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Weekly Farm Recap 9/2-8: Schrock Heats Up

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

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Welcome back to the weekly farm recap. Teams begin to fall off the article as their seasons and/or playoff dreams come to a close, but we’ll keep looking at the weekly standouts as some affiliates move further into the postseason. As always, you can find the daily recaps here, and check out the First Annual VEB Minor League Awards from A.E. Schafer.

Memphis Redbirds - Week: (Regular Season 1-1, Postseason 2-1), Year: (83-57)

Memphis took the top seed in the PCL by a half-game, securing a series against the 75-65 Oklahoma City Dodgers in the PCL semifinals. The Redbirds have a 2-1 lead over OKC. Game 4 was scheduled to be played yesterday but cancelled due to rain; they’ll play a doubleheader today, presenting two opportunities (if necessary) for Memphis to take the series and advance.

Pitcher of the Week

Kevin Herget (RHP): 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

Herget has held this spot for Memphis even recently, so I won’t go into too much detail about him as a prospect. He’s been consistent, but not exactly the consistency one would hope for—he’s given up three or more runs in eight of his last ten starts. Herget hasn’t yet carried that into the postseason, though; in Game 1 against Oklahoma City, he pitched five solid innings, allowing only one hit and one run in that span. The Redbirds would go on to win that game 4-2 as Giovanny Gallegos, a piece acquired in the Luke Voit deal, closed it out.

Players of the Week

Max Schrock (2B): 4-for-6, 1 R, 2B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, SB

Schrock’s bat was relatively quiet all season, putting up a meager .627 OPS. He’s shown life in the postseason, reaching in seven of his nine plate appearances. Schrock has only made one start this postseason, going 3-for-5 in Friday’s walk-off win—in fact, he had the game-winning hit, a single to right field that secured the victory, 5-4. We heard a lot about Schrock’s contact and on-base skills when he was acquired but didn’t see a ton of it in the regular season; it looks like his bat might be waking up just in time for a playoff push.

Springfield Cardinals - Week: (0-2), 2nd Half: (27-42), Year: (60-79)

The regular season ended with the Springfield Cardinals in last place in the division, 19 games under .500 on the season. It’s been said frequently, but this season for Springfield was one to sweep under the rug.

Can we do players of the week with two games? Sure, why not.

Pitcher of the Week

Casey Meisner (RHP): 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Pitching was, as it has been all season for Springfield, a weakness. Meisner wasn’t particularly electric, but he was decent, and that’s good to see from the 23-year-old right-hander. Meisner was acquired from the Athletics for Josh Lucas earlier this year and has appeared on this list a few times, some for Palm Beach and others for Springfield. It’s great to see Meisner making decent starts because he hadn’t found even average success at AA before this year. He followed the same development path last season, going between A+ and AA for Oakland, but pitched to a 4.12 ERA and 4.77 FIP in 59 Double A innings, striking out under six batters per nine and walking over four. In 40 innings for Springfield, he’s posted a 3.60 ERA/3.98 FIP, raised his K-rate by nearly one batter and lowered his BB/9 by one. It’s been a definite step in the right direction.

Player of the Week

John Nogowski (1B): 2-for-8, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K

Nogowski keeps his spot, solely due to the fact that he continues to mash. His line is now .309/.392/.463 across 298 PA for Springfield. There isn’t much more I can say about Nogowski that I haven’t already written in previous weeks’ recaps; even if he hasn’t had any AAA experience, it’s hard to deny him a chance to keep playing as Memphis pushes on, even if it’s as a bench bat.

Palm Beach Cardinals - Week: (Regular Season 0-1, Postseason 0-2),

2nd Half: (36-32), Year: (75-57)

Palm Beach had an excellent season in which they went 75-58 and took a first-half division win. They squared off against the Fort Myers Miracle in the three-game Division Championship series and dropped both games 1-3, consequently eliminated from the playoffs. Still, it was a season to remember at Roger Dean.

Pitcher of the Week

Colton Thomson (LHP): 2 G, 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Pitching was a weak spot at the end of the season for Palm Beach, as starters struggled to go deep and relievers had trouble with run prevention. Thomson was a bright spot amid the turmoil, as he made two appearances in which he didn’t allow any baserunners and calmed the waters. Thomson’s second appearance was in the playoffs against Fort Myers, pitching two perfect innings which included three Ks. The 26-year-old lefty started the year with Springfield and saw poor performance result in a demotion to Palm Beach. Since being sent down Thomson has dealt with injuries but pitched very well when healthy, Ending the season with 38 strikeouts and a 1.36 ERA over 33 innings.

Player of the Week

Elehuris Montero (3B): 5-for-12, 0 R, 2B, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K

Just as the pitching struggled for Palm Beach, so did the offense. Montero was by far the most consistent bat at the end of the season, getting hits in nearly half his AB in the final three games, but somehow none of those hits came in run-scoring situations. Either way, Montero has been a gem in the Cardinals’ farm system in 2018 and it’s going to be exciting to watch the 20-year-old corner infielder progress next year.

Peoria Chiefs - Week: (Regular Season 0-2, Postseason 3-0),

2nd Half: (37-32), Year: (76-63)

Peoria finished the regular season with six straight losses but came out swinging in the postseason, eliminating Quad Cities after two wins in the Division Quarterfinal. The Chiefs are playing Cedar Rapids in the three-game Division Championship and won the first contest yesterday, 5-3. Game 2 is today.

Pitcher of the Week

Zach Prendergast (RHP): 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

Prendergast mowed through the Quad Cities lineup in the final game of the Division Quarterfinal on Thursday, striking out 11 of 15 batters he retired while walking just one. Prendergast has consistently shown strikeout stuff, with 124 Ks across his 111.2 professional innings. This season he’s striking out just over nine batters per nine innings, a bit lower than the monstrous 12 he put up in limited time for Johnson City in 2017, but still excellent. Those numbers are even better when paired with his walk rate — Prendergast has posted a BB/9 under 1.8 in both of his pro seasons. He ended the regular season with a 3.08 ERA and 3.25 FIP.

Player of the Week

Luken Baker (1B): 3-for-10, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K

It’s been mentioned before when Baker occupied this spot that he has commanded the minor league pitching he’s faced since starting the season late. He put up astronomical numbers in a short stint in the GCL before moving to Peoria and 123 wRC+ in 156 PA. Baker has continued to hit well moving into the postseason. He was responsible for all of the runs in Wednesday’s playoff opener, sending a two-run shot over the wall along with a deep sac fly the next inning to secure a win over Quad Cities.

State College Spikes - Week: (2-0), Year: (36-40)

It was a really streaky season for State College. There were some impressive stretches of baseball, but several lengthy losing streaks ultimately did the Spikes in. They finished fourth in the division, four games under .500.

Here’s that two-game POTW choice again.

Pitcher of the Week

Eli Kraus (LHP): 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Kraus got his first taste of professional ball with the Spikes in 2018, drafted in the 24th round out of Kent State this June. He’s taken this spot for State College before; the lefty put up a pretty solid season over 40 innings. He moved to the starting rotation in mid-August and made five starts, allowing one run or less in all but one outing in which he was roughed up for six. Kraus finishes the year with a 3.15 ERA and 3.41 FIP.

Player of the Week

Delvin Perez (SS): 3-for-9, 1 R, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K

Perez, a first-rounder in 2016, has been discussed pretty heavily in Cardinals media. He had a PED issue drop his draft stock as teams began to wonder what the real product would be. The Cardinals took a chance and were able to grab Perez lower than he was initially expected to be taken. His first season in professional baseball was really successful, putting up 123 wRC+ in 180 PA for the GCL Cardinals, but he’s struggled to put it together the past two seasons. Still, Perez is only 19 and already playing with the Spikes; the young shortstop has plenty of time to prove himself.