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St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Report: Marco Gonzales has a 0.00 ERA in his rehab starts; Anthony Garcia homers again in his breakout season; SS Oscar Mercado grabs two hits; Magneuris Sierra continues Rookie-Ball rampage

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The affiliates were 3-4, with wins for Memphis, Springfield, and Peoria. Palm Beach's game was postponed.

Anthony Garcia is congratulated after homering for Puerto Rico in the Pan-Am games in Toronto this year.
Anthony Garcia is congratulated after homering for Puerto Rico in the Pan-Am games in Toronto this year.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday's Games

Highlights

Marco Gonzales -- 3 2/3 IP, 3 Ks, 0 BBs, 3 Hits, 0 ER

Gonzales threw 71 pitches, and 51 for strikes, in his fourth rehab appearance. In 11 1/3 IP he has 10 Ks and no walks, and no earned runs, though two unearned did score against him in his second start for Palm Beach. After struggling a bit in six starts for Memphis to start the year, Gonzales had been shelved since 5/19 with a shoulder impingement before his current rehab process. If he can return to AAA and pitch well, he could bolster the big league club's rotation or bullpen.

Anthony Garcia -- 1-for-4, HR, K, R, 2 RBI

Garcia's HR provided the only runs for Springfield in a 2-1 victory. As Red Baron mentioned in yesterday's main post, Garcia has been crushing AA pitching after a couple of pretty unimpressive years in the Florida State League. After getting on the Cardinal prospect radar with a 143 wRC+ in A in 2012, thanks to a .338 BABIP and .245 ISO, he suddenly put up two mediocre offensive seasons. His ISO fell to .165 and .157 in 2013 and 2014, and his BABIPs in that time were .257 and .252. However, though his overall line failed to impress, his second year did have some important improvements; his walk rate rose from 6.7% to 9.7%, and his K% fell from 24.6% to 16.4%. This year he has expanded on that, lower his K-rate further to just 13.1% and boosting his BB% to 14.4%. That he was able to do this while also recovering some of his ISO and BABIP (.216 and .285 this year) and jump a level to AA is quite impressive. In the past I've been skeptical of Garcia's prospect status, as he was a K-machine at Single A, but with his now-excellent peripherals, he's a very intriguing prospect in a system lacking offensive weapons.

Oscar Mercado -- 2-for-4, SB, R

Oscar Mercado is a glove-first SS prospect the Cardinals selected in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft. I'm generally really skeptical of any draft prospects that aren't identified as hitters -- if you can hit, teams will find you a position, if you can't hit, you're lucky to find the majors at all. That said, Mercado is just 20 still, so he has time to improve on his (dreadful) .249/.289/.320 line for Peoria. If his defense is as good as it was believed to be on draft day, and he can become a halfway decent hitter, he can be a sneaky valuable player.

Magneuris Sierra -- 2-for-4, K

Sierra started the year with a very aggressive promotion to full-season A-Ball, having just turned 19 two days before the season's first game. After 190 PAs there, it became apparent he wasn't yet ready for that challenge -- he had a wRC+ of just 34 (he was producing at 34% of the league average). Demoted to Rookie Ball in Johnson City, he has picked up where he left off in 2014. His current line is .341/.370/.443, actually down a bit from last season's .386/.434/.505 line. It's an eye-popping line, but both this season and last it has been driven primarily by very high BABIPs: .389 in 2015, and .444 in 2014. Despite his excellent slash line, this is a concern for a guy who has shown very little power and whose walk rate has actually been declining the last two years, currently sitting at 3.3% in Rookie Ball this season.

Today's Games

Due to my very significant delay in getting this up, today's games are well under way. The DSL Cardinals lost 4-5 in 12, and the GCL Cardinals won 5-4. Palm Beach has a doubleheader scheduled, but the first game has been delayed due to rain again. If they do manage to play both games, Luke Weaver will start the second one.