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Weekly Farm Recap 7/1-7: Gorman Raking for Johnson City

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Reviewing the week in the Cardinals’ minor league system

milb.com

Happy Sunday! Here’s hoping you all had a great holiday week. The Cardinals’ minor league play featured Luke Gregerson and Paul DeJong both rehabbing, as well as Matt Bowman logging some apperances in Memphis’ pen. As always, you can find all of the daily recaps here.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (6-2), Year: (55-34)

The Redbirds are good. They outscored their opponents 33-11 over their first four games this week. The weekly record is a bit confusing, as a game that started on June 30 was delayed after the fourth inning and continued on July 1, but I’m counting it here. Memphis’ 55-34 record has them 12.5 games ahead of Round Rock in the PCL American Southern division — that record isn’t only the best in the PCL, it’s the best among all AAA teams.

Pitcher of the Week

Daniel Poncedeleon (RHP): 2 GS, 11 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 7 BB, 15 K

Poncedeleon’s outings weren’t the longest, at five and six innings each, but he racked up the strikeouts and allowed just two hits per outing. Avoiding walks has been a problem for Poncedelon this season—his BB/9 is 4.99—but the Ks have been steady all season and his ERA currently sits at 2.39.

Player of the Week

Luke Voit (1B): .391/.500/.609, 3 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, HBP

There’s not much to say about Voit that we don’t already know from seeing him on the active roster, but he posted a solid week for Memphis, getting on base half of the time in his 28 PA. Voit is currently slashing .286/.376/.449 for the Redbirds.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (3-4), 2nd Half: (4-12), Year: (37-49)

Springfield had a rough first half and have continued to dive further down, now at 4-12 in this final half of the season. A lot of this week’s struggles can be attributed to pitching, as the Cardinals weren’t able to pick up a win when scoring fewer than five runs. Two of this week’s three wins were high-scoring, one-run games, where Springfield pulled out 5-4 and 9-8 wins. They’re now seven games behind the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League North.

Pitcher of the Week

Will Latcham (RHP): 3 G, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Latcham started the season with Palm Beach and made this list a few times in his 34.2 innings in the Florida State League, also earning an All-Star nod. His call-up took place on July 5—in fact, the first of his three appearances listed above was for the PB Cardinals. He allowed two inherited runners to score in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday, tying the game, but pitched a flawless tenth before Springfield walked it off.

Player of the Week

Ramon Urías (2B): .276/.300/.621, 4 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, HBP

The older brother of the Padres’ highly-touted prospect Luis Urías, Ramon has been piecing together a very solid season at Springfield. Urías owns a .380 wOBA and greatly increased his power numbers with his six extra-base hits this week, singling just twice. Urías struggled to a 77 wRC+ in his limited exposure to Memphis this season, but the 24-year-old is continuing to hit well in AA.

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (2-6), 2nd Half: (7-9), Year: (46-34)

After pulling themselves to 5-3 to start the second half, Palm Beach went on a 2-6 slide including a current three-game losing streak to slide to 7-9. Regardless of second-half outcomes they’ve clinched a playoff berth with their first-half performance and sit 12 games above .500 on the year. Even with the sub-.500 record, Palm Beach sits just one game behind the tied Charlotte Stone Crabs and Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League South.

Pitcher of the Week

Jake Walsh (RHP): 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Walsh earned a call-up from Peoria in mid-May and has pitched well for Palm Beach, with a 2.41 ERA and 3.11 FIP in 41 innings. Since the promotion, both Walsh’s strikeout and walk rates have dropped pretty significantly—his K/9 fell from 9.76 to 6.37 and his BB/9 dropped from 3.12 to 1.76. Even with a lower K-BB%, FIP has been nicer to Walsh since his promotion. Even with a decrease in groundballs, Walsh’s GB/FB% has dropped from 7.7% to 1.5% since the move to the Florida State League.

Player of the Week

Chase Pinder (OF): .304/.429/.435, 4 R, 3 2B, 2 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K

The 2017 seventh-rounder had a strong week for Palm Beach, showing both average and a good eye. Pinder drew five walks in his 28 plate appearances while also hitting over .300. What’s more, just under half of those hits fell for extra bases. Pinder dominated his first 50 professional games with Johnson City last year and is posting above-average offensive production for Palm Beach, currently holding a 102 wRC+.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (2-3), 2nd Half: (9-6), Year: (48-37)

Peoria is another club that has clinched a playoff berth due to first-half play. It wasn’t the best week for the Chiefs, especially in terms of run prevention, as they were just 1-4 in games where they scored five or more runs. Their overall record sits at 48-37, however, and three games above .500 isn’t a bad place to be at this point in the second half. Peoria is three games back from the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the Midwest League Western.

Pitcher of the Week

Alex Fagalde (RHP): 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Fagalde’s ERA now sits below 2.00 for the season; most of that can be credited to his excellent command. He owns a K/9 of 8.78 and a BB/9 of 1.49 for the season and has done it all with a 29.5% flyball rate. His 90.5% LOB% seems surely unsustainable, but we’re already 54 innings into Fagalde’s 2018 season. We’ll see if the 2017 19th-rounder earns a spot at Palm Beach by the end of the season.

Player of the Week

Elehuris Montero (3B): .429/.500/.667, 5 R, 2 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K, SB

I should probably rename this section “The Elehuris Montero Report.” Montero now owns a whopping 151 wRC+ for Peoria. His ten home runs well eclipse any pace he had in previous seasons, as do his 19 doubles and three triples. Moreover, he’s showing a contact ability unlike he ever had previously. Montero’s previous season-high average was .277, earned last year. He’s hitting .324 on the season.

State College Spikes - Week: (4-3), Year: (9-13)

The Spikes posted an above-.500 week and have pulled themselves to 9-13 on the season. There were some great wins (8-0) and some frustrating losses (7-9), but ultimately what stands out is a failed attempt to win a series against the division-leading Mahoning Valley Scrappers. They’re still 6.5 games behind the Scrappers in the NY-Penn’s Pinckney division.

Pitcher of the Week

Jim Voyles (RHP): 1 Gs, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

Voyles was a 38th-round pick in 2017 and struggled to an ERA over 8.00 in 11 innings of rookie ball. He’s started out pretty well in his first four starts for the spikes, posting a 3.60 ERA in 20 innings to begin the season. Perhaps most impressive about the 6’7” Voyles’ 2018 campaign has been his walk rate — a 0.45 BB/9. Put in percentages, he’s walked just 1.3% of batters. Coupled with his 24.4% K%, Voyles owns an excellent 23.1% KK-BB%.

Player of the Week

Brady Whalen (3B): .286/.385/.524, 1 R, 2 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 4 BB, 5 K

Still just 20 years old, Whalen was a 12th-round pick in 2016 who found his offensive footing last season with Johnson City. He’s continued his success with State College in 2018, with a 104 wRC+ through his first 68 PA. Whalen isn’t big on contact—his average is just .232—but he’s boosted by a good eye that has him walking at a 14.7% rate, consistent with last year’s 14.8%.

Johnson City Cardinals - Week: (3-3), Year: (8-8)

The JC Cardinals maintained their pace to stay at .500 on the year. Win or lose, the decisions were resounding—only one game was decided by fewer than three runs, while two of the six were decided by six runs or more. Johnson City has yet to be shut out on the year. They’re now one game behind the Elizabethton Twins and Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League West.

Pitcher of the Week

Parker Kelly (RHP): 2 G, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K

If that name sounds familiar, it should; Parker is the younger brother of Carson Kelly, drafted in the 20th round of this year’s draft. He’s pitched out of the pen for Johnson City to begin 2018 and has looked good in his first 7.1 innings. Kelly’s strikeouts are very low, with just two to begin the year, but he’s also yet to walk a man in his four appearances.

Player of the Week

Nolan Gorman (3B): .316/.458/.789, 8 R, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K

Gorman takes the honors again for Johnson City. Through his first 60 PA, he has a .468 wOBA and 172 wRC+. Gorman’s put up an OBP over .400 and a slugging percentage over .600. He hit three home runs in this week alone. His walk rate is 18.3%. Honestly, Gorman has made the Appalachian League look outmatched. It will be interesting to see if he hits a big slump and/or how the organization deals with his assignment as the season continues.

GCL Cardinals - Week: (5-2), Year: (12-5)

The GCL Cardinals continue to roll through Florida. The bats have been particularly strong, as they averaged six runs per game this week. The GCL Cards are now a full game ahead of the GCL Mets in the East division and will play them again on Thursday.

Pitcher of the Week

Brian Pirela (RHP): 2 GS, 12.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K

The 20-year-old international signee out of Venezuela is here mainly because of his first outing of the week, where he tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball. Pirela struggled in his first 50-odd innings in the GCL last season and has looked better in 2018, even if his ERA is still above 4.00.

Player of the Week

Andrew Warner (OF): .435/.462/.826, 6 R, 6 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, SB, HBP

Warner is again the GCL player of the week. A product of Lee’s Summit, the 40th-round selection in the 2018 draft looks like he’s overpowering the Gulf Coast League. He collected six (!) doubles this week, with seven of his ten hits going for extra bases. His slash line on the year is .339/.417/.548 and he owns a 162 wRC+.