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St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Report: Bryce Denton's four-hit game, and great starts from Deck McGuire, Derian Gonzalez, and Jorge Rodriguez

Despite great performances from a handful of players, the farm could only muster one win against six losses. With only a couple weeks left of minor league ball, the State College Spikes, GCL Cardinals, and Johnson City Cardinals are all leading their divisions in playoff races. The Springfield Cardinals and Peoria Chiefs are also guaranteed playoff spots by virtue of being in first place at the end of the first half.

Deck McGuire's great start wasn't enough to get a win for Memphis.
Deck McGuire's great start wasn't enough to get a win for Memphis.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Nashville 3 -- Memphis 0

  • Breyvic Valera, SS, 0-for-4, K
  • Dean Anna, 2B, 1-for-3
  • Carson Kelly, C, 1-for-3, 2B
  • Harrison Bader, CF, 0-for-3, 2 Ks
  • Patrick Wisdom, 3B, 2-for-3, 2B, SB, CS
  • Anthony Garcia, LF, 0-for-3
  • Deck McGuire, 6 IP, 8 Ks, BB, ER, 3 Hits
  • Ryan Sherriff, 1 1/3 IP, 2 Ks
Carson Kelly has come back to earth a bit since last week's post, hitting just .219 in his last ten games, and 4-for-17 in the last week. While his AAA batting average has dropped to .299 (from .313 last week), his BB% and K% have actually improved slightly. The trouble is that his BABIP has dropped from .373 to .350, though that latter number is still fairly high. This is a good reminder that Kelly has played fewer than 30 games for Memphis and none of these numbers are particularly meaningful. That said, the most concerning part of Kelly's line is his lack of power. His .074 ISO is lower than any other stop he's had in the minors, and he has yet to homer in AAA. Hopefully, with sustained walk and contact rates, the power will come.

Double-A: NW Arkansas 10 -- Springfield 4

  • Alex Mejia, SS, 0-for-3, 2 BBs, 3 Ks
  • Paul DeJong, 3B, 2-for-5, 2B, R
  • Allen Staton, RF, 2-for-3, R
  • Luis Cruz, CF, 3-for-4, 3B, K, R, 3 RBI
With Joey Hawkins being moved to Short-Season ball with State College, Alex Mejia was demoted to, I'm assuming, be the primary SS for the Springfield squad. It does seem like the Cardinals organization is short one shortstop at the higher levels, as this has left Breyvic Valera to start for Memphis (see above) though his primary position is second baseman. I would note though that Valera is not entirely unfamiliar with shortstop, as he's played 100+ games there in the minors, but he has played 3x as many games as a second baseman.

Class A Advanced: Palm Beach 0 -- Fort Myers 1

  • Oscar Mercado, CF, 0-for-4, K
  • Juan Herrerra, 0-for-4, K
  • Danny Diekroeger, DH, 2-for-2, 2 BBs
  • Derian Gonzalez, 7 IP, 8 Ks, 3 BBs, 3 Hits, ER
  • Kyle Grana, IP, 3 Ks, H
Gonzalez now has 19 Ks in just 18 innings across three starts for Palm Beach. The 21-year-old has also walked a few batters, with three free passes in each of his starts in the Florida State League. Still, he struck out nearly a third of the 26 batters he faced in this one, and in his ~145 career innings, he has struck out easily over 20% of opposing batters.

Class A: Peoria 11 -- Wisconsin 5

  • Magneuris Sierra, CF, 2-for-6, R, 2 RBI, Error
  • Brian O'Keefe, DH, 1-for-4, BB, K, R
  • Chris Chinea, 1B, 2-for-5, K, R
  • Jorge L. Rodriguez, 6 IP, 6 Ks, 0 BBs, 2 Hits, 2 Runs, 0 ER
Rodriguez was signed back in 2012, showing some potential in DSL and GCL games, striking out more than 20% of his opponents. However, he was not particularly impressive last season for State College, striking out just 15.3% of batters, and walking nearly 10%. This year has been different though -- better. Although he's primarily pitched in relief, most of his appearances have been multiple innings (possibly as part of a "piggyback" rotation). He is striking out nearly a quarter of batters now, and his walk rate is down to 6%, a career best and an all around good mark besides. His last four games have all been as the starter, and he has racked up 23 Ks against 3 walks in those 19 2/3 IP.

Class A Short-Season: Batavia 6 -- State College 5

  • Tommy Edman, SS, 1-for-4, BB, R, RBI
  • Andy Young, 2B, 2-for-5, 2B, 2 Runs
  • Jeremy Martinez, C, 2-for-5
  • Ryan McCarvel, DH, 3-for-5, K, 4 RBI
  • Danny Hudzina, 3B, 0-for-3, BB, R

Rookie DSL: DSL Cardinals 2 -- DSL Braves 4

  • William Jimenez, RF, 1-for-2, BB, SB
  • Carlos Soto, C, 1-for-3, K, Passed Ball
  • Elehuris Montero, 3B, 1-for-2, RBI
This game was called after seven innings due to rain.

Rookie: Bristol 6 -- Johnson City 5

  • Caleb Lopes, 2B-SS, 3-for-4, BB, RBI
  • Matt Fiedler, LF, 2-for-5, 2B, K, RBI, Outfield Assist
  • Bryce Denton, 4-for-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI
  • Ian Oxnevad, 5 2/3 IP, 2 Ks, BB, 10 Hits, 2 ER
Fantastic game, obviously, for Denton, who was a triple shy of the cycle. The 19-year-old is hitting .293/.357/.376 this year, after a disappointing performance in the GCL last year, where his OPS was a paltry .500. He has really been heating up lately though, hitting over .400 in his last ten games, with three extra-base hits in that time as well (he had just six in his previous 38 contests).

Rookie GCL:

GCL Mets at GCL Cardinals was postponed due to rain.

Today's Probables:

Memphis: Jeremy Hefner

Springfield: Corey Baker

Palm Beach: Sandy Alcantara

Peoria: John Kilichowski

State College: Greg Tomchick


Johnson City: Ramon Santos