Recently, I had the chance to watch the Class A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Peoria Chiefs. As with any minor league game, there was excitement to see the young talent, but I left the stadium with a few thoughts about the team.
The Peoria Chiefs squared off against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. So, in a way, I was watching the St. Louis Cardinals play the Brewers. But don’t think about that one too hard.
On the mound for Peoria was Alex Fagalde, and he looked dominant. He struck out five Wisconsin batters across seven innings, and he allowed only two hits. One of the two hits was a homer, so he did give up one earned run.
That brought his season ERA down 1.99 in 54 innings. This is Fagalde’s second season in the organization. The 24 year old righty was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 30th round of the 2017 draft. He made it as high as short season A ball last year, and he has spent all of 2018 with Peoria.
Being 24 in Class A is not the most ideal situation in the world, but he is pitching very well. The way he looked, I am willing to go out on a limb and say he has a future ahead of him. There were a ton of swings and misses, and he looked like he was in the drivers seat from the outset.
There is only one reaction from me after watching the Chiefs lineup: the ball sounds different off of Elehuris Montero‘s bat. He swings hard, and he can put the bat to the ball. But when he connects with a pitch, it just sounds better than his teammates.
Because of that, he is going to continue to stand out as he develops. To put this in perspective, Montero went one for four with a single when I saw him. Regardless, he made loud outs, and loud outs become hits.
Overall, the Chiefs attack accumulated seven hits, driving home two runs. They still won, but that speaks more to the pitching than the hitting. There were plenty of chances to score, but the bats did not come through.
There is a lot to be excited about for the future of the St. Louis Cardinals. That stretches beyond just the Class A level. The organization has a ton of developing talent at all levels. The stars of the game I saw were, without a doubt, Montero and Fagalde.
These players have a long way to go until they reach the majors, but big performances are the way to get there. Scouts and managers are always watching, and if a player is ready to advance within the organization, they will. There is no doubt that every one of the players is giving everything they have to the game.