The State College Spikes are the St. Louis Cardinals’ Short Season “A” affiliate and began their season on Monday night. The Spikes feature a mix of recently drafted players and international signees. The Spikes play in the New York-Penn League and would be considered one step below a full season club.
While this team may not have the star power that other Cardinals’ affiliates have, they still have several intriguing names. Here are five players I will be keeping my eye on this short season.
The Cardinals selected Tewes out of Wichita State in the 8th round of the 2016 draft, however he did not pitch in the organization until 2017 due to Tommy John surgery. Before his injury, Tewes showed the ability to throw three pitches that could become plus pitches and had pretty good control as well. If there is a sleeper prospect to jump into our top 30 prospect list at the end of the season, I think it could be Tewes.
Ortega, 20, is the third youngest member of the Spikes and is coming off of a great 2016 season with the Gulf Coast Cardinals. Beyond Carson Kelly and maybe Andrew Knizner, the Cardinals don’t have any real prospects behind the plate and Ortega could become that player. He does a good job getting on base, but I would like to see some power develop.
Bryce Denton actually made the Peoria Chiefs roster out of spring training but struggled big time to start the season and saw a demotion. Denton, drafted in the second round in 2015, is the highest rated prospect on the Spikes. Kyle Reis and I had him as our #22 prospect entering the season. I would expect him to rebound and have a nice start to the short season. Maybe he will get a chance at redemption in Peoria later this summer.
I have always been a Ricardo Bautista fan since the Cardinals drafted him in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. I have always though he had a sweet swing that could translate at the minor league level. Here is video of that swing
Bautista needs to cut down on his strikeouts but he has shown a pretty decent ability to get on base. His 2017 season with State College started with a bang as he hit a 2-run home run on opening night. Hopefully there is more to come.
Farinaro, taken 1 round before Bautista, has always been a fringe prospect but has yet to put things together at a higher level. Like Bryce Denton, Farinaro started the 2017 season with the Peoria Chiefs but struggled and saw a demotion. He is making a return to State College after a strong 2016 season there last year. He won 9 games for the Spikes last year and had a 3.46 ERA. Hopefully a strong start gets Farinaro back to Peoria late season.
You wont find many Spikes on top prospect lists, but they should be a team filled with veterans and should compete again for a New York-Penn League title.
Thanks for reading!