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Weekly Farm Recap 5/20-27: Ravelo sustains success at Memphis

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

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Hello all, and happy Tuesday. Here’s hoping you had a great Memorial Day Weekend. I come to you a day later than usual, but I’ll bring with me a review of the past eight days instead of the past seven. Fair trade?

You can read this week’s daily farm reports from Andrew St. John at the previous links to get in-depth game-by-game recaps as well as two of A.E. Schafer’s 2019 draft preview series.

Memphis Redbirds

Past eight days: (2-7) | Overall: (23-29)

Division: 3rd, 8 GB

The Redbirds continued their poor play as they slid further back in the PCL American Northern Division, falling behind the Omaha Storm Chasers (24-28) and into third place.

Memphis gone 3-12 over their last 15 games and are now riding a six-game losing streak.

Part of the problem could be that the Redbirds have played a large number of games against the San Antonio Missions (32-20) as of late, who sit at the top of the PCL American Southern Division. Nine of the Redbirds’ last 13 have been against the Missions, and they still have two more to play against the team before being finished with them for the rest of the season. Memphis has lost all nine of those. On the season, they’re 3-11 against San Antonio.

After finishing the series with the Missions, Memphis will complete the week with a four-game set against the PCL Am. So.’s last-place Oklahoma City Dodgers (17-33) with a chance to gain some ground on the division-leading Iowa Cubs (31-21).

Hitter of the Week: Rangel Ravelo, 1B/COF

Stats: 9 G, 29 AB, 3 R, 8 H, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 3 HBP, 6 K

Ravelo was again the hitter to watch in Memphis. This time in a larger sample size, he continued to make solid contact and show some power, now hitting .289/.369/.472 on the season.

Ravelo has six home runs through 179 PA in 2019, which is around the same pace as the 13 he had in 399 PA last year. As mentioned last week, Ravelo’s sustained success at AAA makes him a solid candidate for a call-up if the logistics of the roster make it feasible.

Pitcher of the Week: Génesis Cabrera, LHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K

Cabrera earns this spot because of his pitching performance this week, but also because he earned the call-up to start Wednesday’s game against the Phillies.

His numbers have been far from impressive this season, with an ERA and FIP both above 6.00 through nearly 40 innings at Memphis to start 2019.

Still, he ranks in the upper half of the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects at multiple outlets and touts above-average pitches in his fastball and changeup. If Cabrera can tame the walks that come with his “violent” delivery, he could really excel. It’s also nice to see the Cardinals tapping into their depth given the struggles of the starting pitching.

Springfield Cardinals

Past eight days: (1-6) | Overall: (19-31)

Division: 4th (last), 14 GB

Springfield’s week was much like the Redbirds’, dropping even further into the cellar and out of contention in the Texas League North.

The Cardinals were on an eight-game losing streak before a 1-0 win against the first-place Arkansas Travelers (32-16) on Saturday, then losing the series finale on Sunday, 3-6.

Springfield had a chance to really turn the division on its head, exclusively playing Arkansas and the second-place Tulsa Drillers (27-22), but they instead saw their elimination number drop to six for the Texas League first half.

The rest of the week will include a three-game series against Tulsa at home, three against the NW Arkansas Naturals (20-29) to finish the homestand, and the start of an away series against the Drillers.

Hitter of the Week: Randy Arozarena, OF

Stats: 7 G, 27 AB, 3 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 SB

Arozarena started the year at AA again after struggling in Memphis to end 2018. He’s somewhat found his offensive prowess once again, with 103 wRC+ through his first 60 PA to begin the year.

This week Arozarena really showed what his game could be like: high contact rates, extra bases from speed and stolen bases added to it. Granted, his strikeout rate was pretty high, but it’s hard to care where his outs are coming from when his success looked the way it does.

The strikeouts are still something to watch, as his K% is 28.3% to start the year, much higher than the usual rate he posts in the high teens.

Pitcher of the Week: Harold Arauz, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Arauz is a bit of an unknown compared to the others in the Cardinals’ system. He signed a minor-league contract with the Cardinals after 2018, which he spent with the Phillies.

Arauz started this season at AAA but struggled to an ERA and FIP above 7.00. He was demoted to Springfield after 14 innings as a Redbird, but has pitched roughly the same at the AA level.

The right-hander showed flashes of his potential this week when he started the lone win for Springfield, striking out six while allowing no runs. Arauz’s success has come when he’s been able to limit walks allowed—even if it meant sacrificing strikeout ability—and that’s been his problem as a Cardinal, walking more than four batters per nine innings.

Palm Beach Cardinals

Past eight days: (4-3) | Overall: (31-18)

Division: 1st, 3 games ahead

Palm Beach continued to play well, increasing their lead in the Florida State League South Division to three games.

After dropping two of three to the Lakeland Flying Tigers (21-28), they took three of four from the Charlotte Stone Crabs (26-24) to strengthen their hold on the division.

The rest of the week will feature a three-game series against the Daytona Tortugas (27-23), who sit second in the FSL North, three games against the last-place Florida Fire Frogs (20-30) and the start of another series against Lakeland.

Hitter of the Week: Lars Nootbaar, OF

Stats: 7 G, 25 AB, 1 R, 13 H, 2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K

I’ve been wanting to put this name down for a while.

Nootbaar.

The man with an 80-grade name put up a great performance this week, hitting over .500 and putting up an even better OBP.

He didn’t hit for extra bases, but that Nootbaar was able to get a hit in 13 of 25 at-bats is extremely impressive.

Nootbaar did so well to start the season with Peoria that he earned an early call-up to Palm beach, where he’s hit even better. His line through 12 games is .405/.457/.429.

Pitcher of the Week: Perry DellaValle, RHP

Stats: 2 G, 2 GS, 11.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 12 K

DellaValle was a 27th-round draftee in 2018 who seems to make these lists pretty often. He tore through rookie ball last year with a 1.97 ERA/1.32 FIP and has done more of the same after skipping to High-A, with a 2.05 ERA/2.52 FIP through 57 innings in 2019.

DellaValle’s strikeout numbers have been down, at 7.11 K/9 compared to 13.20 last year. What was impressive from his outings this week were the increases in the punch-outs. Though he gave up quite a bit of contact and a few walks, the stuff was there and DellaValle ultimately kept hitters on their toes. His first start of the week was seven innings and featured no earned runs.

Peoria Chiefs

Past eight games: (3-5) | Overall: (21-28)

Divison: 7th, 12 GB

Like the top two levels, Peoria fell further down in the division with a sub-.500 week.

The two teams the Chiefs played, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (22-27) and the Cedar Rapids Kernels (25-25), sit directly above Peoria in the Midwest League Western Division and offered an opportunity to gain ground on middling teams and climb the standings. They instead dropped both series and cemented themselves at the bottom for the time being.

The Chiefs will start today with a three-game set against a tougher opponent, the Kane County Cougars (27-23), before playing another series against Wisconsin.

Hitter of the Week: Nolan Gorman, 3B

Stats: 7 G, 27 AB, 6 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 3B, 6 RBI, 3 BB, HBP, 5 K

It was about time for another Gorman update.

There were several hitters who performed well at Peoria this week, but Gorman really showed a nice balance of contact and on-base ability with his performance, getting on in 13 of 30 PA.

Gorman now has 151 wRC+ through 199 PA with Peoria and he seems to be handling A-ball pitching with ease. At just 19 years old, it’d be very interesting to see him make the climb to Palm Beach before the All-Star Break.

Pitcher of the Week: Franyel Casadilla, RHP

Stats: 2 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Casadilla wasn’t stellar, but no one at Peoria really was. He was able to offer something rare for the Chiefs this week: a start with one run allowed over five innings.

He didn’t flash a lot of strikeout ability—or any, really—but his walks were extremely low as well.

Signed as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2013, Casadilla has never really been a high-strikeout guy. He’s pitched to an ERA and FIP both around 4.00 at Peoria this season, just his second year out of rookie ball.

The start this week was the only one of Casadilla’s eight appearances, and it’s arguably when he was at his best.