Prospect Movement

There have been a few key announcements recently with our prospects. Late last week after another dominating performance our prized pitching prospect, Shelby Miller, was promoted to AA Springfield. His debut will be Friday night again Corpus Christi. The other big news which Jon touched on in his last post is Lance Lynn getting the call to make his MLB debut tonight for the Cards.

UPDATE: Maikel Cleto was also promoted from AA straight to the majors with Holliday hitting the DL. To me this is a big head scratcher. A guy that has had a total of 5 appearances above High A is getting promoted? We have a slew of other guys that are MLB ready or what I would consider ahead of Cleto in the pecking order. Guys like Boggs (the logical choice), Jess Todd, Adam Ottavino (who I have stated a number of times is destine for the bullpen) and Brian Broderick (who was just returned to us from the Nats as a Rule 5 selection this offseason) to name a few. Cleto was already on the 40 man roster which I am sure was a factor. Is this showcasing Cleto for trade bait? Have no faith in the others mentioned? Just put some names in a hat to see who gets the call? All good questions that I can’t answer. What do we get with Cleto? He is a fireballer that is still working on his control (which by all counts has improved this year). His secondary offerings (CB and CH) show potential as an avg or slightly better pitch but are quite inconsistent. [click to continue…]

Roster Move: Lance Lynn to make debut

It was a big day for the Cardinals and roster moves. With his hip issue, Kyle McClellan will hit the 15 day disabled list. It is also expected that Matt Holliday will join him tomorrow with his quad strain. So what does that mean for the Cardinals?

With last week’s movement of Blake King and P.J. Walters off the 40 man roster (King being claimed by Houston and Walters staying in Memphis), that leaves the Cardinals open to a little roster flexibility that they haven’t had the rest of the season. Luckily, it hasn’t been needed. Until now.

I predicted, before knowing McClellan and Holliday would be hitting the DL, that the Cardinals would send Pete Kozma to Memphis to make room for Lance Lynn. Lynn would make his start on the weekend and then Lynn would return to Memphis and the team would reactive Nick Punto from the DL. Cardinals fans are thinking, if only.

Lance Lynn will get the call from Memphis. The 24 year old Lynn was the Cardinals’ first round pick in 2008. While he was fairly dominant in single-A and double-A ball, he has yet to really be superb at the triple-A level where he has floundered. He currently has a 4.06 ERA with a 5-3 record in 10 starts for the Redbirds. While his ERA is down from 2010, his WHIP is up. However, he has only allowed 1 home run so far this year. He will get the start against Jonathan Sanchez.

That will push Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse each back a day and allow Lynn to face the worst offense in the majors instead of the Cubs who are the #16 offense.

So that’s what we know. How about what we don’t know? [click to continue…]

Franklin wants his old job back

Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez, be forewarned: Ryan Franklin wants his old job back.

The Cardinals’ 38 year old incumbent closer said to the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold that he intends to return to his late-inning role.

Franklin has been the Cardinals closer for the last three years, earning 82 saves from 2008 to 2010. His best year was 2009 where he saved 38 games and carried a sub-1 ERA well into the summer before wrapping up the season with a 1.92 ERA.

Then began the nightmare of 2011 for him. His season kicked off with a blown save against San Diego in the season opener. He managed to pull in the save in his next appearance against Pittsburgh, but blew saves in his next two appearances. On April 17th, after a home run by Matt Kemp to seal the Dodgers’ walk-off victory, Franklin sat with 4 blown saves in 5 opportunities and a 11.57 ERA. The struggles had sealed his fate, the team was going to decide to use a bullpen by committee to determine a closer to replace Franklin.

Since then, the closers role has been manned by Mitchell Boggs, Eduardo Sanchez, and most recently Fernando Salas. Those three pitchers have been 17 for 20 in save opportunites, and the current guy who just happens to pitch in the 9th inning, Fernando Salas, is a perfect 9 for 9.

In 5 appearances in the month of May, interestingly enough all on the road, Franklin has a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings over 5 games. Despite getting tagged for four runs in Wrigley Field, Franklin has turned in a solid month for a mop up closer. However, his last 3.2 innings have been scoreless as he’s allowed just two base runners. Is Franklin getting his groove back? [click to continue…]

Boggs’ treatment confuses me

As a Cardinals fan, blogger, and generally a studier of the habits of the management and organization, I consider myself fairly well read on the topic of what the team is going to do and the motives behind why they do it.

When Mitchell Boggs was optioned to Memphis, the move made sense to me. I defended it as the proper decision in a blog post that day.

However, now I just don’t know what’s going on.

I figured Boggs would head to Memphis, spend a couple weeks working on his stuff in relief while serving out of the Redbirds bullpen, maybe even closing out games for them. He’d be there until a roster spot opened up in St. Louis due to injury, trade, or the release of a player.

Then comes news during Boggs’ first appearance. He was going to start the game while the game’s scheduled starter would come in after Boggs was done. Okay. I thought. Just getting Boggs his time on the mound early in the game.

Then comes three days later and he gets the start against Omaha. This time he threw 4 innings. He allowed 3 hits and 1 walk along with 4 strikeouts. The general perception is that the Cardinals are looking to turn Boggs back into a starter and the extended appearance in Memphis is proof to that. But why? [click to continue…]

River Bandits at Busch

Praying all day that the weather would hold out for the River Bandits vs Cougars game tonight at Busch I was watching the weather every hour at work today! Got to the ball park tonight 30 mins before game time and enjoyed the very long concession lines…but at least all food and drink was half off. Now lets get to the game notes!

I watch from afar as Carlos Martinez warmed up in the pen prior to the game. Couldn’t tell much but I was quite excited to see one of the best prospects in our system. Finally the national anthem and then the River Bandits took the field. You could tell Martinez was a little jazzed up as he warmed up but held his composure quite well. As the game started and Martinez threw his first few pitches you could tell his FB was humming (the stadium radar gun was not clocking). His motion was a little whippy and he fell off to the first base side. I saw plenty of FB’s with an occasional CB thrown in the mix. His FB doesn’t has as much movement as I thought it would and he was actually quite hittable which was a big surprise to me. He had a few dynamite CB’s that either froze hitters or made a few look flat out silly. I would say it was a plus pitch tonight. I didn’t see too many CH so didn’t get a read on it. Overall you can see the immense potential and the raw tools he brought to the table…but at the same time he is definitely years away from the majors. Check out the amateur videos I posted on YouTube below (be nice as I was trying to do the best I could to keep my Droid still as I shot the video!). I also have a few pictures on Flickr with links below. [click to continue…]