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Weekly Farm Recap 7/29-8/4: Arozarena’s bat stays hot for Memphis

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Arozarena now owns a 1.032 OPS in 47 games as a Redbird this season.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the weekly farm recap.

You can read all of this week’s daily farm reports from Andrew St. John and Austin Ward at the previous links. Also, take a look at yesterday’s edition of A.E. Schafer’s System Sundays series.

Memphis Redbirds

Past week: (5-1) | Overall: (50-63)

Division: 2nd, 10 GB

This week’s results:

3-0 vs. Albuquerque Isotopes (46-67)

2-1 vs. El Paso Chihuahuas (66-47)

Upcoming:

1 vs. El Paso

3 @ Sacramento River Cats (61-52)

4 @ Fresno Grizzlies (54-59)

Hitter of the Week: Randy Arozarena, OF

Stats: 5 G, 15 AB, 6 R, 8 H, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 SF, 2 SB

Arozarena is putting together a monster season between AA and AAA, netting his second straight appearance in the recap.

The 24-year-old outfielder now has a slash line of .381/.452/.580 through 208 PA with Memphis. He’s tied for fifth among all Pacific Coast League hitters in wRC+, with 154.

As the Cardinals continue to deal with injuries and slumps, cycling through outfield bench bats, it’s hard to ignore Arozarena.

Pitcher of the Week: Seth Elledge, RHP

Stats: 3 G, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K

Elledge has been working as a reliever for Memphis, earning a promotion to AAA after starting the season with a 3.78 ERA and 3.32 FIP in 33.1 innings with Springfield.

He’s struggled to limit offense the way he did with the Cardinals, posting a 5.89 ERA and 5.33 FIP in his first 14 appearances with Memphis. Most of that is due to ballooning walk and home run rates.

Elledge’s BB/9 jumped from 3.51 to 5.40 at the new level, and his HR/9 went from 0.81 to 1.47. All of that came with a drop in BABIP (.383 to .318). He’s seen a bit of a decrease in strikeout rate, but it’s been marginal. This week, Elledge was dominant out of the pen, allowing just one baserunner over three appearances, striking out eight of the 15 batters he faced.

Springfield Cardinals

Past week: (1-5) | Second half: 21-21 | Overall: (51-61)

Division: 3rd, 2 GB

This week’s results:

0-2 vs. Corpus Christi Hooks (21-21)

1-3 @ Arkansas Travelers (23-19)

Upcoming:

3 @ Tulsa Drillers (22-20)

4 vs. Arkansas

Hitter of the Week: Justin Toerner, OF

Stats: 4 G, 14 AB, 3 R, 4 H, HR, RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

There wasn’t much to write home about in terms of individual offensive performance at Springfield this week, but Toerner put up decent numbers, reaching base in seven of his 17 plate appearances and launching a home run.

Toerner spent the first half of the season with Palm Beach, where he had 142 wRC+ in 236 PA. Most of that came from a .403 OBP that was higher than his slugging percentage (.389).

The outfielder’s offensive performance has just barely been above average with Springfield, with 101 wRC+, but he’s seen drops in average, OBP and slugging percentage. The walk rate has been nearly identical, but Toerner is now striking out 27.1% of the time, up 5.9% from his Palm Beach numbers.

Pitcher of the Week: Alex Fagalde, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K

Fagalde was excellent at the beginning of the season with Palm Beach, pitching 72.1 innings over 13 starts with a 1.99 ERA and 3.50 FIP. In his first seven starts with Springfield, he’s been even better.

The 25-year-old righty is averaging six innings per start in his first taste of AA, with a 1.29 ERA and 2.92 FIP. He’s come into a Texas League known for its offense (much more so than the Florida State League, anyway) and put up a stronger performance. His HR/FB rate has dropped from 6.9% to 3.5%, while his strikeout rate has risen just barely, from 22.5% to 23.6%.

Palm Beach Cardinals

Past week: (2-4) | Second half: (15-30) | Overall: (50-59)

Division: 6th (last), 16.5 GB

This week’s results:

0-2 @ St. Lucie Mets (29-16)

2-2 @ Charlotte Stone Crabs (31-13)

Upcoming:

3 vs. Jupiter Hammerheads (23-23)

4 vs. Clearwater Threshers (20-26)

Hitter of the Week: Scott Hurst, OF

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

Hurst went from Peoria to Palm Beach at the end of 2018, where he slashed .354/.439/.542 in 57 PA. That performance earned him a shot at an aggressive move to Springfield to start 2019, but he hasn’t found much success against AA pitchers.

Hurst has bounced back and forth between Palm Beach and Springfield, with 59 wRC+ in 161 PA at AA. His numbers haven’t been excellent with Palm Beach, but they’ve been better, with 100 wRC+.

Hurst has struggled at Palm Beach with a sub-10% walk rate and a strikeout rate of 25.3%. The high-contact approach that drove up his OBP and slugging percentage in previous seasons hasn’t been present this year. This week he showed glimpses of that performance, going 6-for-14 with a pair of homers.

Pitcher of the Week: Griffin Roberts, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, HBP, 3 K

Roberts hasn’t had a great season for Palm Beach. His 5.57 ERA and 4.94 FIP didn’t come from a ton of homers, but instead a lack of command and surrendering tons of hard contact, with a WHIP of 1.59.

Roberts has a walk rate of 10.2% with Palm Beach, coupled with an extremely low strikeout rate of 10.6%. This week he was able to address those weaknesses, still showing poor command, but keeping runners from rounding third in six shutout innings.

Peoria Chiefs

Past week: (4-3) | Second half: (13-29) | Overall: (43-68)

Divison: 8th (last), 16 GB

This week’s results:

1-0 vs. Burlington Bees (15-27)

2-2 vs. Kane County Cougars (29-13)

1-1 @ Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (22-20)

Upcoming:

2 @ Wisconsin

3 @ Beloit Snappers (17-25)

3 vs. Clinton LumberKings (26-16)

Hitter of the Week: Brendan Donovan, 2B

Stats: 7 G, 22 AB, 8 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3B, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 2 K, HBP

There were quite a few standouts with Peoria this week, but Donovan takes the cake. Going 10-for-22 with eight walks and just two strikeouts, he also flaunted some gap power and speed with four extra-base hits.

Donovan was a seventh-round pick in 2018 and struggled to get going at the plate with State College last season. This year, he has a .272/.392/.435 line with eight homers and four stolen bases in 380 PA with Peoria.

Pitcher of the Week: Colin Schmid, LHP

Stats: 2 G, 2 GS, 13.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, WP, 13 K

A 13th-rounder in 2018, Schmid made the jump from rookie ball to Peoria this season and has put up decent numbers, given the circumstances. They’ve actually been better than the numbers he posted in a short-season stint last year.

The 21-year-old lefty has thrown 79.2 innings over 15 starts for Peoria, carrying a 4.29 ERA and 4.13 FIP. His walks per nine are about three-fourths of a batter higher this year at 3.73, but his K/9 has risen from 6.75 to 8.25. He made two starts this week that showcased that change, striking out roughly one batter per inning.

State College Spikes

Past week: (3-3) | Overall: (25-24)

Divison: T-2nd, 4 GB

This week’s results:

1-2 vs. Vermont Lake Monsters (21-28)

2-1 @ Lowell Spinners (30-18)

Upcoming:

3 @ Auburn Doubledays (18-30)

3 vs. Batavia Muckdogs (29-20)

3 @ Williamsport Crosscutters (19-29)

Hitter of the Week: Martin Figueroa, 2B

Stats: 5 G, 19 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 2 HR, 9 RBI, BB, 3 K, SB

Figueroa was a catcher with an above-average bat in the Astros system in 2017, when he played for a short-season rookie affiliate. After a 2018 where he saw no action, Figueroa is playing at Low-A for the Cardinals as a middle infielder. And his bat has been electric.

The second baseman is slashing .342/.409/.582 in 88 PA with State College, with 192 wRC+. Not only is he making great contact, he’s showing a great eye, with a 10.2% walk rate and 15.9% strikeout rate.

Pitcher of the Week: Jacob Schlesener, LHP

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

Schelesener has had a bit of a slow development, having been in the system since 2015 and just seeing his first taste of A ball this season, but he’s still only 22. He struggled quite a bit with Peoria and has seen most of his innings with State College.

Schelesener has filled a bit of a hybrid role, making six starts over 12 appearances, pitching 41.2 innings with the Spikes. His five-inning outing this week actually came in relief.

The lefty has a 4.32 ERA and 3.89 FIP, and has shown some pretty filthy stuff (even if it comes with some poor command at times). He has a 29.6% strikeout rate for State College. It comes alongside a 14.3% walk rate that diminishes its effectiveness a bit, but shows a lot of potential if he can get a handle on the free passes.

Johnson City Cardinals

Past week: (4-2) | Overall: (25-19)

Divison: 1st, +2 G

This week’s results:

2-1 @ Princeton Rays (20-24)

2-1 @ Bluefield Blue Jays (22-22)

Upcoming:

3 vs. Burlington Royals (25-20)

3 @ Elizabethton Twins (23-21)

3 vs. Princeton

Hitter of the Week: Malcom Nunez, 3B

Stats: 4 G, 15 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, BB, 3 K, SB

Nunez makes a repeat appearance for Johnson City, and with good reason. The 18-year-old corner infielder went 7-for-15, knocking a pair of doubles and a home run while swiping a bag.

The organization was pretty aggressive with Nunez, putting him at Peoria to start the year after one professional season of rookie ball in 2018. He floundered quite a bit, as would be expected, but has put up a .349/.369/.540 line in 65 PA with the JC Cards so far.

That comes with a 23.1% strikeout rate and 3.1% walk rate, so it seems like he might come crashing down at any time, but for now Nunez is looking pretty great.

Pitcher of the Week: Michael YaSenka, RHP

Stats: 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 WP, 3 K

I’m sure you’re tired of seeing YaSenka over and over down here, so I promise it’s the last time you’ll see me put him in this spot this season.

He earned a promotion to State College after his start this week.

YaSenka’s final stats with Johnson City included seven appearances, five being starts, over 32.1 innings. He put up an ERA of 0.56 with a FIP of 2.82, with a K-BB% of 25%.

In his first start with State College, YaSenka went 6.2 innings and surrendered two earned runs on three hits, striking out four and walking three.