil Cerreto and Chris Edmondson kept the Cardinals in it with solo home runs on back-to-back pitches in the bottom of the sixth.  The loss ended Johnson City's six game win streak.     



Johnson City began a six-game road trip against the best two teams in the Eastern Division on Friday night.  First up were the first place Danville Braves, who the Cardinals swept at home during a three-game series that began on July 4th.  The previous Danville series was the start of the Cardinals season-best eight game win streak.  The Cardinals produced the most hits this season (20) in a 12-5 blowout win over the Braves.  Oscar Taveras (pictured below with bat on ball and singling to RF on Wednesday) was 4-for-5 with a double and six RBIs and Virgil Hill was 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two walks.  Hill, who raised his batting average from .250 to .300 during the game, and Kleininger Teran, who raised his batting average from .275 to .297 during the game, gave the Cardinals eleven hitters with .297 or greater averages for the season.  Johnson City also had nine hitters with an on-base plus slugging (OPS) average of .900 or better for the season after the game.  Starter Ryan Copeland moved to 4-0 on the year and his tandem pair Hector Hernandez recorded his first save.  This was the fourth game this year (first by Copeland/Hernandez) that was pitched exclusively by piggyback starters. 



Saturday night was groundball night in Danville as four different pitchers combined for thirty groundball outs (59% of the total outs in the game).  Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they could only muster five hits and lost their first game of the year to Danville 7-5.  Johnson City scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth and had the go-ahead run at the plate with one out but Kleininger Teran, who ended his nine game hit streak, hit the first pitch from a Braves reliever into an inning-ending double play.  The Cardinals followed that up with a one-out bases-loaded effort in the ninth only to see Oscar Taveras and Cody Stanley pop-up and groundout on the infield.  Phil Cerreto extended his hit streak to nine games and Virgil Hill hit his first home run of the year. 


Kingsport 5 @ Johnson City 15, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/19/10

Kingsport 5 @ Johnson City 8, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/20/10

Johnson City 4 @ Elizabethton 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/21/10

Elizabethton 8 @ Johnson City 9, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/22/10

Elizabethton 7 @ Johnson City 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/23/10

Johnson City 12 @ Danville 5, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/24/10

Johnson City 5 @ Danville 7, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 07/25/10


Tandem Starting Pitchers


Listed below are the pairings.  The five primary starters (which usually switches between the two every six days) are limited to around 85 pitches and the secondary starters are limited to around 65 pitches (varies from pitcher to pitcher).  Six of the pitchers spent time in the Cardinals organization last year (Hernandez, De Jesus, Daugherty, Johnson, Jimenez, and Siegrist).  The other three pitchers were drafted during the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft.    

Tandem Starting Pitchers (9): 

LHP Hector Hernandez and LHP Ryan Copeland

RHP Angel De Jesus and LHP Pat Daugherty

RHP Cale Johnson and Bullpen

RHP Charllan Jimenez and LHP Kevin Siegrist

RHP Boone Whiting and LHP Jeff Nadeau


Tandem Starter Pitch Counts


7/18:  Hector Hernandez:  62 pitches, 33 strikes, 6-for-14 first-pitch strikes.

7/18:  Ryan Copeland:  66 pitches, 49 strikes, 13-for-16 first-pitch strikes.

7/19:  Pat Daugherty:  86 pitches, 57 strikes, 12-for-21 first-pitch strikes.

7/19:  Angel De Jesus:  30 pitches, 19 strikes, 5-for-10 first-pitch strikes.

7/20:  Cale Johnson:  81 pitches, 53 strikes, 13-for-23 first-pitch strikes.

7/21:  Charllan Jimenez:  78 pitches, 50 strikes, 11-for-21 first-pitch strikes.

7/21:  Francisco Guzman: 36 pitches, 25 strikes, 8-for-9 first-pitch strikes.

7/22:  Boone Whiting:  82 pitches, 59 strikes, 17-for-25 first-pitch strikes.

7/22:  Jeff Nadeau:  56 pitches, 31 strikes, 6-for-13 first-pitch strikes.

7/23:  Ryan Copeland:  68 pitches, 46 strikes, 12-for-19 first-pitch strikes.

7/23:  Hector Hernandez:  63 pitches, 46 strikes, 16-for-19 first-pitch strikes.

7/24:  Angel De Jesus:  52 pitches, 39 strikes, 16-for-22 first-pitch strikes.

7/24:  Pat Daugherty:  40 pitches, 24 strikes, 6-for-12 first-pitch strikes.


Note:  Guzman was a temporary substitute for injured Trevor Rosenthal.  Kevin Siegrist arrived in Johnson City from Batavia on Thursday night and is scheduled to make his first appearance in the Johnson City tandem system on Monday July 26. 


Who's Hot (Hitters)


With a team batting average of .298, it would probably be easier to skip to the next section to read about who isn't hot.  This team has been carried by the offense so far this year and this week was no different.  Five different hitters hit .400 or better, nine hitters hit .300 or better, and 12-of-14 batters hit .250 or better.  This week's offensive stars are listed below in decreasing order of this week's batting average.     


RF/1B Phil Cerreto (.378) posted a .517/.563/.931 line in seven games this week.  Cerreto led the team in hits (15), doubles (3), home runs (3), RBIs (9), and total bases (27) this week.  Cerreto (pictured singling to left center on Wednesday) ranks second in the league in slugging (.683) and OPS (1.102), third in batting average, sixth in RBIs (22), seventh in OBP (.419) and home runs (5), and ninth in total bases.  Cerreto is a top candidate for Appy League Player of the Week (announced Monday afternoon).  Cerreto (pronounced suh-REE-toe) has the team's longest active hit streak at nine games. 



C Juan Castillo (.348) was 5-for-10 (.500) with a triple and a home run this week in three games.  Castillo ended an eight game hit streak this week.  Castillo is 6-for-12 (50%) in catching would-be base stealers. 


LF/CF Oscar Taveras (.367) posted a .412/.429/.500 line this week in seven games.  Taveras led the team this week in at bats (34) and RBIs (9).  Taveras ranks third in the league in OPS (1.020), fourth in batting average, fifth in RBIs (23), sixth in OBP (.420), seventh in SLG (.600), eighth in runs (20), and tenth in triples (2).  Taveras has played more LF of late and has been very impressive at cutting balls off down the line and in the gap.  He has held several hitters to singles that would have been certain doubles with other outfielders.  There is a lot to be excited about with Taveras' future.   


C Travis Tartamella (.348) moved from the "not hot" list last week to the "hot" list this week.  "Tart" was 4-for-10 (.400) with a double, two walks, and no strikeouts in three games this week.  Tart is 8-for-16 (50%) in catching would-be base stealers. 


OF Virgil Hill (.313) was 8-for-20 (.400) in six games this week with a double, a triple, and his first home run.  Hill (pictured below) is tied for fifth in the league in triples (3).  I timed Virgil at 4.00 seconds from bat contact to 1B on an infield single and close play earlier this year. 



RF Roberto Reyes (.230) was 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles this week. 


OF/DH Chris Edmondson (.338) was 6-for-19 (.316) with a double and two home runs in five games this week.  Edmondson missed making the league leaders in averages by just two plate appearances however he is sixth in home runs (6).  Edmondson ended his eight game hit streak this week. 


2B/SS Greg Garcia (.307) was 8-for-26 (.308) with a team leading nine runs and three stolen bases this week.  Garcia is tied for first in the league in runs (30), is eighth in on-base percentage (.402), and is tied for tenth in doubles (9).  Garcia, pictured singling to RF in the first inning on Thursday, ended a seven game hit streak this week. 



1B/DH Kleininger Teran (.282) was 4-for-13 (.308) with two doubles in three games this week.  Teran ended a nine game hit streak this week. 


3B Romulo Ruiz (.300) leads the league in walks (22), is tied for second in games (31), is fourth in doubles (12), is fifth in on-base percentage (.421), and is tied for eighth in RBIs (21).  Ruiz committed five errors this week (two throwing, two fielding, and one missed-catch).  Ruiz is struggling with fielding hard hit groundballs that are right at him (pulling off the ball for fear of being hit with a bad bounce) and with throwing accuracy (more left or right than high or low).  Ruiz ended his 17 game hit streak this week. 


C Cody Stanley (.333) has started to cool off a little bit but is still amongst the league leaders in several categories.  Stanley (pictured below with a swing-and-a-miss and with the ball visible just before the catcher catches it) was 6-for-21 (.286) with five runs, two doubles and a home run in five games this week.  Stanley is seventh in the league in batting average and is tied for tenth in triples (2).  Stanley is 2-for-6 (33%) in catching would-be base stealers. 



Who's Not Hot (Hitters)


SS Cesar Valera (.176) was 2-for-19 (.105) with six strikeouts in six games this week.  Valera is tied for seventh in the league in walks (13). 


2B/3B Packy Elkins (.242) was 2-for-11 (.182) with three strikeouts in four games this week.


OF Reggie Williams (.229) was 2-for-8 (.250) with three strikeouts this week.


Who's Hot (Pitchers)


Francisco Guzman (below, 1-0, 4.50 ERA) had a tremendous outing against the Elizabethton Twins in substituting for injured starter Trevor Rosenthal.  Guzman allowed no hits and just one walk over three innings pitched this week.  Guzman is tied for ninth in the league in games (10). 


Ryan Copeland (4-0, 1.91 ERA) was 2-0 with 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (K/9) this week over eight and two thirds innings pitched.  Copeland is tied for second in the league in wins (4), is fourth in walks plus hits per inning pitched (0.85 WHIP), and is sixth in ERA.  Copeland allowed three of the Cardinals' twelve home runs this week.  Copeland leads all the tandem starters with percentage of strikeouts of batters faced (30%).  


Jeff Nadeau (0-2, 3.57 ERA) pitched three scoreless innings allowing just two hits in one game this week.


Hector Corpas (0-1, 2.13 ERA) recorded two saves in two games this week.  Corpas leads the league in both saves (8) and games finished (10).  Corpas is tied for second in the league in games (11) and he leads the team's relievers with a 0.79 WHIP.  


Aidan Lucas (0-0, 5.00 ERA) allowed no runs and recorded one save and one hold in three games this week.  Lucas leads the league in games (12), is tied for fourth in holds (2), and is tied for eighth in games finished (6). 


Boone Whiting (2-1, 5.06 ERA) is tied for sixth in the league in strikeouts (35).  Whiting (pictured below) allowed three home runs this week and is tied for fourth in the league in home runs allowed (5).  For the season, Whiting leads the team's tandem starters with 11.8 K/9 and just 0.7 BB/9.  Whiting also leads the team with the highest percentage of strikeouts of batters faced (30%) and the lowest percentage of walks of batters faced (2%). 



Chris Patterson (2-1, 5.11 ERA) recorded an 18 K/9 rate and one win over two innings this week.  Patterson is tied for second in the league in games (11) and is tied for fourth in holds (2).  


Cale Johnson (3-1, 3.26 ERA) leads the team in innings pitched (30.1) and games started (6).  Johnson has not allowed a home run this year.  Johnson has the lowest strikeout rate of batters faced (15%) on the team. 


Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)


Charllan Jimenez (0-1, 7.53 ERA, pictured below preparing to chart pitches) recorded a 15.75 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP over four innings this week. 



Hector Hernandez (0-1, 6.33 ERA) allowed another home run this week.  Hernandez has allowed six home runs this season (tied for worst in the league). 


Week Six Schedule


Game 33 (Sun):     Johnson/Bullpen @ Danville Braves

Game 34 (Mon):     Siegrist/Jimenez @ Burlington Royals

Game 35 (Tue):     Nadeau/Whiting @ Burlington Royals

Game 36 (Wed):     Hernandez/Copeland @ Burlington Royals

Game 37 (Thu):     Daugherty/De Jesus vs. Elizabethton Twins

Game 38 (Fri):       Johnson/Bullpen vs. Elizabethton Twins

Game 39 (Sat):      Jimenez/Siegrist vs. Elizabethton Twins


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