For the most part, we examine the minor leagues at an individual level, searching for hot-prospects in their development into big-league stars. At some junctures, however, it can become useful to check in on clubs as a whole in order to diagnose the overall state of a given level for a team.
In team sports, it is (for the most part) believed that team success should be at the forefront of every player’s agenda. In baseball, team success usually reflects a number of stellar individual efforts, as players at all positions are playing well to contribute. In other words, healthy, successful teams are more likely to contain thriving players. For this reason, it can be argued that the team success of minor league clubs is important, and should be monitored to a certain degree.
For the Cardinals, Double A Springfield is thriving. In baseball AA clubs are usually known to hold the hottest, most talented prospects. In this way, it is extremely encouraging to see the success the club has had through half of the 2016 season.
Specifically, Springfield is currently 49-38, 2 games ahead of the Tulsa Drillers in the North division of the Texas League. Overall, only the Corpus Christi Hooks (57-31) of the South division have a better record. Put simply, this record makes sense. Springfield is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.
Their success can be attributed to both sides of the game. The Cardinals (Springfield), have hit 83 home runs this season, second in the Texas League and they have a team ERA of 3.57, with a WHIP of 1.28. When you look beyond team stats and on to their individual pieces, the organization has even more reasons for excitement.
— Ozarks Sports Zone (@OzarksOzone) June 29, 2016
On offense, the Springfield Cardinals have a handful of players that perfectly fit the evolved version of baseball we play today. In a league where home runs are king, players such as Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, and Luke Voit (all with 12 or more home runs) fit in perfectly. Furthermore, pitchers like Luke Weaver, Mike Mayers, and Daniel Poncedeleon are performing nicely.
Furthermore, the Cardinals are home to perhaps one of the most exciting St. Louis prospects in Carson Kelly. The logical heir to the great Yadier Molina, Kelly has had a superb first half, finally combining his ever-improving defense with resurgent hitting.
Overall, Springfield is giving the Cardinals organization a lot to look forward to. The team record reflects the individual talents that are driving the club, and players are being recognized as possible cornerstones of the future (Bader, Kelly, Weaver). While it is unreasonable to follow the team success with the same intensity of the big-league level, it becomes important at times to ensure that our prospects are playing in the best environment possible. As of now, the Springfield Cardinals are thriving, giving players a wonderful opportunity to develop prior to their shot in the Bigs.