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Weekly Farm Recap 5/20-26: Sosa Mashes, Warner Spins a Gem

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Edmundo Sosa’s bat erupts and Austin Warner tosses a complete game shutout in this week’s recap.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This week featured what was probably one of the most-watched Memphis Redbirds games of the season, with Alex Reyes completing his final rehab outing. As was highlighted earlier this week, he was dominant. Reyes’ 13 Ks over seven innings, nine of which were consecutive punchouts, ran his rehab totals up to a 44:7 K:BB with no earned runs over 23 innings. As you prepare yourself for the addition of yet another piece of this youthful pitching renaissance taking place in St. Louis, catch up on this week’s best performances from the farm. As always, you can read the daily recaps here.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (5-2), Year (30-20)

Ten games above .500 is not a bad place to be. Memphis’ 5-2 week and 30-20 overall record show that, despite the roster churn, they’re still the team to beat in the PCL. Even gifted an Alex Reyes start, the offense scored seven runs, so it’s hard to attribute that one solely to the young hurler. The starting pitching was solid across the board for Memphis, with each starter going at least six innings and giving up no more than two earned runs. The Redbirds sport the best record in the Pacific Coast League, sitting four games ahead of the Nashville Sounds in the PCL American Southern.

Pitcher of the Week

Dakota Hudson (RHP): 2 GS, 14 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 16 Ks

Starting pitching was a major asset for Memphis this week, and Dakota Hudson contributed two of the team’s quality starts. His Saturday outing was his most impressive, striking out nine, walking one and scattering four hits in eight innings of shutout ball. Though his peripherals indicate his results may be better than his performance has warranted, he sports a 2.30 ERA through nine starts and is averaging roughly six innings per outing.

Player of the Week

Oscar Mercado (CF): .375/.375/.531, 6 R, 2 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 7 K, SB

In case you haven’t heard it enough, Oscar Mercado is good. Of his seven starts this week, five featured multi-hit performances, including a 4-for-5 night on Thursday. Admittedly I didn’t watch enough of Mercado this week to know if he made a change in approach, but he simultaneously boosted his average by 22 points (.317 to .339) and increased his season strikeout total by over 35%. His walks have fallen off a cliff, not drawing a BB in the past nine games, but going 12-for-32 definitely lessens the blow. His 59 hits are tied for the third-most in the PCL while his 11 stolen bases hold the fifth place in the league.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (4-4), Year (26-23)

Springfield kept pace this week, playing eight games in seven days due to a doubleheader against NW Arkansas last Sunday (in which they lost both games). The Cardinals currently hold a three-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 18-4 in that span. With a win today, they would complete the sweep against the Texas League South-leading San Antonio Missions (30-19). Springfield has a 1.5-game lead over the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League North.

Pitcher of the Week

Ian McKinney (LHP): 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 Ks

As much as starters were an asset for Memphis, they were a liability for Springfield. McKinney pitched well for the Cardinals out of the bullpen, with two outings of more than two innings, both coming in wins. McKinney was promoted from Palm Beach at the end of April and struggled to settle in but looked solid this week, allowing no hits in one of his game-ending appearances.

Player of the Week

Edmundo Sosa (SS/2B): .485/.500/.758, 5 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1 BB, 10 Ks

Sosa hasn’t been a standout at the plate beyond rookie ball and had a very rough start to the year, but he erupted this past week. Going 16-for-33 with three doubles and two home runs, Sosa nearly doubled his XBH-count and raised his average by 47 points. Like Mercado, his strikeouts went through the roof and walks bottomed out, but that’s more in-line with his career norms.

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (2-3), Year (26-19)

Palm Beach went 2-3 this week with three of their scheduled games being postponed, two of which comprised a scheduled doubleheader last Sunday. The two wins came on a stellar pitching performance and a high-scoring close call, while the losses were pretty decisive affairs, excluding one late-game comeback attempt falling short for Palm Beach. The Cardinals still sit three games behind the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League South, against whom they open a three-game set on Friday.

Pitcher of the Week

Austin Warner (RHP): 1 GS, CG, 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 Ks

Warner takes the honors again for Palm Beach, tossing a gem against Lakeland on Monday. Warner allowed only four baserunners over the entirety of his complete game shutout, striking out ten along the way. Warner has been stringing together a slew of strong starts, striking out at least nine batters in four of his last five outings (the fifth featured six Ks). What’s more is that Warner has performed better than his 2.86 ERA indicates, with a 2.03 FIP and 2.71 xFIP on the season.

Player of the Week

Danny Hudzina (3B): .313/.389/.625 5 R, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K

Hudzina was set to start the year with the short-season State College Spikes, but was assigned to Palm Beach on May 18 and started in the day’s game — he promptly went yard. And then did the same the next day. He started in all five of the Cardinals’ games this week, going 5-for-16 with more extra-base hits than singles. Hudzina wasn’t below-average at the plate in his first two seasons, posting wRC+s in the 90s both years, but he’s already making the most of his chance at Palm Beach.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (4-4), Year (25-22)

Peoria was another case of an abnormally-full week due to a doubleheader, finishing the week’s games right at the .500 mark. Five of Peoria’s games were decided by one run; they were 3-2 in those close calls. The team currently sits one game behind both the Clinton LumberKings and the Quad Cities River Bandits, who are tied for the lead in the Midwest League Western. Peoria will look to gain ground and resurrect a five-game series against Quad Cities over the next two days, currently down 1-2 in the set.

Pitcher of the Week

Bryan Dobzanski (RHP): 3 G, SV, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 Ks

Dobzanski was heavily used by Peoria this week and performed well, allowing no runs over 4.1 innings, netting a save in one outing. Dobzanski has been a crucial piece of Peoria’s bullpen over the course of the season, as eight of his 15 appearances have been for more than one inning. He’s pitched to a 1.59 ERA in that time.

Player of the Week

Zach Kirtley (2B): .250/.280/.375, 2 R, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K

Peoria’s offense was dormant, with no one truly delivering a strong performance. Kirtley takes the title this week due to his three doubles, as he had just one coming into the week. Since being assigned to Peoria from State College on May 7, Kirtley has hit to a paltry .227/.282/.288 triple-slash.