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Weekly Farm Recap 8/19-25: Sosa Heats up for Memphis

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The week-in-review for the Cardinals minor league affiliates.

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

Welcome back to the weekly farm recap. There’s still a slew of pitchers rehabbing across the system this week, but the most important action was the sealing of playoff fates for several affiliates — some good, some bad. As always, you can find all the daily recaps here, where you can find more info on the individual rehab performances. Also take a look at A.E. Schafer’s recent addition to the System Sundays series.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (3-3), Year: (79-52)

The Redbirds clinched the division with Saturday’s win over the second place Nashville Sounds. Memphis has put on another spectacular season and, with a team depleted of its early-season talent, the playoffs will be more interesting than ever.

Pitcher of the Week

Kevin Herget (LHP): 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

At 27 years old, Herget is a Cardinal pitching prospect with much less buzz around him. The lefty has been in the system since 2013 and has pitched for Memphis since 2017, transitioning to the starter role just last season. In his first full season as a starter, he’s posted a 4.35 ERA and 4.79 FIP, mainly due to a bloated 12.6% HR/FB rate. As a pitcher with a flyball rate of nearly 66%, that’s a recipe for disaster. Overall, Herget has seen an immense workload increase, having never thrown more than 82 innings before this season in which he’s tallied 134.1.

Players of the Week

Edmundo Sosa (SS): .400/.438/.667, 2 R, 4 2B, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, HBP

The 22-year-old Sosa earned the call-up to Memphis from Springfield in late June of this year and hasn’t gone back down since. Showing a plus bat in the lower short-season affiliates, Sosa’s offensive production steadily hovered just below average until he got to Memphis where he’s posted 81 wRC+ in 176 PA. Since moving from Springfield, however, he’s shown an increased walk rate (from 3.2% to 5.1%) while decreasing his K% by a fraction of a percentage, still under 19%. Sosa has always been a glove-first prospect, but he’s flashed some gap power this week as he collected six hits in 15 AB, four of which were doubles. If Sosa can begin to figure out how to get his bat back to where it was for Springfield and Palm Beach, he’d be a solid defensive middle infield option for the Cardinal bench.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (2-4), 2nd Half: (24-36), Year: (57-73)

Springfield continues to fall back in the standings. They were officially eliminated from the postseason this week, now 10.5 games back from the Tulsa Drillers and in last place in the Texas League North’s second half. They’re last in the overall standings as well, 11 games back of Tulsa and 16 games below .500. The Cardinals can play the role of the spoiler, though — all of their remaining nine games come against either the division-leading Drillers (5) or the Arkansas Travelers (4), who are just 3.5 games back from Tulsa in the standings.

Pitcher of the Week

Casey Meisner (RHP): 1 G, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K

If we’re being honest, the Springfield pitcher of the week was Adam Wainwright. But that’s not fun from a prospect standpoint. Meisner came into the game after Wainwright started it with two solid innings. What was really impressive about Meisner’s outing was the strikeout rate, picking up seven K’s over four innings. Acquired from the Athletics in return for Josh Lucas earlier this season, Meisner has pitched to a 3.43 ERA/3.73 FIP in 29 innings for Springfield.

Player of the Week

Andy Young (2B): .391/.440/.522, 1 R, HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, HBP

Young takes the honors again for Springfield. He’s absolutely feasting on Texas League pitching, slashing .360/.437/.640 in 126 PA, good for 193 wRC+. Young now has 21 HR on the season, easily his highest yearly total. His BB% has fallen to below 5% since his promotion from Palm Beach but he’s still striking out less than 20% of the time. The big issue with Young’s performance is a monstrous .388 BABIP; it will be interesting to see if Young can sustain his production through the final few games this year.

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (5-1), 2nd Half: (32-29), Year: (71-54)

A 5-1 week saw the PB Cardinals pull within four games in the Florida State League South behind the Charlotte Stone Crabs, now with an elimination number of six. Eight games remain on the second-half schedule, but the PB Cards have a playoff birth either way. They still have the best overall record in the division, holding a 2.5 game lead.

Pitcher of the Week

Jesus Cruz (RHP): 2 GS, 11 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 6 K

Cruz takes the honors again this week. Make sure to take a look at last week’s recap if you want the background on Cruz, but he continued to show consistency this week in terms of outing length and run prevention, even if he wasn’t dominant in his command. He now has a 3.56 ERA and 3.51 FIP in his 68.1 innings for Palm Beach.

Player of the Week

Irving Lopez (2B): .412/.474/.647, 1 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K

Lopez started the season with Peoria and made the jump to Palm Beach by mid-July after posting 120 wRC+ in 337 PA. His first 109 plate appearances with the PB Cards have been even better, with 137 wRC+ featuring a bit of an increased power stroke compared to his time in the Midwest League. Lopez’s walk rate has dropped by roughly 1% since the promotion, now at 8.3%, but his strikeout rate has dropped as well — by 5%, from 16% to 11%. The result is a pretty impressive .316/.377/.442 slash line.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (3-5), 2nd Half: (35-26), Year: (74-57)

After playing to a 5-3 week and tying the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the Midwest League Western Division, Peoria reversed their record over the past seven days and fell to 3.5 games behind. Their overall record of 74-57 is no longer the best in the division, a half game behind the Quad Cities River Bandits. The Chiefs will have to stave off the River Bandits, who are a half game behind Peoria in the second-half standings, to end the season; they finish the year with six straight games against them.

Pitcher of the Week

Johan Oviedo (LHP): 2 GS, 12.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 10 K

Oviedo was signed as a international free agent out of Cuba in 2016. Now 20 years old, 2018 has been his first taste of full-season ball after pitching 47.1 innings for the Spikes last year. In 116.2 innings this year, he’s seen his ERA decrease to 4.24 with an accompanying 4.12 FIP. Though he’s seen his groundball percentage drop by more than 20%, the major issue with Oviedo’s game this season has been walks. He’s currently walking nearly six batters per nine innings, which has the potential to blow up pretty quickly.

Player of the Week

Nick Dunn (2B): .375/.423/.375, 2 R, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HBP

Dunn, the Cardinals’ fifth-round pick in 2018, started the year with State College and put up 125 wRC+ in 229 PA. He was called up to Peoria this week and has had no trouble finding contact, collecting nine hits (all singles) in 24 AB. Though he’s yet to find the extra-base power, that he’s showing solid contact ability and keeping the strikeouts low is a good sign.

State College Spikes - Week: (6-2), Year: (34-33)

The Spikes have pulled off a miraculous turnaround, now above .500. Where playoff hopes seemed nonexistent, State College is now 3.5 games behind the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the NY-Penn’s Pinckney Division. Mahoning Valley and Auburn have both played some poor baseball over the last week, which happened to coincide with the Spikes’ surge. With nine games left to play, State College’s elimination number is six. The Spikes won’t see Mahoning Valley or Auburn again this year, but they finished with a 10-1 record against the two teams since August 5.

Pitcher of the Week

Franyel Casadilla (RHP): 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K

Casadilla has been really good in his time with State College. So good that he earned a promotion to Peoria in late June, just ten days after his first action with the Spikes. It turns out Casadilla wasn’t ready for the next level, as he was rocked for 16 earned runs in 12 innings with the Chiefs. After returning to the Spikes in early July, the 21 year old returned to his former self. Casadilla has logged 51 innings with State College, holding a 1.59 ERA and a less-forgiving 3.88 FIP in that time. He hasn’t been much of a strikeout pitcher for the Spikes, but his start this week was dazzling, allowing just one hit and striking out ten over seven innings of shutout ball.

Player of the Week

Edwin Figuera (1B): .321/.406/.429, 5 R, 2B, 3B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HBP, SB

Figuera started the season recovering from an ankle injury and was then assigned to the Peoria Chiefs. Figuera has been climbing the system steadily since he was signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2014. He wasn’t bad with the Chiefs by any stretch of the imagination; he had 108 wRC+ and was hitting over .300 in his 76 PA. He did, however, see his K% shoot up roughly 6% from 12.9% to 18.4%. That increase wasn’t accompanied by the same increase in walks, as it raised from 2.9% to 3.9%. He was sent back down to State College on June 15 and remained there since, with 115 wRC+ through his 238 PA, though the strikeout and walk rates have remained the same.

Johnson City Cardinals - Week: (3-6), Year: (28-36)

Johnson City played to the tune of .500 ball in a week which featured three doubleheaders and held tight in the division race. They’ve fallen into a tie for last place with the Greeneville Reds in the Appalachian League West, a whopping nine games behind the Elizabethton Twins. Johnson City’s elimination number is now one. The last game of the Appalachian League regular season is this Wednesday, August 29.

Pitcher of the Week

Tommy Parsons (RHP): 2 GS, 14 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K

Parsons was an undrafted free agent who has pitched pretty decently in 57 innings for Johnson City. Nine of his 13 appearances have been starts and he’s pitched to a 3.00 ERA and a bit more troubling 4.64 FIP in that timeframe. Initially, Parsons had limited walks (1.58 BB/9) but didn’t show a standout strikeout ability, tallying fewer than seven per nine innings. This past week didn’t seem to reflect that stat, as Parson’s K’d 13 batters in his two seven-inning outings. He also showed excellent run prevention, allowing just one earned.

Player of the Week

Liam Sabino (INF/OF): .467/.543/.733, 5 R, 6 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 6 K, HBP

Sabino was drafted in the 35th round of the 2018 draft and was assigned to the GCL Cardinals. Sabino struggled through 81 PA in the GCL, putting up 64 wRC+ in that span. He was promoted to Johnson City in early August and has dominated the competition since, with 198 wRC+ through his first 53 PA. This week, Sabino put up six consecutive multi-hit games and collected 14 hits on 30 AB. Seven of those 14 hits went for extra bases. Sabino is showing great defensive versatility as he’s logged time at first, second, third, and both corner outfield spots.

GCL Cardinals - Week: (6-0), Year: (40-16)

The GCL Cardinals have had an absolutely dominant season. Clinching the division last week, they ended the year on an eight-game winning streak to secure the first seed in the GCL playoffs. They begin their postseason today when they play the GCL Phillies East in a one game semifinal.

Pitcher of the Week

Connor Coward (RHP): 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Coward, a 26th-rounder out of Virginia Tech in this year’s draft, had an excellent regular season with the GCL Cards. He threw 41 innings over ten appearances, six of which were starts, and pitched to a 0.88 ERA in that time. FIP doesn’t rate his performance as dominant as ERA does, sitting at 2.32, but he showed excellent command with 8.34 K/9 and 1.54 BB/9.

Player of the Week

Diomedes Del Rio (CF): .333/.391/.714, 9 R, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, SAC, 2 SB

It took an outstanding performance to dethrone Jhon Torres with the way he continues to pummel the ball, and Del Rio delivered. The 20-year-old outfielder out of Venezuela earned a promotion from the DSL midway through the short season after he put up an OBP of nearly .500 and a slugging percentage over .750 in 85 PA. His bat has been hovering around average in the adjustment to the GCL but he put on a show this week, with five of his seven hits going for extra bases and showing off his speed as well with two stolen bags.