With another week in the books, it’s time to go Baby Bird-Watching. In case you missed the first one last week, the premise is very simple. I’m gonna go through the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates and let you know how they did, a couple of prospects that performed really well and a standout game performance. And, of course, I must warn you that we’re gonna have some great team names again. And with that, let’s get to the teams.
Palm Beach Cardinals (Single-A)
The Palm Beach Cardinals could’ve had a better week, but they weren’t terrible, with a single game against the St. Lucie Mets (4-2 L) and five games against the Tampa Tarpons (2-0 L, 6-5 W, 6-2 L, 5-2 L, 7-6 W).
Despite the .333 record on the week, they stayed in first place in the Florida State League East, just a few games ahead of the Jupiter Hammerheads. With how weak the rest of the division is, they are almost guaranteed to stay in first or second place for quite some time.
The pick for Position Player Prospect of the Week is OF Won-Bin Cho. His slashline of .400/.438/.400 is slightly helped by the fact he played one less game than the qualified batters, but his numbers were just so much better, with only two or three at-bats being the difference that I had to give it to him. He did strike out four times and only walked once, but he did steal a base without getting caught. Could the week have been better? Sure. For instance, he didn’t have a single extra-base hit. But he smoked the ball and was rewarded with a .838 OPS. Good work for the former top Korean high school prospect.
The pick for Pitching Prospect of the Week is RHP Hunter Hayes. In six innings of work, he gave up only three hits and two walks while punching out three. The quality start wasn’t enough to get him the win, but a WHIP of .83 and BAA of .150 will leave any starter happy. I really wish he could up the strikeout numbers soon so he could become even more effective, but good work from Hayes.
The Standout Single Game is going to LF Alex Iadisernia’s Thursday. In the leadoff spot, he went 2-for-3 with an RBI. He walked twice compared to one strikeout, not to mention hitting a fourth-inning home run. You can’t ask for more from your leadoff man.
Peoria Chiefs (High-A)
Peoria’s week started very well but ended very poorly, playing one game against the Cedar Rapid Kernels (5-1 W) and playing five against the Great Lakes Loons (3-2 W, 7-4 L, 1-2 L, 11-9 L, 5-2 L).
The Chiefs moved down one spot in the Midwest League West and currently reside in fifth place. They sit 1.5 games behind the Beloit Sky Carp and 6.5 games ahead of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. But with how close the entire division is, a good hot streak could have them in second or even first if the stars aligned.
The Position Player Prospect of the Week is RF Nathan Church. His OPS of .950 was almost .300 points higher than that of Darlin Moquete’s .666, which was the second highest. His .421/.476/.474 slashline was helped by having two walks to negate his two strikeouts, not to mention having more hits than anyone this week. The 2022 11th-round pick has been tearing up High-A pitching all season and this week was no different.
The Pitching Prospect of the Week is going to LHP Cooper Hjerpe. The Cardinals’ #6 prospect tossed six hitless innings with only four baserunners all game. With a WHIP at .50 and a BAA of .000, he was clearly the best pitcher for the week. He has a weird delivery and four average-to-above-average pitches, which makes him a fun player to watch, like Chris Sale. As the 22nd overall pick in 2022, he definitely has loads of potential, and he’s showcasing why he was picked so high.
The Standout Single Game is going to Cooper Hjerpe for tossing six no-hit innings and turning the Loons lineup inside-out. But a quick shoutout to Edgar Manzo for pitching four innings of one-hit ball in relief on Wednesday, he would’ve won if Hjerpe wasn’t so dominant.
Springfield Cardinals (Double-A)
The Springfield Cardinals had themselves a very good week at the yard, playing one game against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (16-6 W) and five games against the Wichita Wind Surge (8-3 W, 13-1 L, 5-4 W, 1-0 W, 6-3 L).
The Cardinals stayed in fourth place in the Texas League North, between the Wichita Wind Surge and the Northwest Arkansas Natural. Sadly, they’re seven games behind the Arkansas Travelers (yes there is an Arkansas team and a Northwest Arkansas team) and probably won’t overtake them soon but a good week or two could make it close.
The Position Player Prospect of the Week is 1B Chandler Redmond. As the only Springfield player to have multiple home runs, his 1.133 OPS was almost .100 points higher than the second highest (Nick Dunn at 1.066). His slash line of .294/.368/.765 isn’t very impressive until you get to that last number, but boy, that last number is why he’s leading the Texas League in home runs. Not to mention drawing two walks to try and negate his four strikeouts.
The Pitching Prospect of the Week is RHP Wilfredo Pereira. With 5.1 innings pitched, he pitched the second most innings of the week. He allowed six baserunners, four via hits and two via walks. But he absolutely mowed down hitters, getting 10 of his 16 outs with a strikeout. With a WHIP of 1.13 and a BAA of .200, he was by far the best pitcher for the Springfield Cardinals this week. He’s been in the organization since 2016 and hopefully, he can keep this up in his age-24 season.
The Standout Single Game of the Week is Mike Antico’s Sunday, where he went 3-for-4, driving in three runs and scoring twice. He also walked twice to one strikeout, but he also added two steals to help the Cardinals get a big 16-6 win.
Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)
The Redbirds week was one that I don’t wanna talk about but it’s my job. They had one game against the Gwinnett Stripers (7-1 L) and five games against the Norfolk Tides (13-12 L, 9-7 L, 10-3 W, 7-2 L, 11-6 L).
Despite going 1-5 on the week, Memphis only dropped one place in the standings. They are now in fourth place between the Louisville Bats and the Columbus Clippers. They’re only a half-game behind the Bats and only one game behind the St. Paul Saints, so a strong week could potentially get them to second place in the International League West.
The Position Player Prospect of the Week is OF Moisés Gómez. With a slash line of .316/.409/.842, he had the second-highest OPS of all players last week. Now Ivan Herrera did have a much higher OPS, but he only played three games compared to Gómez’s five. He crushed three homers, whereas no one else hit more than one for the week. He struck out four times but drew four walks to keep his OBP high. I know the St. Louis Cardinals have a surplus of outfielders, so sadly Gómez looks more like good trade bait than anything else. But I will celebrate his successes for as long as he’s here.
The Pitching Prospect of the Week is RHP Michael McGreevy. One of my favorite pitchers in the Cardinals minor leagues, the 18th overall pick in 2021 put up one of his best starts in his short Triple-A career. In five innings pitched, he gave up six hits and allowed two runs but struck out four and walked one man. He had a below-average WHIP of 1.40 but had a good BAA of .286. He’s already accrued the second-most innings of all current Memphis pitchers and looks good. If he can continue this success while extending his outings into the sixth and seventh innings, he could make a case for making the 2024 rotation.
The Standout Single Game goes to … A TIE! There were two games that I really loved and just couldn’t pick between the two. Luken Baker’s Tuesday and Moisés Gómez’s Wednesday were both incredible. Baker went 3-for-5 with one walk, zero strikeouts, and four RBI. He did everything he could to will his team to a victory, but they came up short in extra innings. Gómez went 2-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, but what elevates this game is the two homers he crushed. And while he, too, couldn’t will the team to a win, he came as close as possible.
And with that, this week’s Baby Bird-Watching is done! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed and will join me next week for more minor league action.