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Daily Farm Report: Woodford Starts Strong

Recapping Wednesday’s minor league action

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at St. Louis Cardinals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Update: Memphis has switched tonights starter from Genesis Cabrera to Ryan Helsley. The change is reflected in the probable pitchers at the bottom.

Today’s post kicks off my second season recapping farm action here at VEB. In the past these posts have been simple recaps, with the play-by-play action on the farm distilled into a more easily digestible read. This year I want to try something different. I’m a prospect geek, and I’m toying with the idea of using the game recaps to focus more on the performance of individual prospects rather than just the game action. For close or exciting games, I’ll absolutely tell the narrative as best I can. But for the blowouts, or simply the boring games, I want to take a more prospect-centric slant. Today is just a taste - I haven’t gone full-blown nerd just yet. If you like this approach, or if you prefer the game centered recaps, let me know in the comments.

San Antonio Missions 6, Memphis Redbirds 5

Jake Woodford (SP): 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

Drew Robinson (CF): 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, K

Lane Thomas (LF): 1-2, 2B, 2 BB

John Nogowski (1B): 1-1, HR, 2 RBI, BB

Woodford’s methodical march up the organizational ladder continues. The young righty fought his control on Wednesday, but limited the Missions to just one hit to avoid damage. He did allow one run in the outing, though it was unearned on a throwing error by Lane Thomas in the fifth inning. Through two starts, Woodford has allowed no runs and only given up three hits across ten frames.

Despite the strong start, Memphis couldn’t hang on to the win. Genesis Cabrera took over in the sixth and promptly gave up back-to-back doubles. He then struckout Tyrone Taylor before issuing a walk to Lucas Erceg. The walk was compounded by a wild pitch, putting runners at second and third with one out. Both runs would come around to score before Cabrera ended the inning with a punchout. 4-2 San Antonio.

After trading runs in the seventh and eighth innings, the Redbirds entered the final frame trailing San Antonio 5-3. Ramon Urias and Andrew Knizner started a rally with a pair of singles before Lane Thomas walked the bases loaded. John Nogowski then worked a full count and turned in a walk to score Urias. Tommy Edman forced the game into a tie with a sac fly, but the rally ended there. Drew Robinson and Yairo Munoz poured cold water on the comeback with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

The Missions ultimately forced the bases loaded and walked off Memphis with a no-out single.

Memphis falls to 2-5 in the early going. They’ll attempt to turn the tide tonight against the Missions at 7:05pm CDT.

Tulsa Drillers 12, Springfield Cardinals 6

Williams Perez (SP): 2.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR

Kramer Robertson (SS): 3-4, HR, 2 RBI

Irving Lopez (2B): 2-5, 2B, HR, RBI

This one was...ugly. I’m no expert, but something tells me that when your catcher closes the game, things have gone disastrously off script.

Tulsa jumped all over Springfield early, forcing the Cardinals to burn four pitchers through five innings just to trail 12-4. If you’re into silver linings, the only Springfield hurler to not surrender a run were Seth Elledge and Connor Jones. At least it was the organizational fodder getting beat up, not the guys with a chance to be major league contributors.

Offensively, the Cardinals created some thunder in the middle innings but couldn’t compensate for the pitching staff’s shortcomings.

Kramer Robertson homered for the second straight day. The LSU product is off to a strong start, slashing .273/.346/.591 in the early going. The power will almost certainly regress, but the underlying plate discipline numbers are promising.

Irving Lopez, another low-power/good approach college draftee, has gotten off to a similarly strong start. After mashing on Wednesday, the 23-year old is running a .250/.348/.550 line.

The loss drops Springfield to an abysmal 0-7 to start the season. The Cardinals will try to tally their first win at 7:10pm CDT tonight against the NW Arkansas Naturals.

Daytona Tortugas 5 @ Palm Beach Cardinals 3

Edgar Gonzalez (SP): 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, K

Patrick Dayton (RP): 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, BB, 3 K

Yariel Gonzalez (DH): 3-5, 2B, RBI, 2 K

Luken Baker (1B): 1-3, RBI, BB, K

Palm Beach dug themselves a 5-0 hole through five frames. Not an insurmountable deficit, but one the unforgiving hitting environment at Roger Dean punished the Cardinals for.

Yariel Gonzalez was the only real bright spot in the lineup Wednesday, getting on base in three of his five trips while sprinkling in an RBI double. Meanwhile Luken Baker continued to make contact that defies his physical stature. The hefty horned frog has been an on-base machine in the early going (.516 OBP) but has shown almost exactly no power (.045 ISO).

Pitching wise, the backend of the bullpen provided the most exciting lines. Patrick Dayton, my current relief-prospect crush, worked two scoreless innings while striking out three. He fell behind in a lot of counts, but not on account of wildness. Dayton lived low in the zone consistently, but saw plenty of pitches on the black squeezed by a tight strike zone. The lone walk to Yonathan Mendoza in particular featured two pitches on the inside edge that might’ve gone for strikes on a different day. Beyond Dayton, Junior Fernandez put in a scoreless yet strikeout-less final inning.

The loss slips Palm Beach to 5-2. They’ll kick off tonights minor league card, once again taking on the Tortugas at 5:30pm CDT.

Peoria Chiefs 4, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 2

Alvaro Seijas (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, BB, 6 K

Leandro Cedeno (LF): 3-4, 2 RBI

Brady Whalen (1B): 2-4

Zach Jackson (C): 1-4, 2B, K

Seeing the carnage in the upper minors, the youngster Chief’s decided to show the old farts how it’s done.

Alvaro Seijas set the tone early, striking out two Timber Rattlers in the first frame. He’d end up with six strikeouts in the outing, with two coming via whiffs and four as called third strikes. When he did allow balls in play, the contact was generally weak. Only one hit went for extra bases to go along with a 4.0 GB/FB ratio.

Offensively, it was death-by-small-ball for Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Chiefs tallied 11 hits, with the only extra base hit being a Zach Jackson double. Nolan Gorman was the only Chief to go hitless in the outing. In four trips to the plate, he flew out, grounded out, and struckout swinging twice.

Brady Whalen is off to a BABIP-driven hot start. The 21-year old switch hitter is slashing .400/.464/.560 with four doubles in six games. Discipline wise, he’s running a 7.1% walk rate and a 10.7% strikeout rate. Whalen has always displayed a solid approach at the plate, but low BABIP’s and underwhelming game power have left his season lines hovering just slightly above league average. If his approach holds up and he starts to tap into the raw power inherent in his large frame, he could finally turn the corner in 2019. Book it now - Whalen is my dark-horse breakout candidate pick for the year.

The win raises Peoria’s season line to 3-4. Game 4 of the Timber Rattlers series begins tonight at 6:35pm CDT.


Thursday’s Probables

MEM: Ryan Helsley


PMB: Alex Fagalde

PEO: Jacob Schlesener