Every Saturday until the end of the minor league season we will present you with the past weeks top pitcher and position player at each affiliate. We will include a capsule at the end of each list on an under the radar performer that has had a very good week. The stats will run from Friday through Thursday.
This week is going to be a little bit different because the minor league season is a little bit more than a week old. The stats for this list and this list only will reflect the week starting with game 1 of the minor league season, Thursday April 6th, and run through Wednesday April 12th.
WEEK 1 (April 6th – April 12th)
Hitter Of The Week – Luke Voit: First Baseman, Age 26 – 22 AB, 3 HR, 4 Doubles, 7 RBI, 500/607/1.091/1.689
Luke Voit has easily had the best week of any hitter affiliated with the Cardinals, including all of the 13 members of the active major league roster. The stat line tells most of the story, but you need to know that two of the HR’s were absolute monster shots and he’s done a good job of working himself into hitting counts. Voit has dwarfed the trio of hitting prospects named Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, and Carson Kelly even though they’ve over shadowed him on the prospect scene. A minor league mix of Xavier Scruggs and Matt Adams, Luke Voit is going to be worth keeping an eye on.
Pitcher Of The Week – Daniel Poncedeleon, RHP: Age 25 – 5.1 IP, 2 H, 8 K, 1 ER, 1 BB
The real pitcher of the week for Memphis is Tyler Lyons, but how boring is that? We know Lyons is a major leaguer. I’ll spare you from being told all of the ways.
Poncedeleon, on the other hand, is an interesting subject. Had it not been for the hand injury to Luke Weaver, Poncedeleon would be wasting away while repeating the season at Springfield. Instead, one time through the rotation, Daniel proved why he is deserving of being labeled our #30 prospect. That start came against a very talented and Milwaukee Brewers-affiliated Colorado Springs. I hope he gets a chance to stretch his wings in Memphis.
Hitter Of The Week – Blake Drake: Right Field, Age 23 – 16 AB, 2 HR, 0 Doubles, 3 RBI, 250/294/625/919
There isn’t much power in the Springfield lineup, but there is a lot of contact. That’s why I’m giving the weekly award to Blake Drake. Hitter of the Week this time around is a bit of a misdirect. Sure, Drake leads Springfield in HR’s with 2. However, I’m putting him on the list because he already has 2 OF assists and he is the flashiest OF in the system. One week in and Drake is really showing off his skill set. When I watched him in Memphis during the exhibition game versus the Cardinals I noticed that his swing looked different. Stronger. Better. I’d bet he gets moved up quickly if the power sticks. His defense is too good to waste away.
Pitcher Of The Week – Jack Flaherty: RHP, Age 21 – 13.2 IP, 7 H, 10 K, 1 ER, 1 BB
With that pitching staff in Springfield being as good as it is, the winner of POTW every week is going to need to dominate. Jack Flaherty did just that.
Flaherty easily put up the best first week of any of the pitchers in the Cardinals system. He looked great while pitching for the big club during the spring. He’s put on the right amount of weight and the right type of weight, and it appears that he is about to bust into the potential that most scouts have been talking about since he was drafted in 2014. Some other pitchers have passed him up on a lot of top prospect lists, and Flaherty looks poised to reclaim his former top 5 spot.
Hitter Of The Week – Chris Chinea: 1B, Age 22 – 26 AB, 1 HR, 3 Doubles, 6 RBI, 308/472/538/1.011
Chinea is the first baseman on a roster with top prospects Edmundo Sosa, Mags Sierra, Randy Arozarena, and Jeremy Martinez, yet the former 17th round pick was this weeks star. He was the opening night hero for Palm Beach and single-handedly willed that offense to an opening night victory with a big HR. The former catcher has flashed power in the past, but, at an undersized 5’11 for a 1st baseman, he really needs that power to blossom.
Pitcher Of The Week – Zac Gallen: RHP, Age 21 – 5.1 IP, 2 H, 9 K, 1 ER, 3 BB
Gallen edges out Ryan Helsley and his 5 innings of hit-less, 6 K pitching to win PB’s Pitcher Of The Week. The 2016 3rd round pick is over shadowed by his rotation mate Connor Jones and Springfield SP Dakota Hudson as 2016 draft picks, but his full season debut has been the best of the lot. Gallen walked three hitters in his PB debut, and I expect that to be his season high. Gallen doesn’t walk people, and I’d bet that the line of 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 6 K that he flashed in his second start(which happened today and will be counted towards next week) is closer to his average line that his first start will be. Keep an eye on Gallen, he might be a fast riser.
Hitter Of The Week – Ryan McCarvel: Catcher/1B, Age 22 – 12 AB, 3 HR, 0 Doubles, 5 RBI, 333/467/1.083/1.550
The catcher-first baseman hybrid has been a beast at the plate for the Chiefs. Many of the bats in the Peoria lineup have been hot and making consistent contact, but that only does you so good if you don’t have a banger in the middle. McCarvel has been planted in the middle of the lineup for Peoria and everything is moving around him when he plays. He’s destined to be a full time 1B, and the sooner the better.
Pitcher Of The Week – Jordan Hicks: RHP, Age 20 – 12.2 IP, 9 H, 7 K, 0 ER, 5 BB
The great start for Jordan Hicks at Peoria cannot be understated. This is exactly what the Cardinals’ needed from the high 90’s throwing, curve ball-dropping prospect. He isn’t the most physically imposing pitcher, but resting on him is a poor decision, because his stuff is legit. The 5 walks in two starts is worrisome, but not enough to stop laughing about how dominant he has been to start. Both John Nagel and I agree, Hicks has stardom written all over him.
***UNDER THE RADAR PERFORMER***
Josh Lucas: Memphis Right Handed Relief Pitcher, Age 26 – 5 IP, 3 H, 3 K, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SV
It has to be tough to be 26 and pitching out of a minor league bullpen while never getting a taste of the majors. That doesn’t seem to affect the Cardinals former 21st round pick from 2010.
Lucas enter the season opener in the 10th inning and pitched lights out through the 12th, setting himself up for the win after a gigantic Patrick Wisdom home run. Then, just a couple of days later, Lucas closed out a game that Zach Phillips was purging in the 9th. And, it only took Lucas 4 pitches to do it. Lucas might not do a lot of really outstanding things, but his 6’6 frame is imposing and those results should not be over looked!
Thanks For Reading!