During the first week or so of April it is a safe assumption that it is Opening Day somewhere. Last night that happened to be the case in Metairie, Louisiana, Frisco, Texas, and Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Burlington Bees had to postpone their lid lifter with Peoria and the associated festivities due to wet grounds.
Before we get into the games I’ll take a second to recommend everybody check out Josey’s excellent preview of the Memphis Redbirds as well as the rest of her season previews.
- Harrison Bader (CF): 2-6, R, HR, RBI, 2 K
- Paul DeJong (SS): 1-5, K
- Tommy Pham (RF): 1-5, R, RBI, BB, K, SB, CS
- Luke Voit (1B): 0-1, 3 BB, K
- Patrick Wisdom (3B): 2-6, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K
- Carson Kelly (C): 0-6, 2 K
- Luke Weaver (SP): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
- Mark Montgomery (RP): 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K
The Redbirds traveled to the A-AAAKey Mini Storage adjacent ballpark on scenic Airline Drive to take on the Marlins’ AAA affiliate in their first game since being rechristened the New Orleans Choking Hazards...The Redbirds lineup to start the season is an interesting mix of prospects on the rise (Bader, Kelly), taxi squad guys (Pham), former prospects who are almost out of runway (Wisdom, Garcia, Valera), and whichever category Luke Voit falls into. The point is, a lot of recognizable names have accumulated there...Speaking of which, Harry Bader hit a bomb. I assume the plan is for him to play everyday in AAA until or unless a large role becomes available with the big club or he forces the issue later in the summer...Patrick Wisdom’s big spring carried over into the regular season...Tommy Pham is healthy...Luke Weaver got off to a solid start, but then left the game with a hand injury. No more details were available as of this typing...Former Yankee prospect Mark Montgomery is trying to get his career back on track in Memphis. He sports a nasty slider that led to gaudy K-rates in the Yankees system, but his control has held him back. He’s an interesting lottery ticket, if he puts it together even for a season he could make a huge impact in the Cardinals pen, but there are a lot of guys with that same profile who’ve topped out in the high minors.
- Jose Adolis Garcia (RF): 0-2, R, BB, CS
- Blake Drake (PH-RF): 0-1
- Eliezer Alvarez (2B): 1-5, 2 R, K
- Jacob Wilson (DH): 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
- Alex Mejia (SS): 3-5, R, 3 RBI
- Oscar Mercado (CF): 3-4, RBI, K
- Jack Flaherty: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K
Adolis Garcia was making his stateside debut, for a quick scouting report and to get up to speed on his background, you can check out rb’s story from earlier this year...Coming off of his full-season league debut last year, Eliezer Alvarez shot up prospect rankings this past offseason. His breakout season earned the switch hitter a promotion to the Texas League and a chance to avoid spending a season in Roger Dean. He added 36 stolen bases to a profile that already featured patience and gap power (although he’ll occasionally jump on a pitch). If he’s ready to handle AA pitching he could put up some pretty big numbers in Hammons Field...Oscar Mercado was moved off of shortstop and out to CF last season to make way for Edmundo Sosa. Mercado’s glove at short was supposed to be his calling card, so the move seemed to be the beginning of the end for him, but he took to center OK and had a modest, if BABIP fueled, bounce back at the plate after the move. He’s still got wheels, so he could theoretically make it in center and the move to center probably bought the organization some time to figure out if last season was a dead cat bounce or a real improvement. But if Magneuris Sierra has a breakout in Palm Beach, Sosa could once again have a highly ranked prospect breathing down his neck...One rung at a time for Jack Flaherty. He has climbed steadily up the ladder, and has held his own, but not dominated, at every stop. Six strikeouts against a single walk is a nice way to start out what could be a breakout year for him.
- Magneuris Sierra (CF): 0-4
- Darren Seferina (DH): 1-3, BB, CS
- Edmundo Sosa (SS): 0-4, R
- Chris Chinea (1B): 1-3, 2 R, HR, RBI, K
- Jeremy Martinez (C): 1-4
- Austin Wilson (RF): 0-4, 2 K
- Junior Fernandez (SP): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K, HR
- Brennan Leitao (RP) 1.2 IP, 2 H
Magneuris Sierra rebounded nicely last season after his prospect status took a serious hit in 2015 following a disastrous first shot at the Midwest League. He still didn’t walk much or hit for any power, and he probably also struck out too much for somebody with that profile, but the glove and baserunning are both pluses and could play in the bigs right now. Sierra and his improved strength were one of the stories coming out of camp this year, so he may be poised to hit his way out of the Florida State League...Edmundo Sosa had his first real struggle as a professional last season, his power was noticeably absent after his breakout of sorts in Johnson City the previous year. He’ll be trying to get things back on track like Sierra did last year, but he’ll be doing it in Roger Dean Stadium...Randy Arozarena made his stateside debut, you can see what rb thought of him this offseason here. If he can hit his way into the 1 or 2 spot the PB Cardinals could have a ton of speed at the top of the order between Arozarena and Sierra...Junior Fernandez put together a very Junior Fernandez line.