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Daily Farm Report: Ozuna, Carpenter provide punch for Memphis

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Recapping Thursday’s minor league happenings

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Redbirds 13, Albuquerque Isotopes 8

Austin Warner (SP) - 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR

Matt Carpenter (3B) - 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB

Marcell Ozuna (LF) - 3-4, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, BB

Randy Arozarena (RF) - 2-3, RBI, BB, K

It took eight games, but Matt Carpenter got the first hit(s) of his rehab assignment. There is no firm timetable on his return, at least not that I have found, but Carpenter seems slated for a few more games at Memphis. Ozuna, meanwhile, is said to be joining the club tomorrow in Oakland.

One of the players that Carpenter drove in was Harrison Bader, who tallied two singles and a walk in six trips to the plate.

Memphis is now 48-62. The Redbirds move on to host El Paso tonight at 7:05pm CDT.

Arkansas Travelers 2, Springfield Cardinals 1

Angel Rondon (SP) - 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

Yariel Gonzalez (3B) - 1-4, 2B, 2 K

Johan Mieses (DH) - 2-4, RBI

Ronnie Williams (RP) - 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

In a vacuum, I’m happy that Angel Rondon remained a Cardinal past the trade deadline rather than being shipped out as part of a prospect package. That’s without knowing what other hypothetical package he may or may not have been included on, and what asset would’ve been coming back, but Rondon has taken a big step forward in 2019. He’s effectively navigated High-A and Double-A at just 21 years old, with the only real downside being a slight uptick in walks that’s offset at least partially by a corresponding uptick in K’s. Rondon seems like a lock for Top 10 in the system next year, and depending on your feelings about Zack Thompson, could be your #1 pitching prospect in the system.

Ronnie Williams isn’t knocking on the door of the big league bullpen, but in 2019 he’s laid a nice foundation to build on in the upper minors. He made the bullpen switch in 2017, at 21 years old in Peoria. Things went generally poorly after the switch. He experienced an uptick in strikeouts, into the more tasty 25% range, but the command improvements he made at State College in 2016 largely evaporated, as did his penchant for ground balls. Then, he hardly pitched in 2018. Williams made eight appearances in total, striking out more batter but still walking opponents at an alarming rate. In 2019, Williams has taken steps in the right direction. Almost evenly between Palm Beach and Springfield, he’s taken the ball 36 times, seen his ground ball rate rebound, cut his walk rate down slightly, and maintain the gains in K%. It’s not likely he’ll be nabbed in the Rule V Draft this go around, so barring setbacks Williams has a starting point to worm his way into the relief depth discussion in 2020.

Springfield drops to 50-59. They continue the series against Arkansas tonight at 7:10pm CDT.

(CANCELLED - Palm Beach @ St. Lucie)

Peoria Chiefs 6, Kane County Cougars 3

Parker Kelly (SP) - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

Tony Locey (RP) - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Brady Whalen (DH) - 2-3, HR, 4 RBI, BB

Imeldo Diaz (3B) - 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI

In a new development for Tony Locey, the right hander delivered a scoreless appearance without walking a single batter. He still worked behind in counts a handful of times, but he seemed more comfortable challenging in the zone with his fastball. It seems he’s keyed in on the fact that Midwest League batters just aren’t comfortable handling his heater.

Brady Whalen’s resurgent July should be noted. Since July 1, the switch hitter has rebounded to bat .300/.392/.440 with a nearly one-to-one BB/K split. He still isn’t lifting the ball enough to get to any raw power, but his plate discipline has returned after a summer hiatus.

The Chiefs are now 42-66. They face Kane County again tonight at 6:35pm CDT.

State College Spikes 3, Vermont Lake Monsters 0

Andre Pallante (SP) - 3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K

Jacob Schlesener (RP) - 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Jack Ralston (RP) - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

TERRY FULLER (DH) - 2-4, 2B

The tandem start shutout polished of by Jack Ralston sends good vibes all around. Pallante and Ralston both have been impressive in their brief pro debuts, parlaying college success into 30%+ strikeout rates in pro ball along with strong ground ball tendencies. SSS, of course, yet encouraging. Jacob Schlesener, meanwhile, has improved his command from “throwing darts on peyote” in Peoria to “Shaquille O’Neal shooting free throws” at State College. That still translates to a 14.3% walk rate, mind you, but that’s a far cry from 33.0%, and still adds up to a 3.72 xFIP when his strikeout rate (29.6%) and ground ball rate (58.7%) are taken into account. So, nothing has changed: Jacob Schlesener is still incredibly hard to square up, but just cannot find the strike zone with any consistency.

The Spikes are once again even at 23-23. The Spikes will travel to Lowell, Massachusetts to face the Spinners tonight at 6:05pm CDT.

Johnson City Cardinals 9 @ Princeton Rays 5

Julio Puello (SP) - 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Zach Jackson (C) - 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, K

Mateo Gil (SS) - 1-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K

Todd Lott (1B) - 2-5

The most important tidbit I can pull from the short season of the above quarter is this: Todd Lott is striking out at a very manageable 19.2% rate. Consider two things: 1.) He’s not young for the Appy League, but coming from the Sun Belt doesn’t create the same talent gap as with other college draftees, and 2.) He was striking out 41% of the time as a recently as 2018. The tools that come with Lott are exciting, but the worry was that we didn’t know if we were getting a player who made drastic improvements as a junior or a sample size mirage.

Johnson City improves to 23-18. Now finished with Princeton, the Cardinals will return home to take on Bluefield this evening at 5:30pm CDT.

GCL Cardinals 5, GCL Astros 5 (Suspended, Bottom 6)

Anthony Green (SP) - 5 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

Francisco Hernandez (3B) - 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K

Patrick Romeri (RF) - 1-3, HR, 3 RBI

DSL Cardinals Red 4 @ DSL Cubs 2

Angel Cuenca (SP) - 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K

Smith Vargas (CF) - 2-4, 3B, BB

Claudio Ramirez (LF) - 3-4, 2B, RBI

Sander Mora (2B) - 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, K

DSL Twins 5 @ DSL Cardinals Blue 2

Wilmer Ortega (SP) - 6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Jose Zapata (DH) - 2-4, 2B

Darlyn Del Villar (SS) - 1-4, RBI, SB

~

Friday’s Probables

MEM: Jake Woodford

SPR: Johan Oviedo

PMB: Zach Prendergast

PEO: TBD

SC: TBD

JC: TBD