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Spikes Tracks: Slow start; but intriguing storylines abound at State College

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The St. Louis Cardinals Short-Season State College Spikes has gotten off to a slow start to their 2018 season, but several intriguing storylines have shone through.

Welcome to “Spikes Tracks,” your weekly look at the State College Spikes, low-A short-season affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Each week, we’ll give you a snapshot look at the club, picking out the most intriguing “need to know” storylines and performances from the previous week.

#DelvinWatch

The Cardinals’ number 20 prospect — INF Delvin Perez — has scuffled over the first week of action, posting a .200/.304/.250 slash over his first five games with one extra base hit.

Manager Joe Kruzel isn’t worried.

“I think for him, it’s just a matter of getting the at-bats.” Kruzel told me after the Spikes opener. “He still needs seasoning, With these young guys, it’s hard for some to remember that it’s a process. But especially with Delvin, it is.”

That process was on display during the opener. Perez had a particularly rough at-bat in his first trip to the plate, swinging at two very bad pitches on his way to a strikeout.

“The way he came back in the next at-bat after that first inning says a lot.” Kruzel added.

Though Cardinals’ director of development Gary LaRocque was in attendance for the Spikes’ home opener, I did not get a chance to ask him what the club is looking from in Perez during the 2018 season, but that question looms large for the biggest “name value” prospect in Happy Valley.

The All-Name Team

A trio of Spikes prospects with hard-to-forget names had a great first week of action.

SS Wood Myers has added length to the bottom third of the order, with a .304/.360/.391 batting line. The 29th round pick is now 23 years old and may be making a final push to see if a future in the big leagues is in the cards for him.

CF Wadye Ynfante — now the Cardinals’ number 14 prospect — has taken nine total bases over his fist seven games. The athletic outfielder will be tried at all three outfield positions, I’ve been told, though eh was signed as a future center fielder. His 60 rated speed and 55 rated arm certainly suggest that he can handle any of the three.

RHP Franyel Casadilla has shone brightly over his first two starts, compiling 11 strikeouts against two walks over 11.2 innings pitched. Casadilla struggled in Johnson City in 2017, but a fresh start has done wonders for him. One Cardinals talent evaluator told me that “Casadilla is as under the radar as they come.” That may not be true for much longer.

The best thing you’ll see today

From the “minor league baseball is wacky” department, yesterday served as the highlight of the Spikes’ baseball season for many. It was the latest installment of “Cowboy monkey rodeo,” where monkeys ride dogs herding sheep.

It’s as incredible as it sounds, and here is a highlight clip from their various appearances:

You’re welcome.