Magneuris Sierra got the call every prospect dreads last year. The last year has been about attitude, adjustments, and reclaiming his path to the majors.
Last year, Magneuris Sierra got dropped from Peoria midseason, the rare case of a good prospect moving backward. It stalled what had been an encouraging rise for the slender center fielder, who is back in Peoria with the St. Louis Cardinals Low-A affiliate this season. The Cardinals signed Sierra out of the Dominican Republic back in 2012 for just $105,000, and he quickly found favor with evaluators and prospect writers. But leaping from the rookie league to Peoria in 2015 may have been too much too fast for the 19-year-old.
With Alex Reyes assigned to the bullpen, the Cardinals will turn to Weaver to fill their rotation slot for Saturday.
The Situation: Yesterday, we wrote a call-up on Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes, and how he was on his way up to help stabilize the rotation. Apparently, that’s all hogwash and poppycock, because Reyes is headed to the bullpen, and Luke Weaver will make his big-league debut on Saturday in place of Michael Wacha.
Background: Weaver was one of the best pitchers in the country his sophomore year at Florida State University, posting a 2.29 ERA and an impressive 119/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just over 98 innings. He struggled to repeat those numbers as a junior (85 strikeouts in just over 106 innings), but still was considered a first-round talent in the 2014 draft, and St. Louis procured his services with the 27th pick that June. Since entering the Cardinals system, the numbers have been ridiculous; he’s posted a career era of 1.78, and after posting a 1.40 ERA with 88 strikeouts in Double-A Springfield and a shutout in his first start at Triple-A, St. Louis is ready to see if those numbers can translate to the next level.
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The Cardinals are calling upon one of the top arms in the minors to aid their run for the playoffs.
The Situation: Barring a 1995 Mariners-esque comeback, the Cardinals are not going to catch the Cubs. They’re right in the thick of the wild-card race despite some so-so starting pitching, however, and they’re going to call on Alex Reyes to see if he can be part of the solution.
Background: Similar to what Lucius Fox did last June, Reyes “defected” from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic in 2012, and the Cardinals were able to sign him $950,000 that December. After impressing the next summer in the Appy League, Reyes struck out 137 batters in 109 innings for Low-A Peoria in 2014 , and quickly became one of the most intriguing right-handed pitching prospects in baseball. That stock went up substantially in 2015 after dominating in the Florida State League, and he more than held his own as a 20-year-old in Double-A later in the year. He was throwing well in the Arizona Fall League, but then a marijuana suspension not only cut his AFL stay short, but caused him to miss the first couple months of the 2016 season. Pitching in the treacherous PCL, he’s posted a 4.96 ERA, but he’s also struck out 93 hitters in just over 65 innings, and the Cardinals believe he’s ready to contribute.
Double-switching makes for a very odd end-game in Cincinnati, Andrew Benintendi debuts with amazing hair, and David Price goes an inning too long.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The Reds entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 5-4 to the Cardinals. Of course, some things happened before that, with the most noteworthy including Adam Wainwright’s first home run since 2012
Stephen Strasburg's perfect season gets befouled. Meanwhile, a baseball traveled 484 feet and Francisco Liriano righted himself.
The Thursday Takeaway
We’re not supposed to talk about pitcher wins anymore. There’s no real need to count the ways that the statistic is misleading and poorly constructed; Brian Kenny can take care of that for you. If you read this site, you should know why it’s not the greatest barometer of pitching success in a world filled with poor pitching barometers. In a world of blind men, the one-eyed man is king. The pitcher win is a blind man without a nose or nerve endings in his fingers.
The Cardinals system is in a relatively fallow period, but one underestimates their development system at his own peril. We talk to pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Junior Fernandez.
Background: The St. Louis farm system is not what it once was. After several years rated as one of the best systems in the game, featuring impact talent at the top, supplemented by seemingly endless depth, most experts see the Cards’ system as having few in the way of potential stars and thin in the way of depth. Back in 2011, when the Cardinals’ A-ball affiliate was in Quad Cities, it won the Midwest League title with a roster that included Kolten Wong, Greg Garcia, Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Trevor Rosenthal, and the late Oscar Taveras.
When it comes to the standings on the first day of the second half, what you see is *mostly* what you get.
Last year, the Cardinals had the best record in baseball, 100-62. The Pirates were second best, 98-64. This year, at the All-Star break, the teams find themselves looking up—looking pretty far up, in fact; 7.0 games for St. Louis and 7.5 for Pittsburgh—at the Cubs. Worse, they’re currently fourth and fifth, respectively, in the race for the two National League Wild Card slots, 1.0 and 1.5 games, respectively, behind the Mets and Marlins for the last spot. It’s leading fans of the two teams to ask, Are the Cubs really this good? and Are we really this bad? Cubs fans, by contrast, are looking at a team that was a ridiculous 39-15 record after play on June 10 but 14-20—third worst in the National League, tied for seventh worst in the majors—ever since.
A missed season put Aledmys Diaz behind the developmental curve, but in the past 12 months he has caught up.
“About as close as the Cardinals get to a ‘You only moved the headstones!’-level mistake, Aledmys Diaz hasn’t impressed since signing a four-year, $8 million contract prior to 2014. The expectation now is that he could turn into an extra infielder. Diaz passed through waivers untouched in July, so the rest of the league might find that evaluation a tad optimistic.”
Standout pitching performances this week, including Zack Greinke, Francisco Liriano and Adam Wainwright.
The past week to 10 days has seen a return to past glory for a pair of veteran right-handed, with both Zack Greinke and Adam Wainwright providing optimism that their respective seasons can be salvaged. A veteran southpaw has not been so lucky, and though Francisco Liriano’s last two starts came in week nine of the season (he was skipped this past week), he is scheduled to pitch today and all eyes will be on his performance and any potential adjustments that he makes.