In case you missed our ‘Twinterview’ with Cardinals minor league third baseman Jermaine Curtis on Friday, here is the conversation.
@memphisredbirds: Here we go! @JermaineCurtis are you ready to get started? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis : Ready as I will ever be! Let’s go Cardinal Nation!!! #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Where do you live in the offseason and where do you call home? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Great question. I feel like I live out of a luggage since I play with the Cardinals and then play in mexico after for 4 months. This is the time in which I am home. Rancho Cucamongo, CA, is where my family lives. #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Describe the experience playing in the Mexican Pacific League this past winter #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: The competition and overall experience is great. I play with guys who have played in the MLB and they help me in my game. The best part about it is that I continue to play baseball year round. It’s a blessing #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: You played baseball at UCLA for 3 years. Was it a difficult decision to leave before your senior season? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Yes it was a difficult decision to leave. UCLA is a huge family and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and time. But, it was the next chapter in my life that I had to get on to #uclabruins #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Everyone here boasts about SEC baseball. How does the PAC 12 stack up, being that you’re a bruins guy? # Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Hahaha we debate about this every year in our clubhouse. Everyone knows the PAC 12 has the best pitching and prospects. Check the last 5 years #PAC12domination #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: You were an All-Star and won the TL championship with @Sgf_Cardinals last year. What are your goals for 2013? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: To continue to improve, have fun, win, win, and win for the Cardinals. My question to you guys-Are you guys excited for this year? What are your guys goals for 2013? #Twinterview ha
@JermaineCurtis: I also want to help promote @base and #UpcomingPros.com #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Where was your favorite place to eat while in Memphis last year? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: My favorite place to eat was BB Kings Blues. So delicious. I hope to try other places this year. Any recommendations? #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: @MajesticGrille, @HueysRestaurant, @Rendevous_Ribs, @kookycanuck are good places #Twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Which #Cardinals player doyou model your game after? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Great question-I model my game after every Cardinals player. Having heart, toughness, drive, hardworking, etc. The Cardinals teach us the Cardinal Way and that is why we are winners #cardinalnation #cardinals #babybirds #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Who was your favorite MLB player growing up and why? #twinterview
@JermaineCurti : KEN GRIFFEY JR. He was very cool and talented. He had a presence about him that you couldn’t ignore. He inspired many people to play the game #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: The Oscars (@TheAcademy) are this weekend. Can you give a brief review of a movie you have seen lately? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Hahaha the last movie I saw was #WarmBodies and I didn’t like it much #twinterview
@memphisredbirds : Which actor would portray you in a movie about your life? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: #WillSmith because he is driven and passionate as I am. He and I want to take over the world. #legend #twinterview #Business
@memphisredbirds: Good answer. One last Question: Tell us something about you that the fans don’t already know. #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: I own a business where I put breathalyzer machines in bars in LA to help save lives against drinking and driving. In addition, it has a 12 inch screen on it where I sell avertisements. The name of that site is called Afflotech.com #Twinterview #entrepenuers #MADD #Upcomingpros.com
The official World Baseball Classic rosters have been officially announced, and the Memphis Redbirds are well represented. Eight former Redbirds players will participate in the Classic, two as coaches and six as players. The United States and Italy both have two former Redbirds on their roster, while Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico will also have Memphis ties. Here are the eight former Memphis Redbirds who will represent their country in the World Baseball Classic beginning on March 1 in Taichung, Taiwan.
Stubby Clapp, Coach, Canada: Clapp played for the Redbirds from 1999-2002, batting .269 with 22 home runs and 167 RBIs over that span. He appeared in 26 games for the Cardinals in 2001. His #10 jersey is the first and only jersey retired by the Redbirds. Clapp is currently the hitting coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays, Single-A affiliate of Toronto.
Steve Ontiveros, Coach, China: Ontiveros made three starts for the Redbirds in 1998, the first year the team was in existence, and went 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA. He played in major league games for the Oakland A’s (1985-88), Philadelphia Phillies (1989-90), Seattle Mariners (1993) and Boston Red Sox (2010). Ontiveros was named an American League All-Star in 2005 while with Oakland and led the American League in ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.03) at the end of the strike-shortened 1994 season. He pitched for the Chinese National team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Nick Punto, INF, Italy: Punto played five games for the Redbirds in 2011 and went 3-for-15 at the plate. He is currently on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster, and has appeared in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies (2001-03), Minnesota Twins (2004-10), St. Louis Cardinals (2011), Boston Red Sox (2012), and the Dodgers (2012). Punto batted .219 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 87 games between the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2012.
Dan Serafini, LHP, Italy: Serafini pitched in three games (two starts) for the Redbirds in 2003, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He played in the MLB for the Minnesota Twins (1996-98), Chicago Cubs (1999), San Diego Padres (2000), Pittsburgh Pirates (2000), Cincinnatti Reds (2003), and Colorado Rockies (2007). In 2012, Serafini split time between Bridgeport of the Independent League, and Monterrey and Aquascalientes of the Mexican League. He went a combined 9-6 with a 5.46 ERA in 28 games (22 starts) in 2012.
Fernando Salas, RHP, Mexico: Salas made appearances in Memphis every year from 2009-12, combining to go 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 65 games in relief. He was named a Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star in 2010. Salas also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2010-12 and was a member of the 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals. In 2012, Salas went 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA for the Cards. He also pitched in four games for the Redbirds, going 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA.
Yadier Molina, C, Puerto Rico: Molina played for the Redbirds in 2004, when he batted .302 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 37 games. He has been the catcher for the Cardinals ever since and was also a member of both the 2006 and 2011 World Series Champion teams. Molina is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time All-Star with the Cardinals. He played 138 games behind the dish for the Cards in 2012, batting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Mitchell Boggs, RHP, United States: Boggs pitched for Memphis in 2008-09 and again in 2011, a total of 39 games started. He went 15-9 with a 3.87 ERA as a Redbird and was named a Triple-A All-Star by Baseball America in 2008. Boggs has played for the Cardinals since 2008, mostly coming out of the bullpen. In 214 games (15 starts) for the Cards, Boggs has gone 13-12 with a 3.80 ERA. He had his best major league season in 2012, when he went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 78 games out of the bullpen.
Chris Perez, RHP, United States: (removed due to shoulder injury) Now the closer for the Cleveland Indians, Perez pitched for the Redbirds from 2007-2009. He went 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 21 saves while in Memphis. Perez pitched for the Cardinals during the 2008-09 seasons and has pitched in Cleveland ever since, being named to the American League All-Star team in 2011 and 2012. Last season, Perez went 0-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 39 saves in 61 games for the Indians.
Earlier today, Baseball America released its list of the Top 100 Prospects throughout baseball, two weeks after ESPN and three weeks after MLB.com released their rankings. The Cardinals again had six players on this Top 100 List, although the rankings differed between the publications. Baseball America is a well-respected magazine/website that goes in-depth about all aspects of the game, particularly prospects. Here are some notes about the Baseball America Top 100 prospects:
-Cardinals Top Prospect OF Oscar Taveras was again found in the #3 slot in Baseball America’s Top 100 List, as he was on MLB.com, behind Texas INF Jurickson Profar and Baltimore RHP Dyaln Bundy. ESPN rated him at #2, above Bundy.
-The greatest difference between the Baseball America rankings and the others came for RHP Shelby Miller. Today, Baseball America rated him as the #6 Prospect in all of baseball, while ESPN had ranked him #21 and MLB.com had previously rated him as low as #25.
-Two Cardinals farmhands ranked in consecutive slots, with RHP Carlos Martinez at #38 and RHP Trevor Rosenthal at #39 in Baseball America’s ratings. Martinez was rated at #33 by MLB.com and #39 by ESPN. MLB.com rated Rosenthal #43, while ESPN had him all the way down at #57.
-RHP Michael Wacha was ranked the # 76 Prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the #83 Prospect by MLB.com. He was left completly off the Top 100 list by ESPN.
-2B Kolten Wong got the most wide variety of reviews. Baseball America ranked him in the middle of the three at #84. MLB.com had Wong as high as #79, while ESPN dropped him all the way down to #96 overall.
No matter who is ranking the Top Prospects for this upcoming season, it is clear that these six belong in the Top 100. Taveras and Wong are expected to be in the starting lineup for the Redbirds this season, and 2-3 of the pitchers could see some innings in Memphis as well.
It should be an exciting season at AutoZone Park in 2013!
The St. Louis Cardinals signed outfielder Chad Huffman to a minor league contract on Monday morning, with no invite to Spring Training. The 27 year-old Huffman was immediately assigned to Triple-A Memphis. He batted .282 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 67 games last season for Triple-A Columbus in the Cleveland Indians’ system. Huffman has not appeared in the Major Leagues since 2010, when he made his debut on the big stage with the New York Yankees.
Huffman was originally selected by San Diego in the 2nd round of the 2006 June draft and was the Padres’ #7 prospect entering the 2007 season. He also won the 2009 Triple-A Home Run Derby at Portland’s PGE Park while playing for the hometown Beavers.
As we get closer to Opening Night, we wanted to release a few pictures of some giveaway items at AutoZone Park during the 2013 season. Redbirds fans can come home with a giveaway at every Friday home game as well as other select dates in 2013, totaling 18 in all.
Click here to read additional details on our expanded giveaway schedule. Opening Night is only 54 days away!
Friday, May 10 vs. Sacramento at 7:05pm: Charlie Lea Memphis Chicks Hat, presented by Victory University (3,000 fans)
Saturday, May 25 vs. Round Rock at 6:05 pm: Memphis Belle 70th Anniversary t-shirt (2,000 fans)
Friday, May 31 vs. Albuquerque at 7:05pm: Redbirds Piggy Bank (2,000 fans)
Thank you to Redbirds season ticket holder Janice Williams for donating a box of gloves for Cardinals minor leaguer Vance Albitz and his Gloves4Troops initiative.
Vance’s Gloves4Troops campaign has received a lot of coverage on the national level and can be read at the following links:
The Memphis Redbirds front office showed our support for good heart health today by wearing red to work in support of American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day. Also in preparation for the Super Bowl, the staff enjoyed a special pot-luck lunch on the club level.
Thanks to our friendly How You Doin’ Committee!
On Tuesday, MLB.com ranked their Top 100 Prospects entering the 2013 season. The St. Louis Cardinals tied for the league lead with six Top 100 Prospects, along with Boston, Miami, Minnesota, and Texas. The Cardinals also finished second in the MLB behind Seattle in “Prospect Points,” which assigns a value to each prospect and totals the values for each squad (100 points for #1, 99 for #2, etc.)
This is all good news for Redbirds fans, because five of these players have a good chance of playing in Memphis for all or parts of the 2013 season. The Cardinals have already been rated the top minor league system in the game by Baseball America, so the combination of success at both the overall and individual levels points to an optimistic future for the organization.
#3 Oscar Taveras, OF: Having played at Double-A Springfield as a teenager, Taveras has always been described as “ahead of the curve” wherever he has been. The athletic right fielder finished the 2012 season in the top three among Texas League hitters in just about every offesnive category, batting .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 37 doubles. Taveras is seen as the right fielder and number three hitter of the future for the Cardinals, but will most likely begin 2013 with Memphis to gain more playing time with Carlos Beltran still manning right field in St. Louis.
#25 Shelby Miller, RHP: Miller struggled for the first time in his professional career in the first half of 2012, but a few small adjustments led to a record fo 7-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 57 second-half innings with Memphis and a September call-up to the big leagues. His power fastball has topped out at 97 mph, and his improving curveball and changeup give even more upside to the right-hander. He will enter Spring Training vying for the 5th spot in the Cardinals rotation. If he doesn’t win that battle, Miller could find himself in a bullpen role forthe Cardinals or as a top-of-the-rotation starter for the Redbirds.
#33 Carlos Martinez, RHP: Although he has a smaller frame, Martinez brings the heat with a mid- to upper-90s fastball and has garnered comparisons to Pedro Martinez. He reached Double-A Springfield at age 20 and went 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) prior to being tabbed as the Game One starter in the Texas League championship series. Some analysts believe Martinez will end up as a dominant reliever in the MLB, but he will continue to pitch as a starter in the minor leagues this season. He could begin the campaign at Double-A, but Redbirds fans should have the opportunity to see him pitch in Memphis at some point this season.
#43 Trevor Rosenthal, RHP: Rosenthal has already made his mark at the Major League level, pitching lights out in the 2013 postseason with half of his fastballs clocked at 99 mph or faster. He rose quickly in 2012, starting 17 games for Double-A Springfield and making three starts for Memphis before being called up to pitch out of the bullpen for St. Louis. Rosenthal will have the opportunity in Spring Training to compete for a spot in the Cardinals rotation, but could easily end up in a relief role in St. Louis again, or as a starter with the Redbirds.
#79 Kolten Wong, 2B: Wong will begin the season as the Redbirds every day second baseman, although circumstances could see him called to St. Louis anytime throughout the year. He hit .287 with nine home runs, 52 RBIs, 23 doubles, and 21 stolen bases for Double-A Springfield last season. His well-rounded game projects him to be the steady, long-term second baseman that the Cardinals have lacked over the past few years.
#83 Michael Wacha, RHP: Wacha was drafted out of Texas A&M in the June, 2012 First-Year Player draft and quickly rose up the ranks of the Cardinals system. He started three games in the Gulf Coast League before appearing in relief four times for both Advanced-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. Wacha will take his sinking fastball and devastating chanegup to the Springfield rotation in 2013 and is expected to be the only one of the Cardinals six Top 100 prospects to not make a stop in Memphis in 2013. This could obviously change if Wacha lives up to his potential and gives The Cards no choice but to promote him.
Former Redbird Joe Mather aka “Joey Bombs” signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies and was invited to spring training as non-roster invitee. Mather wore a Redbirds jersey during parts of four seasons from 2007-10 and ranks tied for 5th on the Redbirds’ all-time career list with 41 home runs.
We conclude our in-depth look at former Memphis Redbirds who were ranked among the Cardinals Top 10 Prospects by Baseball America. Other top prospects, such as a #1 Oscar Taveras, #3 Carlos Martinez, and #5 Kolten Wong, are expected to play a big role for the Rebirds in 2013. With all of this returning and incoming talent, there is a lot of excitement heading into this Redbirds upcoming season.
Here is a look at the third and final former Redbird in the Cardinals list of Top 10 Prospects:
#7 Matt Adams
At 24 years old, Adams is rated as the “Best Power Hitter” in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America. His swing is described as “compact” and “spring-loaded,” which has allowed him to hit for both power and average over his professional career. In four minor league seasons, Adams has posted a .318 average with 82 home runs and 291 RBIs in 366 games.
Adams played 67 games for the Redbirds in 2012, along with a month-long stint with the big Cardinals. With Memphis, Adams batted .329 with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs. Prior to his call-up to the majors on May 20, he was batting .340 and led the team with nine home runs and 27 RBIs in 37 games. Adams recorded two homers, 13 RBIs and six doubles in 27 games with the big league squad before being re-assigned to Memphis. He missed the final month of the season with bone chips in his right elbow.
Prior to arriving in Memphis, Adamas racked up a number of accolades at the different minor league levels. He was named 2011 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year and Texas League Player of the Year, along with Texas League mid-season and post-season All-Stars while with Double-A Springfield. He was also a Midwest League mid-season and post-season All-Star as a member of Low-A Quad Cities.
Adams is expected to be the Redbirds’ Opening Day starter at first base, with Allen Craig at the position at the big league level. He was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 23rd round of the June 2009 draft out of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, where he led Division II in hitting with a .495 average.
Be sure to check out the Cardinals Caravan tomorrow at 6:30 pm at Autozone Park. Top Prospect Matt Adams will be in attendance, along with pitchers Michael Wacha and Sam Freeman and Cardinals Alumni Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson. For information on the Caravan, please call (901) 721-6000. See you there!
Photo credits: Allison Rhoades / Memphis Redbirds