Peoria Chiefs: Season in review

SPEAK YOUR MIND

The Peoria Chiefs made their return to the Cardinals farm system for the first time since 2004. The Chiefs ended with a regular season record of 68-69, 38-29 in the first half and 30-40 in the second half. Before the season began, I predicted the Chiefs would field a very solid team thanks to prospects like Breyvic Valera, Patrick Wisdom, Tyrell Jenkins, and Charlie Tilson all starting the season in the Midwest League. As you can see, the Chiefs had a very solid first half and just missed the playoffs by 1 1/2 games. August came and went and the Chiefs bats were still in July. The Chiefs scored 0, 1, 0r 2 runs 18 times in August which led to a 11-19 record and could have been worse if it weren’t for strong pitching efforts.

Offensively, the Chiefs were led by some of those top prospects I mentioned earlier. Patrick Wisdom had 13 home runs before moving on to Palm Beach. Breyvic Valera hit .309 and was solid at many defensive positions. Charlie Tilson hit .303 before getting promoted, and that included a .243 April. Jeremy Schaffer was a nice surprise coming back from a wrist injury during spring training. Shaffer made his debut on June 3rd and was third on the team with 11 home runs. 29 players got an at-bat for the Chiefs in 2013, but the one player who only had 1, made it count. Luis Perez was called up to Peoria on June 14th and hit a 3-run pinch-hit home run to help the Chiefs win. That would be his only at-bat at Peoria for 2013.

The Chiefs pitching staff had long stretches of very solid starts and quality relief appearances. Cory Jones only made 11 starts for the Chiefs after beginning the season at Extended Spring and he still was able to win 8 of those games. Jones also had a nice ERA of 2.04. The top pitching prospect on the Chiefs, Tyrell Jenkins, showed flashes of why he is one of the top pitching prospects in the Cards organization. On May 5th, Jenkins threw a shutout and only allowed 3 hits while striking out 5. He also had a 7 inning complete game on May 29th. Jenkins was promoted to Palm Beach in late June and made three starts for the Palm Beach Cardinals before getting shutdown due to injury on July 6th. Dixon Llorens, my pick for Pitcher of the Year, was solid out of the bullpen for the Chiefs. Llorens had a 27 2/3 inning scoreless streak and had a k/9 rate of 13.5. Zach Petrick‘s meteoric rise in 2013 started at Peoria. Petrick, who made it all the way to Double-A, pitched in 16 games for Peoria (all relief appearances) and had a 0.83 ERA while striking out 46 batters in 32 2/3 innings. Petrick will be a top candidate for Organizational Pitcher of the Year.

Here is who our panel selected for Players and Pitchers of the Year:

Derek Cool, freelance minore league writer, @thebighurt23

Player of the Year: Jacob Wilson

10th round selection in the 2012 draft out of the University of Memphis Jacob Wilson spent 97 games at Peoria but finally was promoted to Palm Beach and played 32 games at that level hitting .179. Though, in his time at Peoria Wilson led the team in home runs (fifteen), runs batted in (seventy two), slugging (.468), and OPS (.818).

Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Helisek

The 23-year old southpaw out of Villanova U was horse of the Peoria rotation with the most innings (129 IP) and starts (23 starts) logged to his credit. In those starts Helisek lead the Peoria pitching staff in strikeouts with 101 total and was second in ERA behind Cory Jones who got consideration for this award but the innings pitched didn’t match up with Helisek who spent the whole season at Peoria.

John Nagel, CardinalsFarm.com, @CardinalsFarm

Player of the Year: Jacob Wilson

The Cardinals selected Wilson in the 10th round of the 2012 draft out of Memphis as a Senior. Wilson has shown much more than just a senior sign. In 97 games at Peoria, Wilson hit .264 with 15 home runs and 72 runs batted in. Wilson was the most consistent hitter in the middle of the Chiefs’ lineup. On June 13th, Wilson was hit in the head by a Clinton LumberKings pitcher and missed the next 8 days. When he returned from the DL it took him a while to get going. In 24 games after his return, Wilson hit just .165 with 4 HR and 10 RBI. Take out that stretch and Wilson has an even better season.

Pitcher of the Year: Dixon Llorens

This may be an unpopular pick among my fellow bloggers but I was really impressed with the season Llorens had. Many of the others chose Cory Jones or Kyle Helisek, both had fine seasons. From June 16th to August 29th, Llorens did not allow a run. That would be a 27 2/3 scoreless innings streak. During that time Llorens BAA was .161 and he struck out almost 2 batters an inning. On the season, Llorens struck out 71 batters over 47 1/3 innings for a K/9 rate of 13.5, which is ridiculously high. Llorens will be 21 for the 2014 season and will most likely start at Palm Beach and could turn into a top 20 prospect next year.

Joe Schwarz, StlCupofJoe.com, @StlCupofJoe

Player of the Year: Breyvic Valera

The “sexy” numbers would obviously point to Jacob Wilson who had 15 home runs and 72 RBI for the Chiefs, but I just cannot get over the season the switch-hitting, 21-year-old second basemen had for Peoria. He may not be a home run hitter, but his sweet swing from both sides of the plate stroked line drives to the outfield all season long. Also, he would fit in well with the big league Cardinals since he hit .352 with runners in scoring position. He is not a flashy player, but he is definitely one to watch in the future.

Pitcher of the Year: Cory Jones

This 6’5” righty had a heck of a season for the Chiefs as shown by his 8-2 record and 2.04 ERA. Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz said he has an “Ideal pitcher’s body. Fastball sits at 93 [mph], touches 97, potential for a big power curveball. I think he’s got a starter’s repertoire.” Though an injury slowed down his pace this season, look for him to move up the ladder of the minor leagues next season, if he can stay healthy.

Jim Grundy, CardsConclave.com, @JimTheVoice

Player of the Year: Charlie Tilson

For Peoria, Tilson takes home MVP honors. This is another instance of the-guy-got-moved-up-so-he-must-be-valuable for me, and I’ll stick by it. He may not have had the top stats offensively, but he did enough, with a .303 average, and was top five in total bases, hits, triples, home runs, and OPS. He was tops in triples and stolen bases. He was promoted to Palm Beach after 100 games and stayed consistent in Palm Beach (though it was only nine games).

Pitcher of the Year: Cory Jones

I really hate to go with the “most wins” approach to the Cy Young for Peoria, but when you go 8-2 in 11 games, and no other regular starter recorded a winning record, well, you win, Mr. Jones. Jones had the best ERA and WHIP among starters, and lowest run total, and second lowest walk total. In a rotation where no one really stuck out, Cory Jones made this an easy decision for Cy Young.

Lukas Adams, Contributor to CardinalsFarm.com, @TheeLukas Adams

Player of the Year: Jacob Wilson

Pitcher of the Year: Cory Jones

Cade Thompson, minor league enthusiast, @Cade4ISU

Player of the Year: Jacob Wilson

Second Baseman Jacob Wilson is taking home my MVP vote. Wilson led Peoria in home runs, RBIs, OPS, Slugging % and was tied for first in doubles. Wilson had a really solid year and earned a promotion to Palm Beach and is playing in this years Arizona Fall League.

Pitcher of the Year: Cory Jones

Cory Jones was 8-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 66.1 innings. Opponents hit .215 off the 6-5 Jones who was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 draft. He struggled in 2012 with a 7.07 ERA in 17.1 innings. Had a huge bounce back season.

 

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