State College Spikes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With the 2013 Major League baseball Draft in the rear-view mirror, its time for the Short-Season leagues to begin play. The Cardinals’ short-season (A) affiliate is in State College, Pennsylvania. The Spikes play in the New York – Pennsylvania League and will be in their first season as a Cardinal affiliate since 2006. This short-season team is made up of recently drafted college prospects and others including high school draftees and international signees. Lets take a look at the preliminary roster and break down a few key players.
Pitchers, age – How Acquired
Juan Bautista, 20 – International
Michael Brookshire, 22 – 20th round, 2013
Victor De Leon, 21 – International
Mitch Harris, 27 – 13th round, 2008
Kevin Herget, 22 – 39th round, 2013
Ben O’Shea, 21 – 35th, 2012
Willy Paulino, 22 – International
Nick Petree, 22 – 9th, 2013
Andrew Pierce, 22 – 8th, 2013
Jhonny Polanco, 21 – International
Jeffrey Rauh, 23 – Undrafted
Jimmy Reed, 22 – 6th, 2013
Kyle Webb, 22 – 32nd, 2013
Alex DeLeon, 22 – 23rd, 2013
Adam Lewis, 24 – Undrafted
Luke Voit, 22 – 22nd, 2013
Bruce Caldwell, 21 – 15th, 2012
Carson Kelly, 18 – 2nd, 2012
Trevor Martin, 21 – 20th, 2010
Cesar Valera, 21 – International
David Washington, 22 – 15th, 2009
Ronald Castillo, 21 – International
Steven Ramos, 22 – 22nd, 2010
Matthew Young, 22 – 20th, 2012
Players to Watch
Carson Kelly - The youngest member of the Spikes, Kelly is also the most highly rated. He played last season at short-season (R) Johnson City and hit 9 home runs, which was the most for any 2012 high school draftee. Kelly started this season at extended spring, but was promoted to Low-A Peoria in late April. Kelly had just hit 2 home runs there and was at about .220. The move to State College will allow Kelly to play third every day and should be a confidence builder. He should be batting in the middle of the order.
Juan Bautista - The second-youngest member of the Spikes has also shown success at a higher level in 2013. Bautista made 3 starts for High-A Palm Beach and was very solid after a rough first start. In his last 2 starts, Bautista went 12 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 1 ER. Should be the ace of the rotation and just turned 20 on June 16th. I could see Bautista quickly moving to a higher level.
David Washington - Washington opened the season with Peoria, but was later suspended due to some off-the-field issues. After his suspension was lifted, Washington was at extended spring. He figured to get plenty of playing time at first in Peoria and should join Kelly in the middle of the lineup. Lats year, Washington was at short-season Batavia – the old Cardinals NY-Penn affiliate – and hit 9 home runs as well.
Mitch Harris - Harris is one of the most inspirational stories in the Cardinals farm system. You may notice that Harris is the oldest member of the Spikes and he is ok with that. Harris was drafted in 2008 out of the Naval Academy, but could not join the Cardinals until after his service time was up. Harris hoped to get early release in 2012, but was denied. Harris will be one to watch for the Spikes this year.
Victor de Leon - Like Bautista, De Leon is an International signee out of the Dominican Republic. He pitched for Johnson City in 2012 and made 10 starts. In those starts, De Leon went 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA and struck out 42 batters in 44 innings. He should slide into the starting rotation right after Bautista.
Lets take a look at a potential starting rotation and starting lineup. These are just my best guess.
Potential Starting Rotation
O’Shea, DeLeon, Bautista, Petree, Reed
Potential Starting Lineup
1B – Washington
OF- Ramos, Castillo, Young
Again, this roster is just a preliminary roster and still could change before opening day on Monday the 17th. In fact, you will see there are only 24 members on the roster, so someone will be added, my guess is it will be an outfielder.
The Spikes should be fun to watch this year. If you are near State College, a Spikes game will be well worth it!
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