Todd surging through the minors
Righthander Jess Todd pitched well enough in one month in the high Class A Florida State League to be an all-star there, then did the same thing in the Double-A Texas League. Not just his pitches have sharp movement; he will, too.
The second-round pick in the 2007 draft surged to a 5-2, 1.59 combined mark through 17 games (13 starts). That included back-to-back seven-inning, one-hit starts for Springfield and a 7 1/3-inning shutout in relief of rehabbing Jason Isringhausen. Beyond a gunslinger's composure on the mound, Todd features at biting four-seam fastball and a sinker, allowing him to work both sides of the plate he also works low in the zone, trading off velocity for movement.
BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD:
Used to being overlooked for his size and dismissed for his frame, Shane Robinson has hit his way onto the list of the Cardinals' up-and-coming outfielders. Robinson was convinced that he had to develop more power to advance as a pro, which lengthened and slowed his swing. This spring, coaches told him that a shorter, lashing swing was his best way to the bigs. He struggled in spring as he reworked his swing, but hit .410 in April and kept hitting as he climbed to Triple-A Memphis with a .355/.397/.491 line.
"He's a real sparkplug," Springfield manager Pop Warner said. "You find a place for a guy who is hitting .380."
One of the pitchers invited to the Cardinals' "classic mechanics" mini-camp before spring training, righthander Adam Ottavino felt revitalized by the work and encouraged by his calmed delivery. It didn't translate to the field. The 30th overall pick from the 2006 draft did not win a game until June, and had a 1-4, 6.42 overall mark at Springfield. Ottavino, 22, still has the easy velocity, but his mechanics can get quickly out of sorts and his command follows.
• The Cardinals agreed to terms with first-round pick Brett Wallace for an estimated signing bonus of $1.8 million. Wallace, the 13th pick overall and two-time Pacific-10 Conference player of the year, will play third base for low Class A Quad Cities, and may see time in the outfield.
• One of the in-house favorites among pitching coaches since his arrival in the organization after the 2005 draft, righthander Mitchell Boggs threw his way into the major league rotation with a gauntlet of early starts. Boggs went 3-0, 4.37 with wins at Cincinnati, in Fenway Park and at Kansas City.