St. Louis Cardinals: The Future Shines in Offseason Play
The 2016 regular MLB season may have come to an end but the St. Louis Cardinals have plenty of their prospects playing in the Arizona Fall league, Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, Liga Mexicana del Pacifico, Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, and in Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional this offseason.
St. Louis Cardinals fans typically sit this time of year waiting for Mozeliak to make a move and, what that is happening still this year, there are plenty of other things to watch. The casual fan is not one typically attuned to offseason baseball but let me assure you that there is much to watch in these leagues.
First, the Arizona Fall League is the offseason league that most fans will know. Many of the American prospects are sent to this league. While the players aren’t facing MLB players (per se), the prospects are going nose-to-nose with other rising talent.
Next up are the foreign winter leagues: Liga de Beisbol Dominicano (winter Dominican league), Liga Venezuela Beisbol Profesional (winter Venezuelan league), Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (winter Caribbean league), and Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (winter Mexican league).
The players in these leagues are a mix of MLB players, MLB-ready players, MLB-equivalent players (those who aren’t playing in the American league but could), and rising prospects.
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So, which prospect batters are playing where?
- Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, and Carson Kelly are the St. Louis Cardinals batters appearing in the AFL.
- The Cardinals have four batters appearing in the Dominican league but of note are Alberto Rosario and Magneuris Sierra.
- Three Cardinals batters are playing in the Mexican league but of note is David Washington.
- Jose Martinez and Breyvic Valera (who was just added to the 40-man roster yesterday) are the two names of note out of the four St. Louis Cardinals prospects playing in the Venezuelan league.
- The Caribbean league names of note are those of Anthony Garcia, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Luke Voit. The Cardinals have four prospect bats swinging in this league.
How about toeing the mound?
- Austin Gomber, Corey Littrell, Ryan Sherriff, and Rowan Wick are representing the St. Louis Cardinals in the AFL.
- Jeremy Hefner is the lone wolf representing the St. Louis Cardinals pitchers in the Dominican league this offseason.
- The Cardinals are represented by one arm in the Mexican league, four arms in the Venezuelan league, and two arms in the Caribbean league but none of these names are of note yet. In other words, these prospects are a year or two away from making a real splash. This is not meant to discredit them by any means however.
Here’s a quick update on each of the players of note and their value at this point in the winter leagues…
Bader, through fourteen games, owns a slash line of .296/.328/.426 with one double, two home runs, and nine RBI. In addition to these, Bader has stolen three bases and been caught stealing twice.
DeJong, the supposed starting short stop for the 2017 Memphis Redbirds, through thirteen games owns a slash line of .213/.220/.277. Not as a strong a showing as Bader, but he has smashed one homer and has accounted for six RBI.
Kelly, through fifteen games, owns a slash line of .291/379/.509 with three doubles, three homers, and seventeen RBI. Let me say that again: 17 RBI through 15 games. Ready for his rise?
Rosario, through five games, has a slash line of .200/.200/.200 thus holding to the performance standard that he has shown of late. Sierra, through ten games, owns a slash of .176/.243/.206. These two are disappointing currently but their sample size is small.
Washington, in the Mexican league, has appeared nine games. His slash line is sitting at .176/.263/.412 with two doubles, two homers, and accounting for three RBI. The slash might leave much to be desired but the power is showing and this is a good start to winter.
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Martinez is impressing in Venezuela with a slash line of .382/.462/.545 through fifteen games. He has smashed three doubles, two home runs, and has accounted for eleven RBI (11 RBI!!)! I’m ready to watch him in 2017 as I’m sure he will start with Memphis and then, if this performance continues can expect to move up.
The St. Louis Cardinals added Valera to the 40-man roster to protect him on Monday. His performance in Venezuela is impressing as well with a slash line of .386/.438/.566 with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, nine RBI (9!), and five stolen bases (has been caught stealing four times). These numbers are through twenty-four games. I cannot wait to watch this guy rise in 2017!
Anthony Garcia, through seven games, is hitting .321/.345/.357. Through eight games, Rodriguez is not faring so well batting .194/.306/.290 with six strikeouts. Voit, a name to keep an eye on, is batting .226/.294/.323 through eight games.
The St. Louis Cardinals prospect arms are impressing as well in their respective leagues. Those in the AFL are split with Gomber and Littrell dominating while Sherriff and Wick are not doing so well. Gomber has an ERA of 1.99 through 22.2 innings. Littrell has a 1.69 ERA through 10.2 innings. Sherriff has a 7.36 ERA through 7.1 innings and Wick has a 6.43 ERA through seven innings.
In the Dominican league, Hefner, who pitched for Memphis last season, has thrown 2/3 of only one inning and was shelled giving up one earned run in this short outing. This damaging outing has saddled him with a 13.50 ERA. Let’s hope that additional outings might help show a better outcome.
Of the remaining pitching prospects, names not yet on the majors radar, one pitcher is standing out. Kevin Herget has pitched in three innings and has surrendered only two hits in these innings and owns a 0.00 ERA. Herget pitched in 2016 for Palm Beach and Memphis. He pitched 62.1 innings in 2016 and finished with an ERA of 2.02. Memphis should look for him to perform in 2017.
While the names above might not yet be dinner conversation names, they will hep contribute to Mozeliak’s offseason strategy and could well play into the mix for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017 and beyond. I’ll keep an eye on these prospects so check back from time to time for updates. Go Cards!
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