With Most Cardinals Minor League Teams Up and Running, Let’s Check Out Who’s Off to a Hot Start and Who Needs to Break Out of a Slump
While most Cardinals fans have been paying attention to the major league club’s up and down beginning to the regular season, few have paid attention to how our Baby Birds are performing to start the season. From AAA Memphis all the way down to Single A Peoria, the Cardinals minor league teams have hit the ground running. Memphis is off to a 5-5 start, AA Springfield sits at 7-5 currently, Class-A Advanced Palm Beach owns an 8-4 record, and the Peoria Chiefs round it out with a 6-5 record. This means that all Cardinals minor league teams that you should really care about sit at either above .500 or right at it, which is definitely something to celebrate.
It’s easy to follow the MLB stars at Busch Stadium, but the young guys down in the minors could use some attention as well from time to time. With that in mind, let’s get right into checking out who’s hot and who’s not in the Cardinals minor league system:
Jacob Wilson, 3B for AAA Memphis
- So far this season, the Cardinals #16 best prospect according to MLB.com has raked in AAA. Wilson, a 10th round pick by the Cardinals in 2012, has been slowly working his way up the minor leagues for a few years now. Currently, he’s a great option for the Cardinals if any more injuries occur in the infield. Wilson is valuable because he can play second base and third base, providing the Cardinals with a little bit of versatility. Unfortunately, Wilson is probably stuck at AAA for a little while until something happens. But, he certainly has earned the opportunity to play in the major leagues.
- Here are Jacob Wilson’s 2016 stats: .321/.364/.393 slash line with two doubles, three RBIs, one steal, five runs scored, and two walks. Wilson has appeared in 8 out of 10 Redbirds games so far in 2016.
Jacob Wilson takes a few cracks in the cage. pic.twitter.com/IsWcx9ssST
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 29, 2016
Daniel Poncedeleon, RHP for AA Springfield
- Daniel Poncedeleon has been through a lot in his professional career so far, yet has still found success for the Springfield Cardinals so far this season. The young right-hander had been drafted a total of four times before he finally decided to sign with the Cardinals, and he has made the most of his opportunity ever since. In two years, Poncedeleon has progressed from Low A to AA Springfield, where he has been lights out in his first two starts. If Poncedeleon keeps it up, I would not be surprised to see him moving up to AAA Memphis before long.
- Here are Poncedeleon’s 2016 stats: In 14.1 innings pitched, Poncedeleon owns a 0.63 ERA and a 0.767 WHIP with 10 strikeouts, only 1 walk allowed, and 1 earned run surrendered. This shows that he has kept his command under control, pitching to contact while also getting hitters to swing and miss.
Daniel Poncedeleon was quite impressive in his home-debut tonight: 7 1/3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, and 10 GO's. 96 pitches-68 for strikes.
— Derek Shore (@D_Shore23) April 16, 2016
Sam Tuivailala, Relief Pitcher for AAA Memphis
- The Cardinals #11 best prospect has certainly faced some challenges so far this season at AAA. Tuivailala, a flame-throwing relief pitcher, has a 9.82 ERA in three appearances so far in Memphis, which is certainly not what the Cardinals are looking for in a guy who is supposed to be not that far away from moving his way up to St. Louis.
- While Tuivailala his used his dominant fastball that hits 98 mph to strike out 8 hitters so far, he has struggled mightily with his command, walking 3 and also leaving the fastball out over the plate for hitters to mash. While he has not allowed a home run yet, Tuivailala has been hammered for 4 earned runs and 5 hits. If Tuivailala expects to join the Cardinals in 2016, he is going to have to improve his command and also develop breaking pitches to throw hitters off balance.
It's very early, but future #STLCards closer Sam Tuivailala off 2 rough start in Memphis: K'ed 8 in 3 2/3 IP, but also 5 hits, 3 BBs & 4 ERs
— Neil Price (@dneilprice) April 15, 2016
Photo Captured by Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports