January 2012

Rally Squirrel Invades Trading Card

Kevin Kaduk, an MLB blogger (Big League Stew) for Yahoo Sports, is reporting that the baseball trading card company, Topps, is preparing to release its 2012 set to stores, but not before doing something that it has never done before.

Skip Schumaker, second baseman of the St. Louis Cardinals will not be featured on his own card. Instead, the St. Louis “rally squirrel” will be the focal point of the trading card.

ImageCardinals fans and baseball fans alike may remember the infamous squirrel that ran across home plate as Schumaker was up in Game 4 of the 2011 NLDS. The phenomena surrounding this little critter has taken on a life of its own supplanting it as a celebrity at Busch Stadium. It even has its own song now, written and performed by St. Louis native, Randy Mayfield.

ImageSchumaker was selected by the Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2001 Amateur Entry Draft out of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

He has played in 269 games over a two-year span (2005-07) with Memphis. In his last stint with the Redbirds (2007), he hit .306 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 59 games.

Last season he posted a .283 batting average with two home runs and 38 RBI. He was used in all different formats as he made appearances at his primary position, 2B, but also in LF, CF and RF.


By: Michael Stagno, Memphis Redbirds media relations

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Prospect Q&A: Matt Adams

John Parker (special to MLB.com) and MiLB.com recently held an interview with St. Louis Cardinals’ top Minor League 1B prospect, Matt Adams, to reflect on last season’s success and discuss his plans for this upcoming season.

Adams is coming off an extremely successful season in which he was named the TEX League Player of the Year. He hit .300 with 32 home runs, 101 RBI and also posted a .357 OBP, a .566 slugging percentage and an OPS of .923.


MiLB.com: What have you been up to during the offseason?

Matt Adams: I had a sore knee towards the end of the Fall League and missed the last two weeks there, then gave myself another week off here at home. Since then I’ve been working out with a trainer and doing a lot of hitting in the cage.

MiLB.com: It’s said that the hardest jump for Minor Leaguers to make as they move up the ladder is that to Double-A. You skipped over Class A Advanced altogether on your way to the Texas League. At what point did you find out that you’d be headed to Springfield instead of Palm Beach?

Adams: I had an idea that I’d be on the Double-A roster by the last week of Spring Training. It didn’t really matter to me where I went, but when they sent me to Springfield, I definitely wanted to convince them they hadn’t made a mistake.

MiLB.com: How much thought have you given to the fact that there’s a hole to fill at first base in St. Louis with Albert Pujols having departed to the Angels?

Adams: I hated to see Albert go. He brought so much to the team and the organization. He’s an amazing player. I’m concentrating on improving my own game more than where I’m playing, but yeah, it’s exciting to maybe have an opportunity to contribute.

The interview, in its entirety, can be found here.

2012 Top Prospects

The 2012 Top MLB Prospects list, according to MLB.com, has been released. It is a list which recognizes the top 10 Minor League players at each position in anticipation for the upcoming season. The list features four players from the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization: 1B Matt Adams, 2B Kolten Wong, 3B Zack Cox and RHP Shelby Miller.


ImageAdams, a native of Philipsburg, Penn., and last season’s TEX League Player of the Year, was selected by the Cardinals in the 23rd round (699th overall) of the 2009 Amateur Entry Draft. Last season he hit .300 with 32 home runs and 101 RBI while posting a .357 OBP and a .923 OPS. With the departure of Albert Pujols, he could be in line as the future first baseman of the Cardinals.


Born in Hilo, Hawaii, Wong was selected by the Cardinals in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2011 Amateur Entry Draft. Last season he posted a .335 batting average with five home runs and 25 RBI. He also posted an OBP of .401 and swiped nine bags. Having already made a quick transition to professional baseball straight out of college, he could be in the majors sooner rather than later.


ImageA product of Louisville, Ky., Cox was selected by the Cardinals in the first round (25th overall) of the 2010 Amateur Entry Draft out of the University of Arkansas. In high school he was honored as an All-American by Under Armour, Rawlings and Louisvile Slugger. Last season, which he split time at Palm Beach and Springfield, he hit .306 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI.


ImageMiller, a flamethrower from Houston, Texas, and recipient of back-to-back St. Louis Cardinals’ Organization Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors (2010-11), was selected by the Cardinals in the first round (19th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Last season he appeared in 25 games (with both Palm Beach and Springfield) posting an 11-6 record with a 2.77 ERA and 170 strikeouts.


The rest of the list plays out like this: Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Mike Trout (Angels) headline a stout outfield group while Anthony Rizzo, who was recently traded to the Cubs from the Padres, figures to join the big club sometime this year as does his replacement in San Diego, Yonder Alonso. Newly acquired Jesus Montero (Mariners) is the standout Minor Leagues catcher after being acquired this offseason from the Yankees.

The top three 3B prospects, Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Miguel Sano (Twins) and Anthony Rendon (Nationals) all look ready to make an impact this season while the Orioles have the brightest future at middle infield with prospects 2B Jonathon Schoop and SS Manny Machado. Top LHP Matt Moore should be up with the Rays sometime this year while top RHP Julio Teheran will be looking to make his return to the Braves’ rotation.

This season is shaping up to be one of the most active in terms of promotions from the minors in recent history as there is an overload of talent ready to make the jump to The Show.


By: Michael Stagno, Memphis Redbirds media relations

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2012 MLB Prospect Watch

MLB.com has released its 2012 Prospect Watch list for the upcoming season, a list comprised of the Top-100 minor league athletes who could make an impact in 2012. The list features two right-handed pitchers from the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Shelby Miller (ranked No. 5 overall) and Carlos Martinez (No. 30 overall).

ImageMiller, born in Houston, Texas, is a product of Brownwood (TEX) High School where he was a two-sport athlete. He threw four no-hitters (one perfect game) and was also an All-State punter and All-District wide receiver. He was selected by the Cardinals in the first round (19th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He is fresh off another impressive season in which he posted an 11-6 record with a 2.77 ERA and 170 strikeouts (appeared in nine games for Palm Beach and 16 with Springfield). He was also, again, for the second year in a row, named the St. Louis Cardinals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

ImageBorn in Colinas Del Sur, Dominican Republic, Martinez was signed by the Cardinals as a Minor League free agent on April 20, 2010. Last year he finished with a 6-5 record and a 3.93 ERA while fanning 98. Also in 2011, he was named the third-best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America. Compared to Pedro Martinez, his fastball stays consistently in the upper 90s, but has been clocked in the triple digits at times.

Joining Miller and rounding out the rest of the top five are No. 1-ranked Matt Moore (Rays), No. 2 Bryce Harper (Nationals), No. 3 Mike Trout (Angels) and Julio Teheran (Braves), ranked fourth.

The future looks bright for teams like the Rays, Athletics and Padres who all lead the Top-100 with six prospects each while the Braves and Mariners both have five and the Nationals, Rangers, Pirates, Royals,  Blue Jays, Rockies and Red Sox all have four.


By: Michael Stagno, Memphis Redbirds media relations

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Media Relations Assistant

Hello to all of Redbirds and Cardinals Nation!

ImageMy name is Michael Stagno and I am the new media relations assistant for the Memphis Redbirds. Working in professional baseball has been a lifelong dream of mine. I was raised on the sport by my grandfather, a devout Boston Red Sox fan (a family tradition). I’m from New England and I love cold weather and snow! I graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle!) in May of 2011 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. While at Auburn, I was also an intern at the Auburn athletic complex for over two years where I assisted with all the men’s and women’s athletics programs.

ImageMy pets: I have a 3-year-old, black Labrador/Retriever named “Yaz”. His name is in honor of my grandfather whose favorite player was MLB Hall of Fame outfielder and Red Sox great, Carl Yastrzemski.

My hobbies: I enjoy kayaking, mountain biking, traveling, playing/watching sports and the occasional stint on my Xbox 360.

My favorite musicians: The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Jet, The White Stripes, Dropkick Murphys, Dispatch, Ryan Adams and David Gray.

My favorite movies: All of the Indiana Jones films (except for the fourth one); Gladiator; 300; Kingdom of Heaven; Conan the Barbarian; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; I Love You, Man; Hot Rod and MacGruber.

My favorite sports moment: Came during the 2004 MLB Playoffs. The Boston Red Sox became the first MLB team to overcome a 3-0 postseason deficit to win four games in a row, defeating the New York Yankees for the A.L. pennant. The Sox would then go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals for their first World Series title since 1918.

Keep up with me on Twitter: @mstag7

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I look forward to seeing all of you around AutoZone Park and here’s to hoping for a great season!