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St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Report: Paul Dejong's great double-header, Sandy Alcantara's 10 strikeouts, and Daniel Bard

The Cardinals have five minor league teams with guaranteed playoff spots this year: Springfield, Peoria, State College, Johnson City, and the GCL Cardinals!

Bader didn't play well last night, but his first half performance still helped Springfield to a playoff spot.
Bader didn't play well last night, but his first half performance still helped Springfield to a playoff spot.
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Triple-A: Cancelled -- Rain

Double-A: Springfield 2 -- Arkansas 4

  • Harrison Bader, CF, 0-for-4, 3 Ks
  • Alex Mejia, SS, 1-for-4
  • Paul DeJong, 3B, 1-for-3, 2B
  • Luke Voit, DH, 0-for-3
  • Jacob Wilson, 2B, 1-for-3, K, R
  • Blake Drake, RF, 2-for-2, BB, R
  • Vaughn Bryan, LF, 1-for-3, K, 2 RBI
  • Daniel Poncedeleon, 6 IP, 3 Ks, 3 BBs, 6 Hits, 4 ER
This was just a seven inning game, though with the Arkansas Travelers leading at home heading into the seventh, Poncedeleon only had to pitch six innings to go complete the game.

Springfield 2 -- Arkansas 1

  • Vaughn Bryan, RF, 0-for-3, BB, K, CS
  • Alex Mejia, DH, 0-for-4, R
  • Paul DeJong, SS, 3-for-3, 2 2Bs, R, RBI
  • Jacob Wilson, 3B, 0-for-2, BB, K
  • Blake Drake, CF, 0-for-3, 3 Ks
  • Austin Gomber, 2 1/3 IP, 2 Ks, 2 BBs, 3 Hits, ER
This was another seven inning affair, though a bit more positive for the Cardinals. An interesting note is that Mejia, presumably in AA to help Springfield in the playoffs and to be the primary SS, served as the DH in this game while DeJong played short, which is a bit of a stretch for him at this level. I can't comment on how DeJong fielded in this game, but he definitely had a good night at the plate.

Also of note, Harrison Bader, also in Springfield to support the Cardinals in their playoff run, sat out the second game after going 0-for-4 with 3 Ks in the first one.

The Cardinals have already clinched a playoff berth by virtue of having the best record in the first half of the season. While they are just three games out from first in the 2nd half, if they did win the division in the 2nd half as well, it would only slightly alter the first round schedule. If they manage to win both halves, they will host games 1, 2, and 5 (if necessary), but if they do not they will only host the first two games of the series. In the former scenario (where they win the division in both half-seasons), they'll face off against whichever team had the second best full season record. In the latter scenario (winning just the first half-season), they will face the 2nd half winner. This is all according to the Texas League Playoff Procedures, as found here. Five games remain in the regular season for Springfield.

Class A Advanced: Fort Myers 2 -- Palm Beach 5

  • Oscar Mercado, CF, 2-for-4, 2 Runs, SB (32nd)
  • Juan Herrera, SS, 1-for-4, 3B, K, R, RBI
  • Danny Diekroeger, DH, 1-for-2, R, RBI
  • Casey Grayson, 1B, 2-for-2, RBI
  • Thomas Spitz, LF, 2-for-2, BB, R, SB
  • Brennan Leitao, 4 IP, 2 Ks, BB, 3 Hits, ER
  • Daniel Bard, 1/3 IP, 2 BBs, W
Another seven-inning game.

You might recognize that last name on this list; Daniel Bard was a first round pick by the Red Sox in 2006. After making it to the majors and posting some very good seasons in relief from 2009-2011, the wheels fell off in 2012 and have stayed off. In 2012 Bard's walk rate nearly doubled, and his K% fell from over 25% the three previous seasons to under 15%. Things got worse in 2013, as he was demoted down through the minors, where he continued to walk more than twice the batters he struck out, even walking six against one strikeout in Rookie ball. He was cut by the Sox, and has bounced among the Cubs, Rangers, and Pirates as teams take a flyer on a guy who is only 31 and once posted a 1.93 ERA for the Red Sox over nearly 75 IP.

After the Pirates released him in May, the Cardinals signed him in June, and he made his debut August 12th for Palm Beach. So far? Ten walks, five hit batsmen, in six appearances and less than two innings. In this one he was entrusted with a high leverage situation, coming in with runners on the corners and two outs with the team down just one run. He induced a pop-up to end the inning, but unfortunately walked the first two batters he faced in the next inning, and was pulled from the game. The PB Cardinals did retake the lead in between Bard's trips to the mound, and for that he gets a "W".

It's really tough to see a guy struggle this much, and I really hope Bard is able to find some sort of success in his attempt at a comeback.

Fort Myers 1 -- Palm Beach 0

  • Oscar Mercado, CF, 1-for-3
  • Brayan Pena, C, 0-for-3, K
  • Sandy Alcantara, 7 IP, 10 Ks, 3 BBs, 3 Hits, ER
The PB Cardinals were unable to capitalize on Alcantara's impressive start, as they collectively went 3-for-24, with two walks, and one extra base.

Alcantara's 7 IP were good enough to go the distance in this makeup game from yesterday's postponement.

Class A: Beloit 4 -- Peoria 8

  • Magneuris Sierra, CF, 0-for-4, RBI
  • Eliezer Alvarez, 2B, 1-for-4, 2B, K, R, RBI
  • Brian O'Keefe, C, 1-for-4, K, R
  • Chris Chinea, DH, 2-for-3, 2B, BB, R, 2 RBI
  • Leobaldo Pina, 3B, 2-for-4, 2B, K, R, RBI
  • Carlos Torres, RF, 2-for-4, 2 Runs
  • Craig Aikin, LF, 2-for-4, 2 2Bs, K, 2 RBI
  • Jorge L. Rodriguez, 6 IP, 4 Ks, 4 BBs, 5 Hits, ER
Like the Springfield Cardinals, the Peoria Chiefs were first half division winners have clinched a playoff spot, despite being 11.5 games behind the Clinton LumberKings in the 2nd half. They have five regular season games before facing the LumberKings in the playoffs.

Class A Short-Season: Aberdeen 6 -- State College 3

  • Tommy Edman, 2B, 1-for-4
  • Vince Jackson, CF, 1-for-3, BB, 2 Ks, R, RBI
  • Elier Rodriguez, 1B, 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Riley Drongesen, C, 1-for-3, K
The State College Spikes are also playoff bound, having clinched their division title. With five games remaining in the season, the Spikes are firmly in contention for best overall record. Their current 46 -- 25 mark is bested only by the Hudson Valley Renegades (a Tampa Bay affiliate), who stand at 45 -- 24.

Rookie: Pulaski 8 -- Johnson City 0

  • Matt Fiedler, LF, 1-for-4, BB, K
  • Joey Hawkins, SS, 2-for-3, 2B, K
With just one game remaining on their schedule, the JC Cardinals have already clinched their division and a playoff spot. In fact, they clinched yesterday in spite of the loss, as their closest division rival lost as well. They'll face the 2nd place finisher in their division in a best-of-three first round.

Rookie GCL: Cancelled -- Rain

The GCL Cardinals are also playoff bound! They have one more game today, before they start the playoffs with a one-game do-or-die series on Friday.

Today's Probables:

Memphis: Mike Mayers

Springfield: J.C. Sulbaran

Palm Beach: Jack Flaherty

Peoria: Jake Woodford

State College: Bryan Dobzanski

GCL Cardinals: TBA

Johnson City: Anthony Shew