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Weekly Farm Recap 5/28-6/2: Edman’s bat stays hot with Memphis

The week in review for the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates

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

Welcome back to the weekly farm recap. Since Monday was included in last week’s recap, this is more of a six-day review, but with time being a social construct and all I think we’ll be okay.

You can read this week’s daily farm reports from Andrew St. John and Austin Ward 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 (which starts today).

Memphis Redbirds

Past six days: (0-6) | Overall: (23-35)

Division: 3rd, 11 GB

The Redbirds’ slide has gotten out of control, as they’re now riding a monstrous 12-game losing streak. This week they were swept by both the San Antonio Missions (36-22) and the Oklahoma City Dodgers (22-34), teams with two very different talent levels who cleaned up just the same.

Memphis is now 11 games behind the division-leading Iowa Cubs (34-24). They’ll take on the Tacoma Rainiers (29-29) and the Reno Aces (23-34) over the coming week, with a chance to make up some ground.

Hitter of the Week: Tommy Edman, 2B/SS

Stats: 6 G, 20 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 3B, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 SB

Edman barely edged out the defending champ Rangel Ravelo to take the honors for Memphis this week.

After finishing last season with the Redbirds, Edman began this year in AAA and has a .304/.353/.516 line through 203 PA.

It’s a really impressive performance to this point, as he’s put up an OBP that’s close to the highest mark of his career while touting a slugging percentage way over anything he’s ever produced. Edman had four triples and seven home runs in 574 PA across Double-A and Triple-A in 2018. To this point in 2019, he has three triples and seven homers.

All the while, Edman has maintained his speed on the base paths, with seven stolen bases in seven attempts.

Pitcher of the Week: Jake Woodford,

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K

Woodford’s performance wasn’t particularly dazzling, but it logs as a quality start, which was rare from the Memphis staff this week.

He’s actually been one of the most consistent pitchers for the Redbirds all season, leading the team in ERA (3.11), strikeouts (57) and WHIP (1.24) in his 63.2 innings.

Woodford’s peripherals haven’t been stunning, carrying a 5.06 FIP and walking nearly five batters per nine innings, likely helped a lot by a .228 BABIP. But he’s been averaging close to six innings per appearance.

Springfield Cardinals

Past six days: (4-2) | Overall: (23-33)

Division: 4th (last), 13 GB — Elim#: 1

Even with an above-average week in which they swept the second-place Tulsa Drillers (29-26), there was little Springfield could do to resurrect their chances in the Texas League First Half.

The Cardinals’ elimination number is now just one, as their focus will now shift to the second half of the season. They’ll take on Tulsa and the NW Arkansas Naturals (23-32) this week.

Hitter of the Week: Irving Lopez, 2B

Stats: 4 G, 14 AB, 4 R, 6 H, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI

Lopez has been promoted somewhat aggressively through the system, starting last year with Peoria and finishing with Palm Beach, then drawing the assignment in Springfield to start 2019.

A 19th-round pick in 2017, Lopez has hit extremely well at every level. His 117 wRC+ so far in 2018 would be the lowest mark he’s posted in his career, if all held. Not a bad problem to have.

Lopez had six homers in 469 PA last year and already has seven in 201 PA this year. He’s doing it all with a BABIP around 30 points lower than his career level.

Pitcher of the Week: Junior Fernandez, RHP

Stats: 2 G, 1 SV, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K

Fernandez has been stellar out of the bullpen this year, already earning a promotion from Palm Beach at this point in the season. He put up a 1.54 ERA with roughly a strikeout per inning in nine Palm Beach appearances. Through 11 outings with Springfield, his ERA is 0.92 and it’s supported by a 1.53 FIP.

Fernandez is averaging a little over 1.2 innings per appearance, and had outings of two and three innings this week. In that time, he allowed no hits and walked just one while striking out 8 of 16 batters he faced. Fernandez has a strikeout rate of 37.8% and a walk rate of 6.8% in his 19.2 Springfield innings.

Palm Beach Cardinals

Past six days: (1-5) | Overall: (32-23)

Division: T-1st (with two others), 3.5 games ahead

There’s some exciting baseball being played in the Florida State League.

After an uncharacteristically poor week, the PB Cards are now in a three-way tie for the division lead with the Bradenton Marauders and the Fort Myers Miracle.

This week they’ll have a chance to gain some ground when they take on the struggling Lakeland Flying Tigers (23-32) and the middling Charlotte Stone Crabs (29-27).

Hitter of the Week: Yariel Gonzalez, 3B

Stats: 6 G, 22 AB, 1 R, 9 H, 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K

Gonzalez has been struggling to get it together at Palm Beach after raking for Peoria in 2018. While he didn’t show much power, Gonzalez demonstrated the contact ability he displayed in 2017 and 2018, when he posted averages above .300.

Looking at his entire performance over 207 PA, Gonzalez is hitting .262/.309/.314. His walk rate is around the same as it has been, so he’ll have to improve that on-base ability if his contact ability is starting to fall as he climbs the ranks.

What’s surprising is the lack of power. Even playing in Roger Dean Stadium for most of his games, it’s strange to see Gonzalez with just one homer compared to the 11 he put up in around double the PAs last season. It’s not like his doubles have shot up either, with seven compared to the 23 he had at the end of last season.

Gonzalez played a lot of first base when paired with Elehuris Montero last season, but has since gotten his reps mainly at third.

Pitcher of the Week: Tommy Parsons, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

He’s back.

Parsons earned a call-up to Palm Beach after an excellent performance at Peoria, posting a 0.26 ERA and 2.84 FIP through five starts. After the same number of starts, Parson has a 2.30 ERA and a lower 2.24 FIP in Palm Beach.

Since the call-up, Parsons is averaging fewer innings per outing, down to around 5.3 compared to seven in Peoria, and his K-BB% has dropped a bit, from 17.2% to 14.8%. But he’s yet to allow a home run since joining the PB Cardinals.

Peoria Chiefs

Past six games: (3-3) | Overall: (24-31)

Divison: 7th, 12 GB — Elim#: 8

Peoria put up a .500 week but couldn’t gain any ground on the division-leading Quad Cities River Bandits (35-18).

They’ll have a chance to deliver a direct blow and climb out of seventh place as they open a three-game set with the River Bandits today. After that they’ll open a five-game series with Cedar Rapids Kernels (28-28), including a double-header on Sunday.

Hitter of the Week: Nolan Gorman, 3B

Stats: 6 G, 21 AB, 5 R, 7 H, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K

Gorman nets the repeat for Peoria. He didn’t show a ton of restraint, with nine strikeouts in 24 plate appearances, but he delivered a 7-for-21 performance with three extra-base hits.

Gorman is now slashing .279/.381/.521 with 10 home runs through 223 PA in 2019. His 26% strikeout rate is more than 10% lower than it was in his first A-ball exposure at the end of last season, showing significant improvement. His 154 wRC+ demonstrates just how far ahead of the competition he seems to be at this point.

Pitcher of the Week: Kyle Leahy, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K

Leahy put up a spectacular performance on the mound for Peoria, allowing just three baserunners over seven innings.

Drafted in the 17th round last year, Leahy jumped from rookie ball to Peoria and has adjusted pretty well. He has a 3.86 ERA and 4.03 FIP through seven starts with the Chiefs, averaging 5.1 innings per appearance.

Leahy isn’t striking out a ton of batters with a K% at 18.1%, but he isn’t walking a ton either (7.1%). He’s done a great job of keeping the ball from getting in play, as opponents are hitting .245 against him.