ST. LOUIS -- Double-A outfielder Harrison Bader had his 17-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, but the organization's 10th-ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, has grabbed the attention of general manager John Mozeliak, among others, with his terrific season start.Bader, the Cardinals' third-round pick in the 2015 Draft, hit .419 with 12
ST. LOUIS -- Double-A outfielder Harrison Bader had his 17-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, but the organization's 10th-ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, has grabbed the attention of general manager John Mozeliak, among others, with his terrific season start.
Bader, the Cardinals' third-round pick in the 2015 Draft, hit .419 with 12 extra-base hits and a 1.173 OPS during his hitting streak, which fell one game short of the Springfield franchise record. On the season, Bader has a slash line of .359/.410/.570 and a .981 OPS over 35 games.
"He's an interesting player in the sense that he oozes confidence," Mozeliak said of the University of Florida product. "[He's] understanding what he's trying to do. He's obviously having a lot of success at the plate. He's doing really well defensively. I think we'll be forced to have to make a tough decision here in the second half of the season with what to do."
That decision would be related to a promotion, which, though it may be warranted, is a more complex move than meets the eye. Mozeliak compared the group of players in Springfield to the core -- cleverly dubbed, then, as the "Memphis Mafia" -- that rose through the Cardinals' system together several years ago. They won a championship with Triple-A Memphis in 2009 and, two years later, several of them helped bring a World Series championship to St. Louis.
The group includes players like Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay, Allen Craig and David Freese.
"It's always nice," Mozeliak said, "to have a group that grows."
So who on Springfield's roster might comprise this next wave of talent? Mozeliak singled out position players Bader, Paul DeJong (No. 18 prospect) and Carson Kelly (No. 13 prospect), as well as pitcher Mike Mayers. DeJong, like Bader, was a member of the Cardinals' 2015 Draft class. Kelly, a converted catcher, has shown some offensive improvement after making the jump from Class A Advanced.
Mayers has actually already been on the move, as he was recently bumped up to the Triple-A rotation after going 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in seven Double-A starts. It may be a temporary assignment, however, as Memphis is poised to add top prospect Alex Reyes to its rotation this weekend and lefty Tim Cooney to the team next month.
• For the first time since tearing ligaments in his thumb in early March, shortstop Jhonny Peralta joined his teammates on the field for batting practice Wednesday afternoon. Peralta is expected to head out on a rehab assignment before the end of the weekend.
• Manager Mike Matheny indicated that Jedd Gyorko could be an outfield option once Peralta returns and infield playing time becomes even more limited. Gyorko is also, Matheny said, the team's emergency third catcher.
• Catcher Brayan Pena made additional progress on Wednesday as he works his way back from left knee surgery. He ran on the field for the first time, estimating that he pushed himself to 65 percent effort. He also took swings against coach-pitched balls in the batting cage.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.