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St. Louis Cardinals: Recapping Week Two Of The Arizona Fall League

*Picture of Oscar Mercado courtesy of the incomparable @cardinalsgifs. FOLLOW THIS MAN ON TWITTER*

Week two of the AFL is in the books and it belonged to Andrew Knizner, as you are about to find out. Every week I’m going to try to update you on how everyone is doing in the AFL, along with how a few others are doing in some of the other offseason leagues.

If you’d like to see the complete breakdown of Cardinals stats during the Fall/Winter, you can follow THIS LINK HERE.

It’s October, the Cardinals aren’t in the playoffs, yet there are still plenty of reasons to keep on an eye on future Cardinals Players.

ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE

PITCHERS

RHP Sandy Alcantara: 2 Starts, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1.40 WHIP

After a rough AFL debut last week, Alcantara put it together a little bit during his second start. It’s a dumb thing to get caught up on, but I still can’t believe that it took him 4+ innings to record his first ALF strikeout. Something still seems off with Alcantara to me, although I can’t place what it is. Still, he threw a ton of strikes in his start on Monday and it was reported that there was a ton of soft contact, as well. I’ll be anxious to see how he performs during his start this week.

RHP Jordan Hicks: 4 Appearances, 9.45 ERA, 6.2 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2.10 WHIP

It ended up being kind of a tough week for Hicks. He entered Friday’s game in the 9th inning against Mesa with a save on the line in a 6-3 game and proceeded to allow four runs to surrender the win and record a blown a save. That sucks. What I like most about it is that after the game he tweeted this:

This kid is full of character. Even though he was rocked, he’ll be just fine. One of the Astros top prospects, Kyle Tucker, did part of the damage with a double. There’s a good chance that Hicks has never faced a hitter of that caliber and polish before. Also, it was only the second time that he had ever had a chance to get a save in his young career. He threw a lot of balls during this appearance and that’s what we need to see cleaned up.

RHP Josh Lucas: 4 Appearances, 4.50 ERA, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1.00 WHIP

Honestly, there isn’t much to report about Lucas this week. Sure, he let up a solo homerun and took a loss, but he’s still at a K+ per inning and he’s only walked one batter. Keep the K’s coming.

RHP Arturo Reyes: 4 Appearances, 6 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 0.50 WHIP

Gotta love the six scoreless innings pitch so far for Reyes. The command-first righty is off to a tremendous start so far for Surprise. It doesn’t happen often in the AFL, but I really want to see him pitch on back to back nights. As much as the 21 year old Hicks’ numbers will be skewed low because of his age and lack of experience, it’s reasonable to believe that the 25 year old Reyes success will be skewed high because of his age, five seasons of minor league experience, and collegiate training at Gonzaga. Still, I love all of the zero’s!

POSITION PLAYERS

C/1B Andrew Knizner: 7 Games, 28 AB, 11 H, 1 Double, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 7 SO, 393/433/643/1.076

In last weeks AFL roundup I said of Knizner’s first week, “He doesn’t have the hits yet in the league, but he’s fouled off a ton of pitches so far at the plate. I imagine his timing is coming back and by the end of next week he’ll be raking.”

Well, he’s raking now.

Knizner is 8-17 this week with a double and two HR while driving in 5 runs. There’s a very good chance that Andrew Knizner is a hitter in a similar mold to what we saw out of Matt Carpenter upon his major league arrival. He’s still splitting time nearly perfectly between catching and playing 1st base and that’s a trend that I full anticipate continuing. He already has two passed balls behind the dish, and that’s a little alarming, but all reports have been that he’s been good behind the plate so far.

CF Oscar Mercado:7 Games, 26 AB, 8 H, 2 Doubles, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 5 SO, 2 SB, 0 CS, 308/419/385/804
You never know how the AFL is going to shake out defensively for outfielders and I’m extremely happy to see that he’s played CF exclusively so far this fall. As I mentioned last week, he did commit one error on a relatively routine play, but he’s done everything else very well. He has two OF assists, 2 SB, and he’s walking a bunch. It appears that the shoulder issue that hindered his 2nd half performance is behind him and the 1st half Mercado is back in action.

What a great 2017 it’s been for this young man.

SS/3B/2B Edmundo Sosa: 6 Games, 21 AB, 5 H, 0 Doubles, 0 HR, 0 BB, 8 SO, 238/304/238/542

It’s still wayyyyyyy to early to make any proclamations about what exactly Sosa is based on his AFL performance, but I can’t help but hedge that this is exactly who he will be at the plate. One step at a time, though, let’s see what he looks like at the end of his AFL turn.

The good news is that he appears to have rediscovered his defensive prowess. All indications are that he’s played very well at all three positions he’s had innings at. You know as well as I do that an above average glove at short stop can get a kid far. He’s also been hit by two pitches so far. That’s… fun?

1B/LF/DH John Nogowski: 2 Games, 7AB, 3 H, 2 Doubles, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, 429/500/714/1.214

Nogowski has only managed to find his way into two games two weeks into the season, but he’s been awfully productive in those two games. He has a double in each game that he’s started. That’s a good sign. He was the DH in his start this week after playing LF last week and I get the impression that nobody knows exactly where to put Nogowski in the diamond. He’s been a 1B exclusively in the minors, but he really doesn’t have a solid defensive(or offensive for that matter) profile anywhere.

 

OTHER LEAGUES

RHP Mike Mayers: 1 Start, 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0.67 WHIP

I’ll be honest, the reason I’m deciding to highlight Mayers here is because I know everyone is going to scoff the minute that they see his name. But we are all going to do it together and that’s the kind of world that I believe in.

This poor guy.

OF Randy Arozarena: 9 Games, 40 AB, 14 H, 2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1 SB, 1 CS, 350/395/600/995

My plan, at first, was to include the stats of one different hitter and one different pitcher playing in a Latin American league at the end of the AFL round up every week.

It doesn’t appear that Randy is going to let that happen.

Look; this kid is really really good. It difficult to find a lot of scouting info in regards to the Latin Leagues so I am unable to give you a ton of details on what exactly is going on down there, but I can tell you that I read one report that called Arozarena one of the most athletically gifted players in the Mexican League. I get the impression that the other 29 teams in the majors probably feel the same way and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being a big target in trade talks.

I certainly hope not, though.

 

Thanks to the great @cardinalsgifs for the great picture of Oscar Mercado above. If you don’t follow @cardinalsgifs on twitter then you are missing out on the best Cardinals account on that social media platform, bar-none!

Thanks For Reading!

-Kyle Reis

@kyler416

Kyle Reis

Kyle is a South City St Louis born and raised. He is 30 years old and grew up at old Busch Stadium. His favorite Cardinals player of all time is Ray Lankford.
Kyle is an overly simple person who loves countable baseball statistics, following minor league baseball, and friendly discourse.
He tends to not take people seriously that refer for the team that they root for as “we” instead of “them”.

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