(Note: Check back at 2pm for an extra Friday post from Andy Beard.)
In many ways, Batavia is an odd half step in the chain of minor league clubs for the Cardinals. When many Latin players are ready to make the job state-side, Johnson City is the first stop. Those that succeed and are ready to proceed skip to full season baseball in Quad Cities. Those that need more seasoning find themselves with another abbreviated season of minor league ball in Batavia.
The club is not bereft of talent though. Below are five players worth keeping an eye on in 2012.
Jose Pasen, SP
Pasen spent 2011 in Johnson City. More hittable than you’d like for someone with his stuff, Pasen was slated to refine his craft in Batavia. Unfortunately, Pasen was busted for a performance enhancing drug and currently resides on the restricted list serving out his suspension. Pasen had an excellent strikeout to walk ration in Johnson City and should return for a handful of starts at the end of the New York Penn League’s season. The suspension is a bad blow to what could have been a big year for the 22 year old Dominican.
Patrick Wisdom, 3B
Wisdom is the highest 2012 draft pick (the Cardinals 4th pick and 52nd overall) that is slated to play in Batavia. A third baseball with questions about his power, Wisdom is considered to be a solid defender and has shown power at times — notably in the Alaskan Summer League. Worth noting, especially in a system like the Cardinals, is that Wisdom has spent some time as a catcher. Wisdom will be 21 in August.
Yunier Castillo, RP
Yunier Castillo is adverse to walks. In 699 plate appearances, Castillo walked 23 times. That’s less than 5% of his PAs. Now, Castillo benefits from being adverse to walks. The former shortstop is trying his hand at pitching — something the Cardinals have done plenty of times in recent years — and it will be interesting to see how it turns out with Castillo.
Tim Cooney, SP
While Patrick Wisdom may be the top overall draft pick going to Batavia, Cooney is the one with a 90mph fastball that’s headed to Batavia. The Cardinals 3rd round pick, a left handed starting pitcher from Wake Forest, is a multipitch pitcher with enough fastball velocity as a lefty to succeed. The Cardinals will start Cooney at Batavia.
Breyvic Valera, 2B
The hype on Valera has been too high for the last several years. Valera’s name recognition is an odd creation of the internet despite the rather slim resume. In large part, it’s a scenario where someone, somewhere said that Valera was noteworthy and an internet cadre locked on in spite of sparse and questionable information. Nonetheless, Valera had a 3 game stint in Springfield this season as a stop gap just before the start of Batavia’s season. The second baseman has shown good power and contact ability in Batavia so far this year. He’s worth watching just to try and get a better grasp on the validity of the name recognition.