The Springfield Cardinal will have a brand new look this year in both players and coaches.
Joe Kruzel takes over as head coach in his seventh year in the organization. Kruzel previously coached Johnson City in 2013, Peoria in 2014-2016, and State College the past two years.
Brandon Allen also receives and organizational promotion and will be Springfield’s hitting coach. Allen served as the hitting coach in Palm Beach last season and Johnson City the year prior.
Darwin Marrero will serve as Springfield’s pitching coach for the second year.
It’s hard to predict what kind of a year we’ll see from Springfield as the turnover rate is very high from last year’s team. Most of the team’s best 2018 hitters will spend most of their time in Memphis: Andrew Knizner, Ramon Urias, John Nogowski, Edmundo Sosa, and Tommy Edman to name a few. Andy Young is now in the D-Backs organization.
The biggest name to watch on the offensive side of the ball will be fifth-ranked prospect Elehuris Montero. The 20-year-old led the Midwest League in batting average and slashed .322/.381/.529 in 103 games for Peoria last season before being called up to Palm Beach for the final 24 games. You can find a really good in-depth piece on Montero from July of last year here.
Carlson is ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the Cardinals organization and should see plenty of opportunities with Springfield in 2019. Carlson spent the majority of his 2018 in Palm Beach with a .247/.345/.386 line. He was the Cardinals’ first round draft pick in 2016. More on him here.
The 2017 fourth-round draft pick out of LSU will begin his season in Springfield after a promising 2018 in Palm Beach. His biggest task this season will be developing consistency as his .252 Palm Beach average doesn’t serve him justice. Robertson goes on stretches where he’s unstoppable followed by stretches where nothing goes his way. The consistency will be key to a successful 2019.
On the pitching side of things, Kruczynski was called up to Springfield in late July last season. He coupled a 2-3 record with a 2.50 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. He also provides a menacing look on the mound at 6’5” 215 lbs.
Andrew St John previewed Palm Beach and I previewed Peoria last week. Andrew will wrap up our minor league previews with a look at Memphis Thursday.