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Weekly Farm Recap 5/27-6/2: Montero Mashes for Peoria

All Cardinals minor league affiliates are contending for division titles

It was an exciting week on the farm for most of the Cardinals affiliates, with both Carlos Martínez and Yadier Molina starting their rehabs, expected to be back Tuesday. There are close division races for every team at Springfield and below, and Memphis is cruising along. As always, you can read all the daily recaps here.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (5-2), Year (35-22)

Memphis is on a roll. They’ve gone 12-4 since May 19 and show no signs of slowing down. They aren’t consistently blowing out opponents, as this week featured four one-run contests, but they won all four of those games, including an extra-innings win last night in New Orleans. Their outstanding play is mainly the result of some stellar pitching—what a surprise—as they have surrendered the second-fewest runs and netted the second-most strikeouts in the Pacific Coast League. A credit to their work at the plate, though, is that they have the second-lowest strikeout total of all PCL offenses. The Redbirds still hold the best record in the PCL, now 6.5 games ahead of the Nashville Sounds in the American Southern division.

Pitcher of the Week

Preston Guilmet (RHP): 4 G, 4.1 IP, 2 SV, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K

Guilmet is a bit of a rare case for callouts like this one; he’s 30 and has already spent brief time at the major league level for four different teams. With that said, he’s been lights out for Memphis. Guilmet has a 0.96 ERA through 20 appearances comprising 28 innings. This week included four of those outings, with just one baserunner allowed. Guilmet’s 11 saves are tied for first in the PCL. His FIP is less high on his performance this season at 3.28, but it’s hard to argue with results like these when the Cardinals are going through relief pitcher roulette. What makes Guilmet’s case so interesting is that his contract included a June 1 opt-out clause. He pitched last night for the Redbirds, so one would assume he feels confident he’ll get a shot in St. Louis.

Player of the Week

Rangel Ravelo (1B): .467/.529/1.000, 5 R, 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K, HBP

Ravelo had a great week at the plate for the Redbirds, going seven-for-15 with three extra-base hits and a walk. He logged three multi-hit games and barely struck out, just twice in his 19 plate appearances. Ravelo is a 26-year-old who has been playing at AAA since the end of 2015, for the Athletics before he was signed to a minor league contract by the Cardinals in 2017. His time for the Redbirds has been served in a utility role, but his .863 OPS in 2017 was easily his best season in the PCL. If his power continues to climb he might be a viable bench option for the Cardinals at some point in 2018.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (2-4), Year (28-27)

Springfield featured both Carlos Martínez and Yadier Molina in their six games this week but didn’t get much help from either. The Cardinals broke a four-game losing streak with an 11-6 win over San Antonio yesterday, featuring one at-bat bat from Molina—a sac fly. Martínez gave up a pair of home runs in his start, a game that finished in the 12th featuring a couple of failed comeback attempts from Springfield. Even with the rough week, the Cardinals still have a half-game lead over the Arkansas Travelers in the Texas League North.

Pitcher of the Week

Anthony Shew (RHP): 2 GS, 13 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

It wasn’t pretty, but Shew got the job done on the mount for Springfield in his two starts this week, giving up two earned runs in each appearance and going at least six innings in both starts. Even with a large number of hits, he gave just one free pass in his 13 innings — though he did hit a batsman in each game. They were both solid outings when you consider that they were his second and third career starts at the AA-level. Shew earned the call-up to Springfield on May 22 and seems to have settled in after a rough first start in which he gave up seven runs over four innings.

Player of the Week

Lane Thomas (CF): .333/.393/.625, 4 R, 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, SB

Thomas has hit the ball pretty well for Springfield in 2018, the 22-year-old’s first year at AA. He has a 108 wRC+ in 219 PAs, including 11 doubles and 11 home runs. This week included three multi-hit games, with his two hits on Saturday being four-baggers. The power is a welcome sight, as Thomas had never collected more than seven homers in any of his professional seasons. He’s also beginning to show the speed he featured in 2016 (19 SB), as his steal this week put him at nine on the year. Thomas was a 2017 pickup from the Blue Jays in exchange for international bonus pool money and seems to be thriving in Springfield.

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (3-2), Year (29-21)

Palm Beach again dealt with postponements this week, with another doubleheader put off due to “wet grounds.” Both of their losses this week were blowouts, but the victories featured some solid starting pitching, clutch hitting, and an extra-innings victory. The Cardinals still sit three games behind the Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League South, against whom they’re currently playing a three-game series. After splitting the first two games, the rubber match takes place today and gives Palm Beach a chance to gain on the division leaders.

Pitcher of the Week

Austin Warner (RHP): 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Warner gets the threepeat. He’s been masterful for Palm Beach as of late, with his start this week being his second scoreless appearance. His past three starts include 22.1 innings with one run allowed, one walk issued and 22 strikeouts. Given how he’s pitched, and how aggressive the organization was with his assignments in his 2017 debut, we could very well see Warner at Springfield before the end of the year.

Player of the Week

Andy Young (2B): .471/.550/.529 4 R, 2B, 3 BB, 3 K

Young is someone you can bet you’ll see playing in Springfield this year. He earned a call-up from Peoria to Palm Beach halfway through the season in 2017 (and even got a couple of games at AA) and he hit well at every level. Right now, he sports a 138 wRC+ for the PB Cardinals, walking just under 10% of the time and striking out in a little over 16% of his PAs. Though he didn’t hit for much power this week, Young showed his contact skills and batting eye with a .471 average and .550 OBP in 20 PAs.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (6-3), Year (31-25)

Peoria had a full week, cramming nine games into seven days, including two doubleheaders. They performed well in those games, posting a 6-3 mark for the week. Their run including a six-game win streak, which was broken with a loss on Saturday night. They’re tied with Quad Cities at a half-game back from the Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League Western; they could gain the lead with a win over Clinton today, with whom they’ve split the first two games of a three-game set.

Pitcher of the Week

Evan Guillory (RHP): 1 GS, CG (7 IP), 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K

Guillory was electric for Peoria, tossing a complete-game shutout in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader (since minor league doubleheaders are shortened to seven innings). He threw 70 of his 103 pitches for strikes, limiting the opposition to just one hit and two walks with five punchouts. Guillory’s first full professional season has started off well, with a 2.74 ERA across his ten starts.

Player of the Week

Elehuris Montero (3B): .303/.324/.636, 6 R, 3 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, BB, 6 K

In case you haven’t heard it a ton already, this kid can hit. After spending three seasons at rookie ball, the 19-year-old Montero sports a 139 wRC+ for Peoria, including a triple-slash of .319/.364/.497. Again, 19 years old. He went 10-for-33 in this week’s marathon of games, including two three-hit performances and six extra-base hits. One of his two home runs was a 428-foot shot on Wednesday (starts at 0:13), the longest of the year for Peoria. Did I mention he’s 19 years old? If you haven’t been watching Montero, make sure he’s on your radar.