St. Louis Cardinals: Tracking the Progress of Prospects in Arizona Fall League
While one crop of St. Louis Cardinals prepares for the World Series, another prepares to enter the major leagues in the Arizona Fall League.
We've borne witness to the meteoric rise of rookie NLCS MVP Michael Wacha, but not every St. Louis Cardinal moves through the minors that quickly. Others find themselves making the trip to Arizona to compete in what is considered the "finishing school" of MLB's top prospects.
Seven Cardinal minor leaguers have been selected to the 2013 Salt River Rafters. How are these "baby birds" doing?
This article tracks the progress of the names that may soon inhabit the homes of Cardinals fans everywhere. Read on for stats and analysis!
All statistics are current on MLB.com as of October 23, 2013.
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Stats: 10 G, .351 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 5 SB, .945 OPS
Stanford product Piscotty is known for his line-drive approach at the plate. He spent a majority of the summer with High-A Palm Beach and ranks No. 7 on the list of top Cardinals prospects, according to MLB.com.
He hit .295 during the regular minor league season and seems to only be getting better. Piscotty currently ranks 14th in batting average among players in Arizona Fall League, and he's third in stolen bases with five. He's been hitting for extra bases and had a six-game hitting streak at one point.
He should be a good one to watch as he climbs towards the majors.
James Ramsey, OF
Stats: 7 G, .346 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, .996 OPS
Drafted out of Florida State, Ramsey rose from High-A Palm Beach to Triple-A Springfield during the 2013 minor league season and even had an eight-game hitting streak in mid-June. He's currently ranked the Cardinals' No. 10 prospect.
He makes hard contact and knows how to spray the ball to all fields. Not to mention he's another threat to steal and a decent fielder.
After seven games in Arizona, he's ranked No. 15 in batting average—just behind Piscotty. He's also No. 11 in OPS and tied (with five others) for fourth in stolen bases with three.
Anthony Ferrara, LHP
Stats: 4 G, 0 GS, 4.50 ERA, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K
Ferrara was drafted out of high school in 2008 in the seventh round.
He just finished his first full season in Double-A and came out of it with a 7-5 record and a 5.67 ERA. He even one-hit the Arkansas Travelers through seven innings in early August.
His Arizona Fall League ERA is less than desirable, but four games is a small sample size and he's only given up three hits.
Dean Kiekhefer, LHP
Stats: 3 G, 0 GS, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K
Drafted out of the University of Louisville in the 24th round of the 2010 draft, Kiekhefer split time between High-A Palm Beach and Triple-A Springfield in 2013. He finished with a 3.43 ERA and seven saves.
With the Salt River Rafters, he has allowed six hits in four innings, and yet he has only one run against him, which says something about his ability to get out of a jam.
Lee Stoppelman, LHP
Stats: 3 G, 0 GS, 0.00 ERA, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 3 K
Another southpaw promoted from Palm Beach to Springfield this year, Stoppelman had a stellar year, earning six saves and posting a 1.50 ERA through 66 innings pitched.
He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 24th round of the 2012 draft from the nearby University of Central Missouri.
His success has continued thus far in Arizona, giving up a single hit in 3.1 innings. He might need to cut down on the walks, but he certainly has a future in baseball.
Sam Gaviglio, RHP
Stats: 2 G, 0 GS, 4.50 ERA, 8.0 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 7 K
Gaviglio was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Oregon State. He has a nice sinking fastball, as well as a changeup and a slider.
In 2013, he played in both the Gulf Coast League and High-A Palm Beach, finishing with a 2.27 ERA and a 4-1 record.
He has a slightly bigger sample size than the other Cardinals minor leaguers in Arizona this fall since he is in the Salt River rotation. His ERA is average and he's given up a lot of hits, but he also has seven strikeouts.
At 23, he has some time to develop.
Jacob Wilson, 2B
Stats: 5 G, .235 BA, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .551 OPS
Drafted by the Cardinals in the 10th round of the 2012 draft, Wilson played in Single-A Peoria before moving on to Palm Beach this summer.
He finished the season with a .243 batting average and 82 RBI, although he struggled a bit after the move to High-A.
He is starting to find his stride when it comes to the bigger minor league stages. With the Salt River Rafters, he had a multiple-hit game this past Saturday.
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