Johnson City Cardinals Notebook: 2010 Week 7

P Ryan Copeland (5-0, 1.49 ERA) leads the Appalachian League in both earned run average and walks plus hits per inning pitched (0.77).

The Johnson City Cardinals were 5-1 this week (28-17 overall).  They remained in second place in the five-team Western Division of the Appalachian League, two games behind the Elizabethton Twins but six games ahead of the Greeneville Astros for a playoff berth.  The Cardinals have the second best record in the league.  Johnson City is on pace to finish 42-26.  If they did, it would be their best finish since 1996.  The Cardinals have played the fewest home games (18) and the most road games (27) in the league. 


I was able to attend three of the six games in person this week.  I didn't personally attend the games in Greeneville, TN; however I charted pitch counts based on the play-by-play observations and internet radio call of Greeneville Astros announcer Steve Wilhoit.  That provides the basis for this report. 


Roster Changes



C Juan Castillo was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs of the New-York Penn League on Sunday.  Castillo impressed me a lot both at and behind the plate over his 16 games and 61 at bats in Johnson City.  Castillo posted a .339/.379/.613 line with three doubles, one triple, and four home runs.  Perhaps most impressive was that Castillo had as many home runs (4) as he did strikeouts (4) while also collecting three walks.  Castillo is pictured getting a high-five after his July 4th home run.


Castillo was equally impressive behind the plate.  20-Year-old Castillo was easily the best all-around catcher Johnson City has had since 18-year-old Yadier Molina (44 G, 158 AB, .259/.320/.405, 23K, 4 HR, 43% CS) in 2001.  Castillo has an extremely strong arm and was comfortable showing it off with accurate throws behind base runners at first base.


Castillo caught ten base runners while allowing just nine to steal (53% caught stealing rate).  Castillo was equally impressive stopping potential wild pitches.  Castillo also has many of the leadership intangibles that Yadier had.  Castillo is a vocal and relaxed field general behind the plate and seems to handle pitchers well.  Castillo is attempting to complete a comeback from a 50-game suspension two years ago and appears to be well on his way to putting together an exciting year in the Cardinals organization.  Castillo was 2-for-8 (.250) with a walk in his first three games with Batavia this week.  Castillo is pictured again taking a ball during a walk plate appearance against the Twins' Adrian Salcedo in his last game (July 30) with Johnson City.



LF/DH Chris Edmondson was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs on Tuesday.  Edmondson posted a .283/.350/.547 line over 28 games and 106 at bats.  He hit six home runs, one triple, and eight doubles.  Although he took some interesting, mostly delayed, routes to some balls in the outfield, he showed good accuracy and arm strength by recording a team high three outfield assists from left field (two at second base and one at home).  Edmondson, pictured fouling a ball off on July 19 against the Mets, hit a cold streak prior to his promotion when he finished his last ten games going 6-for-38 (.158).  Edmondson's best batting average splits were hitting with runners on base (.408) and with runners in scoring position (.389 RISP).  He struggled with left-handed pitchers (.185) and with the bases empty (.175).  Edmondson had eight two-out RBIs while leaving just ten RISP with two outs.  Edmondson is originally from Johnson City, NY (in western New York) which is just a short three hour drive from Batavia, NY.  His friends and family should get to see him play more often now.  Edmondson appears to like the home cooking; he was 7-for-14 (.500/.611/.786) with two doubles, a triple, four RBIs, four runs scored, and three walks in his first four games in NY.  


The roster dropped to 30 active players (max of 35). 



Note:  Former 2010 Johnson City Cardinal Colin Walsh, pictured from July 2, was promoted Wednesday August 4 from the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League to the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League.  Walsh was 1-for-10 (.100/.357/.100) with four walks, three runs scored, and one stolen base in his first three games with Quad Cities. 






RF/1B Phil Cerreto was hit on the back of his left hand in the fifth inning against the Elizabethton Twins on July 30.  Cerreto missed two games and returned to play Monday August 2 against the Greeneville Astros.  He was hit again during his first game back with another pitch (not in the hand) while going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three runs, and three RBIs.  Cerreto was hit again on Friday night, again in the fifth inning, and again near the left hand.  It appeared to be in the forearm area this time although he stayed in the game and even hit a home run two innings later.  He was out of Saturday night's game and was seen with a compression wrap on his left hand, wrist, and lower forearm before the game.  It is unknown (to me) if the bandage could mean further down time for the league's leading hitter. 


1B/DH David Medina suffered a right hamstring injury in the eighth inning of the game on July 5.  Unfortunately, his injury has responded slowly to treatment.  Medina has missed 31 consecutive games (almost half the season now) with the injury.  Manager Mike Shildt told me on Saturday night before the game that Medina was available as a pinch hitter, if needed.  His return as a starter should be soon. 



P Trevor Rosenthal experienced some pain in his right pitching elbow after his start on July 16.  "Rosie", who will need to come back slowly to avoid a repeat injury, pitched one inning on Thursday August 6 against the Bristol White Sox.  According to pitching coach Doug White, Rosenthal has been officially paired with Cale Johnson in the piggyback system.  Rosenthal will also be the first starter for at least two more starts.  Rosenthal, pictured, is scheduled to pitch three innings in his next start. 


P Chris Patterson did not appear in relief in a game for the second week in a row.  He experienced a little bit of tendinitis in his pitching arm after his last appearance on Wednesday July 21 and has missed 16 games in row.  Patterson was throwing and sprinting with the other relievers before the game on Saturday and appeared to be ready to pitch if needed.


P Francisco Guzman did not appear in relief in a game this week.  Guzman last pitched on July 30 and has missed seven games in row.  Guzman was dressed but was not participating with the other relievers in pre-game warm-ups on Saturday night.  I suspect Guzman may have suffered a minor injury/ache/pain of some kind that is keeping him out of action for a few days.  I should have an update next week, if not sooner.



P Iden Nazario did not appear in relief in a game this week.  It was not due to injury.  There was just not a good opportunity for him to work on his new delivery and mechanics in a game situation.  Nazario, pictured, has inherited six runners this year and has allowed none to score. 



Team Statistical Review


The first place offense warmed up again this week despite losing red-hot Chris Edmondson to Batavia.  After posting a line of .247/.296/.355 last week, they improved to a .295/.374/.419 line this week.  They hit 18 extra base hits in six games while striking out 45 times.  They averaged 7 runs and 10.7 hits per game last week.  They stole nine bases this week without being caught once.  They are now the most efficient base stealers in the league (25.5% caught stealing).  After hitting seven triples this week in the cavernous alleys in Greeneville and Bristol, the offense moved up to a tie for first place.  Just one home run this week saw the offense drop to third in that category.  The offense is in first place in the league in twelve different categories:  batting average (.289), on-base percentage (.359), slugging (.449), on-base plus slugging (.808), at bats, hits, runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, walks, and total bases.  They are third in the league in home runs. 


The defense committed seven errors this week that led to just three unearned runs that were spread over three different pitchers.  The season total stands at 72 errors (65 by batters and seven by pitchers) for an average of 1.6 errors per game.   


The Cardinals pitching staff's ERA finally improved after getting worse for four consecutive weeks.  A 2.29 ERA this week gave them a 4.21 season ERA (sixth in league).  The pitchers allowed four home runs this week in six games.  They are still in last place in home runs allowed (39).  The pitchers allowed just five walks (three from Angel De Jesus) this week in 51 innings pitched.  They have the fewest walks (85) through 45 games.  Their walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) was just 0.90 this week.  Their season WHIP of 1.32 is sixth in the ten-team league.  As a team for the season, the pitchers have grounded out 26.4 percent of the batters they have faced, struck out 21.7 percent, and walked 4.9%.  The relievers inherited four runners this week and allowed two to score (50 percent scored vs. 33 percent scored for season).  Overall, it was a pretty good week for the pitchers.  




Johnson City started a three-game series with the third place Greeneville Astros on Sunday night in what would be a battle for the second playoff spot in the Western Division.  Johnson City came up with a solid effort to end their three-game losing streak and beat the Astros in Greeneville by a score of 5-2.  Starter Boone Whiting collected his third win, tandem pair Jeff Nadeau collected his first hold, and closer Hector Corpas recorded his league leading ninth save.  The three pitchers combined for just one earned run (home run), four hits, no walks, and ten strikeouts.  SS Greg Garcia was 3-for-5 with two RBIs.  CF Reggie Williams was 2-for-3 with two triples, two runs, and a walk.  Williams extended his hit streak to six games. 


Three Johnson City pitchers combined to face the second fewest batters (32) in a nine-innings-pitched game this year as the Cardinals took the second game of the series against the Astros in Greeneville, TN by a score of 14-2.  The Cardinals combined good pitching with good hitting in the same game as they collected the fourth most hits in a game this year (17).  Phil Cerreto returned from being hit in the hand (missing two games), went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three runs, and three RBIs, and raised his league leading batting average to .398.  Every Cardinal batter got a hit except CF Oscar Taveras, who was 0-for-2 and left the game early (presumably to get replacement Roberto Reyes more at bats).  Virgil Hill and Reggie Williams each entered the game with just one two-out RBI for the year.  Hill collected three two-out RBIs and Reggie Williams added two more as Johnson City combined to go 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position.  Starting pitcher Ryan Copeland lowered his ERA to 1.49 and moved to 5-0 for the year in what was his most efficient pitch-count outing of the year (average of 11 pitches per inning over five innings).      


The Cardinals went for a road sweep of the Astros on Tuesday night and got it by a score of 5-3.  DH Cody Stanley (4-for-4), 1B Phil Cerreto (3-for-5), and SS Cesar Valera (3-for-4) combined for four runs, three RBIs, and ten of Johnson City's 13 hits.  Cerreto raised his batting average to a league best .407 and extended his hit streak to five games.  All four pitchers figured in the decisions as Angel De Jesus got his second win, Pat Daugherty got his first hold, Aidan Lucas got his fifth hold, and Hector Corpas got his tenth save.  It was an adventure for Lucas though, who relieved Daugherty in the seventh with runners on first and second in a 4-1 game.  Lucas, in the span of four pitches, hit two batters, threw a wild pitch, and allowed both of his inherited runners to score to make it a 4-3 ball game.  Lucas settled down after that wildness to record three consecutive strikeouts and completed his Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll transformation.  CF Reggie Williams ended his seven game hit streak by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 


After an off-day on Wednesday, Johnson City was scheduled to start a three game series on Thursday in Bristol, VA against the White Sox; however, the poorest draining field in the Appalachian League took a fair amount of rain.  The resulting rainout forced a doubleheader of two seven-inning games on Friday night.


In Game 1 on Friday night it turned out that one pitch from second starter Cale Johnson made all the difference in the game.  Johnson watched his first pitch to White Sox 1B John Spatola get lined over the right centerfield fence in the fourth inning for a two-run home run that sent the Cardinals to a 2-1 loss.  Johnson City could only muster three hits against left-handed starter Spencer Arroyo.  Phil Cerreto doubled (extending his hit streak to six games) and later scored on a Travis Tartamella single in the second inning to open the scoring.  Greg Garcia led off the sixth inning of the 2-1 game with a double but Garcia never advanced any further.  Oscar Taveras hit a no-out 2-0 pitch to the shortstop that didn't advance Garcia.  Trevor Rosenthal made his return from elbow pain with a 13-pitch two strikeout first inning.  The seven inning game lasted an enjoyable one hour and twenty-two minutes. 


In Game 2 on Friday night, the Cardinals got the hitting sticks back and cruised to an 11-3 victory.  Starter and winning pitcher Kevin Siegrist looked like a pitcher that should be back in Batavia as he struck out seven and walked none over five innings.  Siegrist allowed just three hits and one run (none earned).  The two singles he allowed were well placed three-hopper groundballs and his double was a routine fly ball that center fielder Reggie Williams lost in the twilight.  Every Cardinal batter recorded at least one hit.  Roberto Reyes was the only batter not to score a run.  1B Phil Cerreto raised his batting average to .420 by going 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.  Cerreto also took the team lead in a very rare combination of categories:  home runs (7) and stolen bases (6).  Romulo Ruiz, who seemed to enjoy his DH assignment, broke out of a 4-for-35 (.114) slump by going 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs.  C Cody Stanley also took the team lead in a rare category for catchers:  triples (4).


In the rubber match between the White Sox and Cardinals on Saturday night, Johnson City was outhit by Bristol 14-7 but won the game 6-4 in 11 innings.  The main reason was that Bristol walked six and hit two batters while Johnson City walked none and hit no batters.  Down 4-0 in the sixth inning, Reggie Williams came through with a bases loaded, 1-2 count, two-out triple to give the Cardinals some life in the game.  After tying the game 4-4 in the seventh inning on a Romulo Ruiz sacrifice fly, Johnson City batters proceeded to strikeout eight consecutive times from the eighth through tenth innings.  Tied 4-4 in the eleventh inning with runners on first and second base, Oscar Taveras also hit a 1-2 count, two-out triple to give the Cardinals a 6-4 lead.  NOTE:  The official scorer in Bristol had Corpas entering the game in the tenth with two outs.  This was incorrect; Corpas entered the game to begin the eleventh inning.  Therefore, Bob Revesz picked up his third win in relief and Hector Corpas racked up his 11th save.  The stats discussed in this article assume that this scoring correction will be made. 


Johnson City 5 @ Greeneville 2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/02/10

Johnson City 14 @ Greeneville 2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/03/10

Johnson City 5 @ Greeneville 3, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/04/10

Johnson City 1 @ Bristol 2, Game 1, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/07/10

Johnson City 11 @ Bristol 3, Game 2, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/07/10

Johnson City 6 @ Bristol 4, Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 08/08/10


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 – i.e. Rosenthal).  Six of the pitchers spent time in the Cardinals organization last year (Hernandez, De Jesus, Daugherty, Johnson, Jimenez, and Siegrist).  The other four pitchers were drafted during the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft.


Tandem Starting Pitchers (10): 

LHP Ryan Copeland and LHP Hector Hernandez

RHP Angel De Jesus and LHP Pat Daugherty

RHP Trevor Rosenthal (reduced pitch count) and RHP Cale Johnson

LHP Kevin Siegrist and RHP Charllan Jimenez

RHP Boone Whiting and LHP Jeff Nadeau


Tandem Starter Pitch Counts


8/1:  Boone Whiting:  72 pitches, 54 strikes, 13-for-20 first-pitch strikes.

8/1:  Jeff Nadeau:  38 pitches, 26 strikes, 5-for-10 first-pitch strikes.

8/2:  Ryan Copeland:  55 pitches, 39 strikes, 11-for-18 first-pitch strikes.

8/2:  Hector Hernandez:  29 pitches, 22 strikes, 8-for-11 first-pitch strikes.

8/3:  Angel De Jesus:  71 pitches, 43 strikes, 13-for-19 first-pitch strikes.

8/3:  Pat Daugherty:  36 pitches, 26 strikes, 5-for-9 first-pitch strikes.

8/6:  Trevor Rosenthal:  13 pitches, 8 strikes, 2-for-3 first-pitch strikes.

8/6:  Cale Johnson:  54 pitches, 37 strikes, 9-for-20 first-pitch strikes.

8/6:  Kevin Siegrist: 60 pitches, 41 strikes, 14-for-19 first-pitch strikes.

8/6:  Charllan Jimenez:  35 pitches, 22 strikes, 5-for-8 first-pitch strikes.

8/7:  Jeff Nadeau:  47 pitches, 32 strikes, 11-for-17 first-pitch strikes.

8/7:  Boone Whiting:  35 pitches, 27 strikes, 11-for-12 first-pitch strikes.


Who's Hot (Hitters)


Four different hitters hit .313 or better this week.  Those hitters are listed below in decreasing order of this week's batting average.  Taveras, Garcia, Ruiz, Hill, and Edmondson who each hit between .200 and .300 this week, are listed after the top four due to their top ten listings in the league rankings.     


RF/1B Phil Cerreto improved his league leading season batting average from .388 to .420 this week.  As you might expect, you have to have a great week to do that and Cerreto definitely had one.  Cerreto posted a .625/.684/1.063 line in four games this week.  He could have played more games and perhaps even hit better had he not been it in the hand last week.  Cerreto led the team for the third week in a row in hits (10), doubles (4), and RBIs (8).  He also led the team this week in runs (7), home runs (1), stolen bases (3), and hit by pitches (2).  Cerreto now ranks first in the league in batting average (.420), OBP (.459), and OPS (1.216).  He is second in RBIs (37) and slugging (.756).  He is third in total bases (90) and doubles (15).  Cerreto ranks fifth in hits (50) and seventh in home runs (7).  He has an active seven game hit streak. 



CF Reggie Williams (.266) was 7-for-20 (.350) with three triples, six RBIs, four runs, four walks, and one stolen base in six games this week.  Williams, pictured, is tied for sixth in the league in triples (4). 


C Cody Stanley (.331) was 9-for-26 (.346) with two triples, seven runs, and four walks in six games this week.  Stanley, pictured below taking a strike this week in Bristol, is sixth in the league in batting average (.331), sixth in triples (4), eighth in OPS (.896), and ninth in RBIs (28). 



SS Cesar Valera (.188) was 5-for-16 (.313) with three runs and a stolen base.  Valera committed just one error this week. 


LF Oscar Taveras (.348) posted a .273/.273/.409 line this week in six games.  Taveras ranks third in the league in batting average, SLG (.621), and OPS (1.027).  He is fifth in both RBIs (28) and OBP (.406).  Taveras ranks third in batting average (.348), fourth in OPS (.974), fourth in RBIs (31), fifth in slugging (.587), seventh in total bases (81), eighth in runs (28), ninth in OBP (.387), tenth in home runs (6), and tenth in hits (48). 


2B/SS Greg Garcia (.292) had two sacrifice bunts this week to extend his team lead to three.  Garcia is third in the league in runs (36).  Garcia performed well this week in a few extra chances at shortstop than he might normally see.  He doesn't have as much range or as strong an arm as Valera, however, he has a quicker load and release and better accuracy. 


3B/DH Romulo Ruiz (.256) warmed up a little bit this week (.217 vs. .087 last week) but continues his slide down the team batting average ranks.  Despite his continued struggles, Ruiz still ranks second in the league in walks (25), second in games (43), fourth in doubles (14), and seventh in RBIs (29).  Ruiz committed two errors this week (both throwing). 


RF Virgil Hill (.286) is tenth in the league in triples (3). 


LF Chris Edmondson (.283) is still tenth in the Appy league in home runs (6) as he tears up the New York-Penn League in the early going. 



Who's Not Hot (Hitters)


It was a very good team effort this week for Johnson City.  No hitter hit below .200 this week.  In fact, Cesar Valera was the only one of 13 hitters who didn't get an RBI this week.  Valera, Taveras, and Reyes were the only three who didn't walk at least once.  This week we will give some much overdo credit to hitting coach Ramon Ortiz (pictured).


Who's Hot (Pitchers)


Three pitchers allowed no earned runs this week with WHIPs of less than 1 over at least three innings pitched.  Those three are listed below followed by the top ten league leaders in several pitching categories. 


Ryan Copeland (5-0, 1.49 ERA) allowed three hits and one walk this week (0.80 WHIP) over five innings pitched.  Copeland is first in the league in WHIP (0.77), first in ERA (1.49), third in wins (5), and seventh in holds (2).  Copeland leads all the tandem starters in percentage of strikeouts of batters faced (28%). 


Kevin Siegrist (2-1, 2.08 ERA) allowed three hits and no walks this week (0.60 WHIP) over five innings pitched.  Siegrist led all eight pitchers with at least three innings pitched this week with a 12.6 K/9 rate.  



Hector Corpas (0-1, 2.04 ERA) recorded three saves this week.  He leads the league in saves (11), games finished (14), and games (16).  Corpas, pictured, leads the team's relievers with a 0.90 WHIP.  I was able to see pitch velocities Saturday night on a stadium display for the first time this year in Bristol.  Corpas, who threw 17 pitches, sat 89-91 MPH and topped out at 92 MPH on his fast ball.  His slider, which is his primary strikeout pitch and which he throws more than half the time, was 81-82 MPH.  He appeared to throw a couple of slow, loopy curves in the upper 60s that were out of the zone.


Aidan Lucas (0-0, 3.21 ERA) leads the league in games (16) and holds (5).  Lucas threw seven pitches last night.  His "heavy" fastball appeared to sit at 89-90 MPH.  He throws both a two-seam and four-seam fastball that each seem to have good movement. 


Chris Patterson, Charllan Jimenez, Drew Benes, Hector Hernandez, and Angel De Jesus are among the league leaders in holds.  Benes threw 19 pitches last night.  His fastball topped out at 89 MPH and sat 86-88 MPH.  He appeared to have a 72-74 MPH inconsistent curve ball and an 83-85 MPH cut fastball.



Boone Whiting (3-2, 4.85 ERA) is ninth in the league in strikeouts (46).  Whiting sat 85-88 MPH and topped out at 91 MPH on his fastball.  He appears to throw a curve and a changeup and/or slider for strikes.  His curve was around 73-74 MPH and his changeup and/or slider was 76-80 MPH.  His large number of strikeouts revolves around his ability to throw strikes consistently at three different speeds.  Whiting, pictured, has good "pitchability" as pitching coach Doug White would say. 


Who's Not Hot (Pitchers)


No pitchers posted ERAs of greater than 3.6 or WHIPs greater than 1.2 over three or more innings pitched this week.


Pat Daugherty (2-2, 7.67 ERA) recorded a 10.78 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over one and two thirds innings this week.  



Charllan Jimenez (0-1, 5.40 ERA, pictured) recorded a 9.00 ERA and 1.50 WHIP over two innings pitched this week. 


Week Eight Schedule


Game 46 (Sun):     Hernandez/Copeland @ Elizabethton Twins

Game 47 (Mon):     Daugherty/De Jesus vs. Burlington Royals

Game 48 (Tue):     Rosenthal (3 innings)/Johnson vs. Burlington Royals

Game 49 (Wed):     Jimenez/Siegrist vs. Burlington Royals

Game 50 (Thu):     Whiting/Nadeau vs. Greeneville Astros

Game 51 (Fri):       Copeland/Hernandez vs. Greeneville Astros

Game 52 (Sat):      De Jesus/Daugherty vs. Greeneville Astros   


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