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St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Report: Carson Kelly continues AAA success, Oscar Mercado's turnaround, Ian McKinney's great start

A rough night on the farm, as the organization went 1 -- 8 on the night, with a handful of makeup games being added to the schedule. The short-season State College Spikes provided the lone win for the minor league clubs.

Carson Kelly is putting together his best season yet offensively
Carson Kelly is putting together his best season yet offensively
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Reno 4 -- Memphis 1

  • Breyvic Valera, 2B, 2-for-3, R
  • David Washington, RF, 0-for-3, K
  • Carson Kelly, C, 1-for-3, RBI
  • Patrick Wisdom, 3B, 0-for-3, 2 Ks
  • Harrison Bader, CF, 1-for-3
The Memphis squad was shutdown by a 7-inning complete game performance from St. Louis native Matt Buschmann, a 32-year old right-hander. Buschmann was drafted in the 15th round by the Padres in 2006. The Redbirds were unable to manage any extra-base hits against him in this game.

Carson Kelly has looked pretty good so far in AAA. While he has yet to show much power (.075 ISO), and his .313 batting average is largely dependent on a .373 BABIP, his walk rate is as high as it has been at any stop in his professional career (8.9%), and he has maintained a solid K% of 15.6%. That strikeout mark is actually lower than his AA mark this year of 19.5%. Those are pretty solid peripherals, particularly for a player that only turned 22 a bit over a month ago.

On the other hand Harrison Bader has had a real rough time of late with a .160 average in his last ten. His walk and strikeout rates at AAA are actually better than his AA numbers were, however his BABIP has dropped from .352 in the Texas League to .289 in the PCL, and his ISO has similarly dropped from .205 to .124. None of his numbers are particularly untenable, but none of them are excellent, and without notable success in one are it's going to be hard for him to raise his 77 wRC+. However, Chris Mitchell's KATOH rankings at fangraphs recently listed him as the 65th best prospect based on statistical projection and Baseball America's prospect rankings. For comparison, former Cardinals prospect Charlie Tilson (recently traded for Zach Duke) ranked 81st, and recent Cardinals callup Alex Reyes ranked 7th.

Reno 10 -- Memphis 4

  • Efren Navaroo, 1B, 3-for-3, BB, 2 Runs, RBI
  • David Washington, LF, 1-for-4, K
  • Mike Ohlman, C, 2-for-3, BB, HR, R, 2 RBI
  • Harrison Bader, PH, 0-for-1, K
  • Alex Mejia, SS, 3-for-4, 2B, R
  • Patrick Wisdom, 3B, 2-for-3
This game was also just 7 innings.

Double-A: Springfield 6 -- Frisco 9

  • Paul DeJong, 3B, 0-for-4, 2 Ks
  • Luke Voit, 1B, 1-for-5, 2B, 2 Ks
  • Blake Drake, CF, 2-for-4, HR, K, 3 RBI, 2 Runs, Outfield Assist
Since the addition of Joey Hawkins to the Springfield roster on August 12th, DeJong hasn't played any more innings at SS. It looks like his initial transition was a positional depth issue.

Class A Advanced: Bradenton 1 -- Palm Beach 0

  • Oscar Mercado, CF, 1-for-3, PO/CS
  • Michael Pritchard, DH, 1-for-3, 2B
  • Casey Grayson, 1B, 1-for-2, BB
  • Ian McKinney, 6 IP, 8 Ks, 2 BBs, ER, 8 Hits
McKinney pitched a great game, going 6 of the shortened 7 innings, but with Pritchard's double being the team's only XBH, and Grayson earning the team's only walk, the PB Cardinals were unable to muster any runs in this one. For his part, even though this is his first pro season with an ERA north of 3 (4.30 so far), McKinney's FIP is 4.03, which is decent, if unspectacular.

Bradenton 5 -- Palm Beach 4

  • Oscar Mercado, CF, 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, Outfield Assist
  • Michael Pritchard, LF, 1-for-3, 2 RBI, Error
  • Steve Bean, C, 1-for-3, 2B, R, Passed Ball
  • Derian Gonzalez, 5 IP, 8 Ks, 3 BBs, 2 Hits, ER, 4 Runs
In this one, another 7 inning game, the PB Cardinals were undone by some sloppy defense, with three errors in the game, and a passed ball by Bean. They also were unable to draw a single walk in the game. This left Gonzalez out to dry in his second start for Palm Beach. He had a 2.39 ERA for Peoria in 75+ innings, and has a 0.82 mark for PB in 11 innings to date.

Oscar Mercado has been hitting markedly better lately. Just .237 in his last ten games, but .316 in August, with a .409 OBP and .429 SLG, which is really good, even if it's just 16 games. This tracks, roughly, with when Mercado moved off of SS in mid-late July.

Class A: Cedar Rapids 4 -- Peoria 1

  • Magneuris Sierra, CF, 1-for-4, R
  • Jose Martinez, SS, 1-for-3, BB, K
  • Jose Godoy, 2-for-4, K, RBI
  • Brian O'Keefe, C, 0-for-4 3 Ks
  • Dailyn Martinez, 7 2/3 IP, 7 Ks, BB, 9 Hits, 4 Runs, 3 ER

Class A Short-Season: Williamsport 3 -- State College 5

  • Tommy Edman, SS, 2-for-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
  • Elier Rodriguez, DH, 0-for-3, BB, K
  • Danny Hudzina, 3B, 1-for-3, 2 Runs
  • Steven Farinaro, 7 IP, 8 Ks, 0 BBs, 0 Runs, 4 Hits
Edman continues to excel in the short-season league, with a  .298/.408/.455 mark, and even has 13 SBs to 1 CS. This is roughly what you'd expect from a 6th round pick from a top college program like Stanford, but it'll be exciting to see him get a chance against some tougher competition next season, when he'll likely start the year at Peoria.

Rookie DSL: DSL Cardinals 0 -- DSL Brewers 2

  • Wadye Ynfante, LF-CF, 1-for-4, 2B, K
  • Brian Sanchez, RF, 0-for-4, K
  • Carlos Soto, DH, 1-for-4, 2 Ks

Rookie GCL: GCL Cardinals 1 -- GCL Astros 2

  • Delvin Perez, SS, 0-for-5, 3 Ks, SB
  • Dylan Carlson, LF, 2-for-4, SB
  • Mike O'Reilly, 4 IP, 6 Ks, BB, 2 Hits, 0 Runs (all in relief, innings 5 through 8)

Today's Probables:

Memphis: Arturo Reyes

Springfield: Johnny Walter

Palm Beach: Sandy Alcantara

Peoria: Jorge L. Rodriguez

State College: Dewin Perez

DSL Cardinals: TBD

Johnson City: Ian Oxnevad

GCL Cardinals: Anthony Ciavarella