Three first rounders stock are up, while three of the Cards’ better pitching prospects are trending down.
Brett Wallace-I really hope he stays at the QC for at least another couple of weeks, as the Bandits are coming to my hometown the beginning of August. He might not, as he’s needed little adjustment to pro ball so far: in 50 at bats he’s hitting .360/.492/600. He has more walks than strikeouts (9-8) and isn’t afraid to take one for the team, with 4 HBP. I saw him on local TV here the other night and he laced a liner for a single right after he looked bad swinging over a breaking ball. In the next half of the inning he made a pretty nifty play at third where he had to range a little to his left and make a strong throw. It was “fall down” range, but some range. Gotta look at the positives. Heck, with Glaus hitting the way he has maybe they should talk extension with him while he’s liking St. Louis, and just move Wallace to LF now.
Pete Kozma-He has been average at the plate this season, but considering he is in his first full professional season just a year removed from high school, it’s somewhat understandable. But for those who have been skeptical of the merits of his 1st round selection to begin with, Pete has done little to win them over. However, in the past 10 games at least, he’s on a pretty nice roll. He’s hitting .310 average with a .452 slugging percentage in 42 at bats. On the negative, he’s drawn only one walk during that span and only 3 the entire month of July. Drawing walks has actually been on of Pete’s strong suits up to this point (walking in 10% of his plate appearances), but it’s nice seeing him finally get some extra base hits nonetheless.
Tyler Greene-I had a gut feeling Greene would finish strong in the 2nd half, and so far he’s proving me right. Hopefully this last month is a sign he’s finally coming to his own. Green is slugging .739 in his last 10 games, and since the all star break is hitting .311/.339/.544 with 6 homers and 4 steals.
Jaime Garcia-He’s down a little, but his first big league start leads me to believe he’s rebounding some. His call up was rather surprising considering his two starts in July he lasted only 5 innings in one game and 4.1 in his last. He allowed 8 earned runs on 10 hits and 6 walks with 5 K’s to raise his AAA ERA to 4.59, a disappointing number considering he had been obliterating AA. After a shaky first inning in his first MLB start, Jaime settled down and looked pretty good, at least until he allowed a 2 run homer against Padres’ pitcher Cha Seung Baek. I don’t think Garcia will ever forget his name, as Baek broke into the slowest homerun trot I think any human being has ever seen. Garcia missed plenty of bats with is cutter/curve combo and was able to pound the lower half of the plate with his sinker. Chris O’Leary recently broke down Garcia’s mechanics and doesn’t believe he’ll be the long-term solution for the Cardinals, FWIW. In a nutshell, O’Leary doesn’t believe the elbow issues are a fluke and he’s bound to shred his shoulder due his mechanics.
Chris Perez-Not a real great MLB debut, although I still have no idea what Kelvin Jimenez offers that Perez doesn’t. His 1.7 K/BB ratio was less than exciting, part of which can be attributed to his slider going AWOL. He’s hoping to rediscover the pitch back in AAA.
Fransisco Samuel-Like Perez, Samuel touches 97 and has a devastating slider, or so says the Cardinal brass, but after the break Samuel’s been all over the place. He’s walked 18 in 16.1 innings since the All Star break and has blown 3 saves. Great stuff, but very questionable command.