Welcome back to the weekly farm recap. One affiliate surged back into contention, one maintained some early season success, another two continued their streaky spirals into the cellar.
Week: (5-1) | Overall: (9-8)
Division: 2nd, 2 GB
What a change a week can make.
The Redbird bats really found their groove this week to help lead Memphis to a surge back into the top of the standings.
The wins weren’t always decisive; two of the victories were one-run wins in games with total runs scored of 14 and 15. Still, Memphis was able to split the series with the Round Rock Express with a win last Monday, took both games of a rain-shortened series against the San Antonio Missions, and look to finish taking a four-game set against Round Rock today.
The Redbirds are now two games behind the Iowa Cubs for the lead in the PCL American Northern Division.
Hitter of the Week: Edmundo Sosa, SS
Stats: 6 G, 18 AB, 3 R, 10 H, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 3 K, SAC, HBP
The 23-year-old Sosa has struggled to find offensive consistency in the upper levels of the minors. Heralded more for his defense, the shortstop hasn’t posted an above-average line at any level since he began 2017 at the rookie level.
Through 15 games this season, Sosa is hitting .354/.404/.563. His wRC+ is 140.
One can’t ignore the ballooned .441 BABIP, but Sosa has never posted a BABIP below .310 at any level, so it isn’t as extreme as might be expected normally. Still, Sosa is off to an electric start to begin 2019.
His home run this week came last night in the bottom of the 10th inning to walk off Round Rock:
Pitcher of the Week: Austin Gomber, LHP
Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
Gomber didn’t begin the year the way one would’ve hoped from someone in line for a starting role if injuries hit, as he averaged five innings per start and gave up eight earned runs in that time frame.
He showed flashes of brilliance against the Express with the way he limited baserunners and pitched deeper into the game while allowing no runs.
Gomber’s K-BB% is a healthy 20 percent to this point in the season, and, if he can continue to hold his ERA below the 3.50 mark while pitching deep, he may prove to be something the Cardinals desperately need in the rotation in St. Louis.
Week: (1-5) | Overall: (5-12)
Division: 4th (last), 7.5 GB
Springfield has been extremely streaky to start the season. They began play with a seven-game losing streak, followed by winning the next five games, and have now lost the five games since.
Two of the Cardinals’ losses this week were one-run games, one of which was a walk-off in the 10th inning.
An interesting tidbit: Former Cardinal Conner Greene, now with the NW Arkansas Naturals (Kansas City Royals) has made three of his four starts this season against his previous organization. His line across those three starts is 17 innings, 10 hits, 4 earned runs, 7 walks and 15 strikeouts, picking up the win twice.
The bright spot for Springfield is that they’ll be opening a four-game set with another last place team, the Amarillo Sod Poodles, to start the week.
Hitter of the Week: Irving Lopez, 2B
Stats: 4 G, 13 AB, 3 R, 4 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, HBP
Lopez is one of those middle infield prospects who has never shown any trouble handling the bat. He’s never had a wRC+ lower than 120 at any professional level since he was drafted in 2017 and has made a swift and steady climb through the system.
It’s looking like the Texas League pitching is no match for Lopez, either. Hitting .277/.404/.681 through 14 games, Lopez has looked extremely confident at the dish.
What’s more is that he’s producing at this level with a .250 BABIP after breaking the .300 mark in all four other levels to this point.
Perhaps most exciting from a developmental standpoint is Lopez’s plate discipline. His BB% and K% are 12.1 and 17.2 respectively. That’s not out of the ordinary for Lopez given his track record, but to see it sustain with tougher competition is impressive.
Pitcher of the Week: Seth Elledge, RHP
Stats: 2 G, 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 IBB, 8 K
Elledge was the return from the Sam Tuivailala trade with the Mariners and he struggled quite a bit after coming to the Cardinals and making the jump from High-A to AA in 2018.
He wasn’t getting as many strikeouts, home runs were up, and he finished his AA debut with a 4.32 ERA across nearly 17 innings.
This season, Elledge has looked like the prospect the Cardinals saw when they made the trade. His K/9 is an extremely impressive 13.50, striking out 14 of the 38 batters he’s seen so far this year.
Elledge has made six appearances in 2019 and is holding at a 2.89 ERA/3.03 FIP/2.49 xFIP to this point.
Palm Beach Cardinals
Week: (3-3) | Overall: (12-5)
Division: T-1st (with Bradenton Marauders)
Palm Beach is definitely the shining jewel of the Cardinal affiliates to this point in the season. They held firm this week with .500 play and maintained in a tight race with the Bradenton Marauders for the division lead.
Some of the struggles were due to offensive inability. Palm Beach totaled just one run across three of the six games they played this week. The total across the other three was 19.
Pitching has been a high point for the Cards. They’ve surrendered one run or shut out their opponent inn six of their 17 this season, and have given up three or fewer in 11 of those.
The PB Cardinals will start the week with three games against the Jupiter Hammerheads at home.
Hitter of the Week: Julio Rodriguez, C
Stats: 4 G, 12 AB, 3 R, 4 H, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K
For the record, Justin Toerner very well could’ve held this spot again. Dude’s eye has been phenomenal. But Julio Rodriguez takes the cake this week after launching two of his four hits for home runs.
Rodriguez did so at Roger Dean Stadium, where fly balls go to die, which makes the performance that much more impressive.
His line at A-ball last year was just under the average mark, but Rodriguez has come out swining (literally) in 2019 with a .314/.415/.486 line in 11 games. His wRC+ is 180. All the while, Rodriguez is striking out less than 15 percent of the time and walking at nearly a 10 percent mark.
Pitcher of the Week: Perry DellaValle, RHP
Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K
DellaValle blew past the competition in rookie ball after being drafted last summer and started the year with Palm Beach. It’s turned out to be a good decision.
This week, DellaValle did everything he could to keep the Cardinals in the game before being pulled before the ninth, in which relief pitching gave up a go-ahead home run for a 1-0 loss.
The 23-year-old righty now has an ERA/FIP/xFIP of 2.60/1.67/2.59 across three starts, in which he’s averaging just under six innings per appearance. His command has been exceptional, facing 68 batters and walking only two of them while striking out 17.
DellaValle is due for a promotion if he continues blowing past the competition.
Week: (1-5) | Overall: (5-11)
Divison: 8th (last), 6.5 GB
Peoria’s sluggish offensive start has found them last in the Midwest League Western Division. They’ve scored three runs or fewer in half of their games to this point, while giving up close to six runs per game to the opposition.
The week ended with a three-game sweep by the division-leading Burlington Bees, which brought Peoria from a manageable 3.5-game deficit to the 6.5 where they sit now. The Chiefs play the first of three against Quad Cities today.
Hitter of the Week: Ivan Herrera, C
Stats: 4 G, 12 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 2B, HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K
This is someone who deserves a spot on this list, even with the short playing time. Herrera is possibly the best hitting catcher in the system and is absolutely raking to begin the season.
To start, Herrera is still 18 years old. He’ll be 19 in a couple of months. His line in 10 games and 40 PA during his first taste of A-ball is .303/.425/.636. The kid is carrying 203 wRC+.
His strikeout rate is dangerously close to the 30 percent mark, but his walk rate is nearing 20 percent. Five of his ten hits have gone for extra bases. Herrera is going to be a fun one to watch, and if he isn’t well known yet, he will be by the end of the season.
Pitcher of the Week: Tommy Parsons, RHP
Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
Look, here’s the thing.
I wanted to give you someone else to read about this week. I really did.
But Parsons is on a roll, and he’s one of the few bright spots on Peoria’s staff.
He’s averaging seven innings per start and has a 0.43 ERA this season. Even though that’s exceptionally dominant, his FIP is just over 2.00. He’s faced 75 batters and walked only two of them. Going further, he’s given up just nine hits across those 75 batters.
The guy is running away with the competition and he’s turning me into a Tommy Parsons believer.