A recap of the minor league action for the St. Louis Cardinals during spring training.
Welcome! As the year gears up for the major league players, the minor league players have started the throwing of the baseballs as well. Each year, Farm Director John Vuch is generous enough to compile some of the days happenings from the backfields where the minor league squads face off. (An added thanks to the minor league coaching staff and off day pitchers charting in the stands for making this possible.)
If spring training stats are difficult to parse for their portent, what you'll find below is even worse. Players are on pitch counts, the scoring for a single event may be different (RBOE vs. hit) and the rules are "informal". You will not parse the information below to find a 40th round version of Shelby Miller. I hope that you won't find the real Shelby Miller in these reports for the rest of spring either.
Many of the "name" prospects are still with the big league camp so you won't find them below yet. That will change as spring progresses. For now, I've selected the most intriguing results from a longer list so sit back and enjoy as the minor league season draws a little closer. (Editor's Note: The Cardinals provide the stats and only the stats. Any comments below are the author's.)
- Scott Gorgen threw 2 innings allowing 4 hits and 1 ER. He struck out 2. This seems like a critical year for Gorgen as, eventually, his prospect age is going to catch up with him. He's a soft-tossing right hander with an excellent changeup. Those pitchers don't hang around long in a farm system with so many fireballers.
- Lee Stopplelman pitched 2 perfect innings striking out 5. If you weren't paying attention last year, you missed Stoppelman blowing away the competition in short season baseball with 49Ks in 34 innings. Did I mention he's a lefty? Watch to see if the Cardinals move aggressively with the University of Central Missouri graduate.
- Mitch Harris, formerly of the Navy, pitched 1 inning allowing a hit and striking out 1.
- Sam Tuivailala, who has converted to pitching after being drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft as a shortstop, pitched 1 inning allowing 2 hits and 1 ER. He struck out 2.
- Robert Stock, another position player convert, allowed 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2 over 2 IP.
- Joe Cuda pitched 2 scoreless innings allowing 1 hit and striking out 3.
- Max Foody pitched 2.2 IP allowing 1 hit and striking out 1.
- Mike Aldrete struck out the side in his inning of work.
- Jose Almarante struck out 2 in a perfect inning.
- Jermaine Curtis, the corner infielder proficient at getting on base, showed some uncharacteristic power with a home run in his only at bat.
- Anthony Garcia, a name you should hear more about this year, was 1-for-2.
- Neal Pritchard homered in his only at bat.
- Returning after a year lost to shoulder surgery, Charlie Tilson, the Cardinals second round pick in the 2011 draft, went 2-for-3 with a triple.
- Matt Williams was 2-for-2 with a home run.
- Breyvic Valera went 2-for-3 with a triple.
- Mike O'Neill was 1-for-2. O'Neill is another high on base player with impressive contact rates. He struck out in just 5% of his 478 plate appearances at Palm Beach last year. That is, however, the full extent of his skills and, as an outfielder, those skills may not be enough to carry him all the way to the big leagues.
- Carson Kelly, the highly ranked 2012 draftee, went 1-for-3.
- Alex Mejia, the 2012 draftee from the University of Arizona, was 1-for-3 with a double. He's more regarded for his glove at shortstop than his bat.