With weather cutting the postseason short, the South Division champion Palm Beach Cardinals were named co-champions of the Florida State League for the 2017 season, along with the North Division champion Dunedin Blue Jays. Although offense usually steals the show, quality starting pitching was key in Palm Beach’s success.
In 17 games (16 starts) for the Cardinals this season, right-hander Ryan Helsley worked to a 2.78 FIP with 91 strikeouts. Helsley, 22, allowed only three home runs and walked 30 over 93 2⁄3 innings. His impressiveness led to Helsley being named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Year.
Here’s Helsley pitching for Springfield, following his FSL campaign:
Ryan Helsley Tabbed as FSL Pitcher of the Year
Jake Woodford led the Palm Beach staff in innings pitched in 2017, logging 119 in 23 games — 21 starts. In his age 20 season, Woodford managed a 71.6 left on-base percentage and an ERA of 3.10.
Derian Gonzalez made 15 starts, Junior Fernandez made 16, and Connor Jones started 21 games for Palm Beach this season as well.
At the plate, Cardinals infielder Darren Seferina led the club (minimum of 300 PA) with a 124 wRC+ to pair with a team-high .764 OPS. Infielder and designated hitter Chris Chinea led the offense with 24 doubles, and outfielder Thomas Spitz led the way with 11 stolen bases in 15 attempts.
Contrary to trends in the Majors this season, Palm Beach saw very few long balls in 2017. The Cardinals combined for 51 home runs, with Randy Arozarena’s nine leading the team.
That does it for our Palm Beach Cardinals review. Next time, we’ll look back on the Peoria Chiefs.
Video is credited to the official Minor League Baseball channel.