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Weekly Farm Recap 6/10-16: Ravelo Rakes for Memphis

The week in review for the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals-Media Day Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning everyone, and a happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there. This week’s minor league action was a mixed bag, with two above-.500 records and two sub-.500 performances. There were some great individual performances, which we’ll detail. A Greg Holland rehab update: He picked up losses at two different levels (AA and AAA) this week. So that’s going well. As always, you can find the daily recaps here.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (4-2), Year (41-28)

Memphis continues to dominate the Pacific Coast League. The team shutout their opponent twice this week and scored six or more runs in all but one game (Saturday’s 13-1 loss). One of their two losses can be attributed to Greg Holland, who gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning; the Redbirds were unable to launch a comeback and lost 7-6. Their 41-28 record trails the OKC Dodgers (40-24) and the Fresno Grizzlies (41-27) for the best records in the PCL, but they hold a 7.5-game lead over the Nashville Sounds in the American Southern division.

Pitcher of the Week

John Gant (RHP): 2 GS, 13 IP, 12 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 K

Even the most casual fan is very familiar with Gant at this point, given his experience on the active roster. Though he gave up quite a few hits in his two starts this week, he allowed just one run and struck out 15 across his 13 innings. Even with the 12 hits, he held opponents to a .245 average in that span, pitching to a 2.18 FIP. Gant remains one of the many depth options the Cardinals have waiting in Memphis.

Player of the Week

Rangel Ravelo (1B): .417/.500/.792, 6 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, HBP

Ravelo has made this list before in 2018 and does so again on the back of a monster week. Reaching base in half of his 28 plate appearances, the minor league journeyman knocked three of his ten hits out of the park to nearly double his HR total on the year. Ravelo hit eight dingers in 2016 and 2017 each, but has nearly matched that total (seven) in almost half the plate appearances. There’s already a pretty long waiting list for reps at first base in St. Louis, but Ravelo and his above-average offense (113 wRC+) are making a case for a September call-up at the least.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (2-5), Year (32-36)

Springfield continues its downhill slide with another rough week. The Cardinals aren’t being blown out, as five of the seven games were decided by two runs or less, but losses are losses, and the runs add up; they were outscored 18-39 over the course of the week. Springfield is now 5-10 in the month of June and sit in the cellar of the North, having been eliminated from winning their division in the Texas League’s first half.

Pitcher of the Week

Connor Jones (RHP): 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, HBP

Jones has risen through the system very quickly. Taken in the second round of the 2016 draft, Jones has gone from rookie ball to AA in roughly two years and has pitched steadily the entire way. His pitching performance this week contributed to one of Springfield’s two wins, allowing just three of the 24 batters he faced to reach base. This marked the first time since May 11 that Jones didn’t allow a run in an appearance.

Player of the Week

Edmundo Sosa (SS): .393/.393/.643, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 K

It feels like Sosa has been in the Cardinals’ system forever, given that he first appeared in rookie ball in 2013, but the shortstop is only in his age-22 season. He still isn’t walking a ton, but Sosa has a .293 average on the year and currently holds a 103 wRC+, which isn’t bad for a shortstop whose primary tool is his glove. This week, Sosa displayed what has been the most surprising development of his 2018 season — an increase in power. After hitting two bombs in one game, his season total sits at seven, which is also his career high (2015).

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (4-2), Year (39-23)

Palm Beach put together another strong week, mainly on the back of a stout offensive performance. Excluding a shutout loss, the PB Cardinals scored 24 runs across the remaining five games. After pulling ahead of the Jupiter Hammerheads in the division just last week, Palm Beach now holds a two-game lead in the Florida State League South. Their magic number for winning the first half sits at four.

Pitcher of the Week

Will Latcham (RHP): 3 G, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Latcham has pitched predominantly as a closer since being drafted in the 17th round of last year’s draft and has done pretty well, with a 2.05 ERA in 30.2 IP last year and a 3.67 ERA across 27 innings for Palm Beach in 2018. He has a 13.67 K/9 on the year, but has also been a bit wild, putting up a 5.33 BB/9. This week, Latcham showed his versatility in three very different outings. He picked up two wins and a save, with the length of his three appearances varying between one out and two innings. He’s converted nine of his 12 save opportunities.

Player of the Week

Shane Billings (OF): .438/.471/.625 1 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K

The 23-year-old Billings got 238 PA at Palm Beach to end 2017 but struggled a bit offensively. He’s done much better in his 222 trips to the plate this season, putting up a .732 OPS. His .397 slugging percentage is the highest he’s posted in a season to-date, as is his .091 ISO. Billings flaunted the gap power this week, making quite a bit of contact and driving three of his seven hits into the outfield for extra bases. The most striking stat of Billings’ performance is that he didn’t strike out once in his 17 trips to the plate this week. Even though he walks very little, he’s yet to post a K% higher than 17% at any level.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (3-4), Year (38-31)

No no-no for the Chiefs this week. Peoria treaded water with a 3-4 record. It was a dichotomous performance, with three games being decided by just one run while two games (both losses) were decided by eight runs or more. The team now sits a game behind the Quad Cities River Bandits, tied with the Clinton LumberKings for second in the Midwest League Western division. Today’s game will determine the outcome of the first half, but the most Peoria can do is tie.

Pitcher of the Week

Alex Fagalde (RHP): 1 GS, 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Fagalde was a 30th-round pick in the 2016 draft who primarily pitched out of the bullpen in his first year of professional baseball, but has since transitioned to a starter role. He’s been stellar for Peoria in 2018, with a 2.55 ERA and a 21.4% K-BB% across five starts, in which he’s averaging around seven innings per appearance. This week, Fagalde highlighted his strong command by walking none and striking out six over six innings of one-run ball. A miniscule 28.9% GB% may be something to watch in the future, but for now Fagalde is having a solid season.

Player of the Week

Elehuris Montero (3B): .308/.379/.462, 1 R, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, HBP

Montero makes another appearance on this list, because the kid can hit. This week, he showed he can drive the ball to the gaps as well as over the outfield wall. On the season, he’s posted career highs in home runs and triples, and is one double away from matching his career high in that category as well. Montero’s .308 average this season is seventh-best in the Midwest League, and his .474 SLG is 13th.