All posts by Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.

Cardinals Make Final Roster Cuts to Reach 25

photo: Tommy Layne (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Monday, March 25) a series of roster moves to get to 25 players on their active roster.

Following tonight’s game in Memphis, the Cardinals optioned left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb to the Memphis (AAA) roster and re-assigned the following seven players to the minor leagues: RHP Chris Beck, LHP Tommy Layne,  catchers Andrew Knizner and Francisco Peña, infielders Tommy Edman and Rangel Ravelo and outfielder Dylan Carlson.


Dylan Carlson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Brian Walton’s take

Zero surprises here. These moves had been telegraphed when the members of St. Louis’ Opening Day 25-man roster were disclosed and these players were not among them.

Of the group, Edman performed most admirably this spring, with Carlson being my choice as camp Rookie of the Year. Webb was in the battle for the final bullpen spot until the end and should be the first of this group to reach St. Louis during the 2019 season.

Now that the opening roster is “set,” how long until the first change is made? Will it remain the same through the first series? The first road trip?


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Brian Walton’s Memphis Redbirds Opening Day Roster Prediction


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Place Five on Season-Opening Injured list

photo: Carlos Martinez (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Brett Cecil (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Monday, March 25) that they have placed five players on the 10-day Injured List (I.L.).

The team today placed pitchers Brett Cecil (left hand Carpal Tunnel syndrome), Carlos Martínez (right shoulder cuff strain) and Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement), infielder Jedd Gyorko (right calf strain) and outfielder Justin Williams (right hand 2nd metacarpal fracture) on the 10-day Injured List.


Luke Gregerson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Brian Walton’s take

All of these moves were expected. By announcing them now, before the season begins, the clock can begin and those closest can potentially return sooner. Per reports, that would seem to be Gyorko, who may take some at-bats in minor league games in Florida this week.

Gregerson had begun throwing bullpen sessions in Florida, Martinez is starting over his spring training buildup process in St. Louis, and it is unclear when Cecil will be cleared to throw again.

Jedd Gyorko (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Though Williams would likely not have made the team, MLB rules prohibit teams from optioning out injured players. So the outfielder will receive major league service time while on the shelf. He was injured in a non-baseball accident late in 2018. Once ready, he will likely begin a minor league rehab, then be immediately optioned to Memphis.

Gregerson opens his second consecutive season on the disabled/injured list. Martinez was St. Louis’ Opening Day starter in 2018. Gyorko was also injured the first week of last season and placed on the disabled list then, opening up the roster spot taken by Harrison Bader.

Justin Williams (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Also, in a move the team announced via Twitter on Saturday, catcher Joe Hudson was reassigned to Memphis.

Remaining transactions before Opening Day to get to 25 active players: LHR Tyler Webb to be optioned out; and the final seven NRIs to be reassigned to minor league camp: Ps Chris Beck, Tommy Layne; Cs Andrew Knizner, Francisco Pena; IFs Tommy Edman, Rangel Ravelo; and OF Dylan Carlson.


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Brian Walton’s Cardinals Spring Training Standouts


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 2019 Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation has published annual rankings of the top prospects across the St. Louis Cardinals system since 2006.

Once again here in 2019, we have compiled all of these reports and much more into a new 190-page book – The Cardinal Nation 2019 Prospect Guide.

The core of this new 190-page Guide is in-depth profiles on all players on the top 50 prospect list, with each player write-up new for 2019. Individual profiles include 2018 stats, photos, scouting reports, probable 2019 team assignment, ultimate potential and more.

In addition to the all-new player write-ups and dozens of additional photos, new sections for 2019 include top statistical performers last season, team records/standings, sourcing of the top 50, organizational Pitchers and Players of the Year and George Kissell Award history, both going back several decades.

For full details on the contents of the Guide and how to order, either in print or electronic form, click here.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/22/19

photo: Jhon Torres (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals Friday minor league action, originally to be split between the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida and the Washington Nationals’ fields in West Palm Beach. The Cardinals’ upper two squads were to remain home and the two Class-A teams were to travel.

However, heavy rains in the area left the minor league fields in West Palm flooded, so all four contests on were held at home for the second straight day, instead.

With the exception of Palm Beach, the St. Louis’ squads had good pitching but the four teams in total scored just 10 runs. That led to an aggregate 1–2 on the day. Palm Beach took the loss and logged the win. The two upper level clubs tied.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 10 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.


Bryan Dobzanski (Peoria Chiefs)

Friday’s Pitcher of the Day – Bryan Dobzanski, Springfield

With eight saves last season, in the top 10 in the system, along with better than one strikeout per inning, Dobzanski has been an effective reliever. He went two innings on Friday, fanning four and allowing just one baserunner.

Back in 2014, the 23-year old was incented to skip college by an offer of $700,000 despite being taken in the 26th round. A raw talent, Dobzanski was a starter his first three-plus seasons before moving the Peoria bullpen in 2017. After that change, he logged a 2.10 ERA, then a 2.41 last season between the Chiefs and Palm Beach.

Honorable mention goes to Memphis’ Anthony Shew, who walked two and struck out three in three innings.


Jhon Torres (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Friday’s Hitter of the DayJhon Torres, Palm Beach

The outfielder singled and hit a solo home run in four Friday at-bats as the designated hitter for the high-A Cardinals.

Torres joined the Cardinals from Cleveland along with Conner Capel in the Oscar Mercado trade last July and immediately starred in the Gulf Coast League. Though it was in just 17 games, Torres placed in the top five in the system in batting average, slugging and OPS and ninth in on-base percentage.

With he make the jump straight to Peoria for his age 19 season?

Honorable mention is given to Raffy Ozuna, playing up with Memphis after competing last season in the GCL. Signed as a shortstop, Ozuna has grown and is now a decent-sized third baseman.


Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees by working roster assignment and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.


Memphis (2-3-1) 1, Fresno 1

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Mike Hauschild 3 2 1 2 4 29 y/o RHP is with his fourth MLB org. (Hou, Tex, Tor).
Anthony Shew 3 0 0 2 3 Led Cards system with 156 2/3 innings pitched in 2018.
Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Elehuris Montero 3B #10 3 1 1 1 1 1 Midwest League MVP also no. 1 in BA (.322), SLG (.529).
Conner Capel LF #31 3 2 LHH was high-A Carolina Lg. All-Star before Mercado trade.

Springfield (3-2-1) 1, Harrisburg 1

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Bryan Dobzanski 2 1 0 0 4 2018 Midwest League All-Star, then 1.13 ERA at PB.
Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Stefan Trosclair 2B 1 1 1 1 1 Ranked in top 10 in system with 62 runs scored in 2018.
Chase Pinder LF #49 4 2 Tied for 7th in org. with 48 walks taken last season

Potomac 7 at Palm Beach (2-3-1) 2

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
none
Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Jhon Torres DH #20 4 1 2 1 1 1 Shot onto prospect radar after late July trade from TB (Pham).
Andrew Warner RF 2 1 1 2018 Gulf Coast League Most Valuable Player.

Peoria (4-2) 4, Hagerstown 2

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Freddy Pacheco 2 0 1 0 2 14.7 K/9 IP last season was no. 1 in the Cards system.
Chris Hunt 2 0 1 1 3 39th rounder in 2017 has 3.52 career ERA, mostly in relief.
Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Diomedes Del Rio LF 3 1 2 1 Led system in 2018 with 13 triples between DSLB/GCL.
Joe Gomez C 2 1 1 1 1 In 2 pro years, batted .197 but threw out 33% baserunners.
Imeldo Diaz 3B 3 1 1 1 21 y/o now in 5th year, batted .174 with SC in 2018.

Tomorrow’s games: Saturday’s minor league games are scheduled to be held on the Marlins’ side of the Jupiter complex. Games are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, but always watch the weather.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Camp News Wrap-Up


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Select Wieters, DFA Shreve

photo: Matt Wieters (Kim Klement/Imagn)

Chasen Shreve (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Friday, March 22) that they have purchased the contract of catcher Matt Wieters and designated left-handed pitcher Chasen Shreve for assignment to make room for Wieters on the team’s 40-man Major League roster.

The team currently has 39 players in Major League camp, including 31 roster players.


Brian Walton’s take

Francisco Pena (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

What was not said here is that the contract of catcher Francisco Peña was NOT selected. Both catchers had outs in their contracts that they could declare free agency if not chosen to join the 40-man and 25-man rosters by this date.

From my view, the reserve catcher “battle” between Wieters and Peña was decided the day Wieters, a proven MLB veteran and switch-hitter was signed. Wieters will receive a reported $1.5 million this season and claims Shreve’s 40-man roster spot.

Peña has to decide if he reports to Triple-A Memphis or leaves the organization. He is not going to get a major league job elsewhere, so hopefully he is looking at his choices clearly.

Peña’s decision could also impact the status of another catcher signed on a minor league deal this off-season, Joe Hudson. One would surmise that only one of the two would be needed to serve as the veteran behind prospect Andrew Knizner with Memphis.

In the next seven days, Shreve will be traded, released, claimed off waivers or clear waivers and agree to report to Memphis. The left-hander, acquired from the Yankees in the Luke Voit trade last July, had no minor league options remaining. That led to his DFA – along with his pitching, which included 15 baserunners (six hits and nine walks) allowed in nine spring innings and a 5.00 ERA.


Other camp news

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

As expected, Dakota Hudson has been named the fifth starter, with John Gant heading to the bullpen.

Mike Mayers will be among the relievers, with the last open spot to be decided among John Brebbia and Tyler Webb with non-roster invitee Tommy Layne a longshot. The latter two are left-handers with Andrew Miller the only other lefty on the initial roster.

Players set to open the season on the injured list are left-hander Brett Cecil, right-handers Luke Gregerson and Carlos Martinez and outfielder Justin Williams.

Tyler O’Neill made the team as a reserve outfielder.

The health of Jedd Gyorko could lead to both Yairo Munoz and Drew Robinson making the team as the two reserve infielders. If the veteran is ready, however, one of the less experienced pair will open the season with Memphis.


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Camp News Wrap-Up


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minors Spring Camp Report – 03/21/19

photo: Brandon Benson, Alexis Wilson, Andrew Warner (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation) The St. Louis Cardinals were undoubtedly happy that the Tuesday rains which carried into Wednesday morning are passed. The major league club has a pair of games, starting with a 1 p.m. home match against the Yankees at Roger Dean Stadium. Jake Woodford received…

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Cardinals, Goldschmidt Agree to 5-Year, $130 MM Extension

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Any worry that first baseman Paul Goldschmidt would be a one-year and done acquisition by the St. Louis Cardinals has apparently been put to rest before the first baseman ever plays his first home game at Busch Stadium.

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The six-time National League All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner, acquired in trade for three players despite just one season remaining before free agency, has reportedly agreed to stay with St. Louis for five years beyond 2019.

The extension is worth $130 million and includes no opt-outs and a full no-trade clause, according to Post-Dispatch reporter Derrick Goold. The deal is expected to be formalized on Saturday in Jupiter, FL, before the club breaks spring training camp the next day.

Seeking a middle of the lineup hitter, the Cardinals traded right-handed starting pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly and second baseman Andy Young to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for the 31-year old Goldschmidt on December 5, 2018.


Update

The contract was formally announced on Saturday, March 23.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Spring Camp Report – 03/20/19


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/21/19

photo: Perry DellaValle (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

After several days without a report, we are back! Tuesday was a scheduled off day and the rains that carried into Wednesday resulted in a set of simulated games that lacked meaningful player stats. My report on the unusual Wednesday proceedings, which included an Adam Wainwright-Michael Wacha match-up – exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation – can be found here.

Following are the highlights from the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday minor league action, originally to be split between the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida and the Washington Nationals’ fields in West Palm Beach. The Cardinals’ upper two squads were to hit the road and the two Class-A teams remained home.

However, heavy rains in the area have left the minor league fields in West Palm flooded. Apparently $150 million (the approximate cost of Ballpark of the Palm Beaches) doesn’t buy as much as it used to.

The good news for Cardinals fans is that all four contests on Thursday were held at home, instead.

Skies were partly sunny with temperatures in the mid-70’s. The wind was not extreme, but it was blowing out for Memphis and Palm Beach, which will be worth remembering when reading below.

St. Louis’ squads had pretty good pitching and enough offense to go 2-1-1 on the day. Despite three home runs, Memphis took the loss and Palm Beach tied. Peoria logged a shutout.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 15 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.


Brandon Benson (State College Spikes)

Thursday’s Hitter of the DayBrandon Benson, Palm Beach

The outfielder was one of at least four players who launched home runs on Thursday, but Benson’s plated two others ahead of him. The 22-year old, taken in the 20th round in 2017, got off to a nice start at State College, but was able to play in only 57 games last season due to injury. The 22-year old has just eight career long balls in 363 at-bats, but his shot to left field cleared the fence.

Honorable mention is given to Raffy Ozuna, playing up with Memphis after competing last season in the GCL. Signed as a shortstop, Ozuna has grown and is now a decent-sized third baseman.


Perry DellaValle (Joseph Freiday Sr. photo)

Thursday’s Pitcher of the Day – Perry DellaValle, Palm Beach

How can anyone top a perfect day? DellaValle buzzed through the Potomac order in order, striking out a trio in the process.

The 23-year old was St. Louis’ 27th rounder last June from Seton HILL in PA, not Seton Hall. Placed in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, the right-hander was extremely successful, starting with a 1.97 ERA, best in the league. So were his 67 strikeouts (in 45 2/3 innings). Let’s see what he can do in 2018 against age-appropriate competition.

Honorable mention goes to Peoria’s Noel DeJesus, who faced six batters and retired them all.


The Cardinal Nation members can check out my in-depth report on Thursday’s proceedings to be posted Thursday evening. Also available are the full list of minor league spring training attendees by working roster assignment and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.


Fresno 6 at Memphis (2-3) 4

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Giovanny Gallegos 2 0 0 2 3 I thought the 27 y/o, acquired from NYY in the Voit trade, might close.
Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Raffy Ozuna 3B 4 1 1 2 1 20 y/o switch-hitter been a SS, now a larger third baseman.
Adolis Garcia RF #16 4 1 2 1 1 40-man roster OF homered in his last three games.
Lane Thomas CF #9 3 1 1 1 1 1 System HR/RBI champ in 2018 was injured in MLB camp.

Springfield (3-2) 7, Harrisburg 4

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Jake Dahlberg 3 1 0 1 2 Third in the system in 2018 with 2.50 ERA between Peo/PB.
Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
None How can they score seven runs and have no hitting of note?

Palm Beach (2-2-1) 3, Potomac 3

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Perry DellaValle 3 0 0 0 3 Best K/BB ratio in system in 2018 at 9.6 as 22 y/o pitching in GCL.
Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Brendan Donovan 2B 4 3 1 7th rounder played in just four games for SC before injury.
Brandon Benson LF 2 1 1 3 1 Only 4 HR in 183 at-bats among GCL/SC/Peo in 2018.

Peoria (3-2) 3, Hagerstown 0

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Noel DeJesus 2 0 0 0 2 Struggled to an 8.10 ERA in six starts for Johnson City last summer.
Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Brady Whalen 1B 4 1 2 1 2 Hints of power and production. In 4th season at age 21.
Josh Shaw 2B 3 2 Toughest GCL hitter to K last season – 14.07 PA/K.

Friday’s games: Friday’s minor league games are scheduled to be the reverse of Thursday’s original plans, This time, Palm Beach and Peoria are supposed to travel to West Palm Beach to face the Nationals, while Memphis and Springfield will remain home at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter to take on their Washington counterparts. Then again, if Washington’s fields remain unplayable, all games could be held in Jupiter, as they were on Thursday. Games are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, but always watch the weather.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Spring Camp Report – 03/20/19


Get TCN’s New 2019 Prospect Guide

Order The Cardinal Nation’s 190-page 2019 Prospect Guide now – available in PDF and printed book form, with a special 50% off deal for annual members.


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Option Daniel Ponce de Leon to Triple-A

photo: Daniel Ponce de Leon (Douglas DeFelice/Imagn)

Daniel Ponce de Leon (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals have optioned right-handed starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon to Triple-A Memphis, the second such move on Wednesday, after Austin Gomber was sent down in the morning.

Ponce de Leon had been in a four-way competition for the starting berth temporarily vacated by the injured Carlos Martinez, along with Dakota Hudson, John Gant and Gomber. Now, the battle is down to two, with both making the team. One will start and one will relieve, said manager Mike Shildt. Hudson appears to be in the lead for the rotation berth.

This spring, Ponce de Leon pitched in five games for a total of 15 1/3 innings, but yielded a total of 15 runs on 18 hits (including three home runs) and a whopping 12 walks for a spring ERA of 8.80. He fanned a dozen.

Like Gomber, Ponce de Leon is expected to rejoin the Memphis rotation until needed in St. Louis in either role – starting or relieving.

St. Louis’ spring roster is down to 40 players, 31 from the 40-man roster and nine non-roster invitees.


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation 

Cardinals Minor League Working Rosters – 03/19/19


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Option Austin Gomber to Triple-A

photo: Austin Gomber (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals have optioned left-handed starting pitcher Austin Gomber to Triple-A Memphis, manager Mike Shildt announced Wednesday morning.

Austin Gomber (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Gomber had been in a four-way competition for the starting berth temporarily vacated by the injured Carlos Martinez, along with Dakota Hudson, John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon. Hudson is the presumed, but unannounced leader.

Shildt complimented Gomber, noting “his stuff was really good” but “he was unable to execute his fastball command” this spring. The 25-year old, who made his MLB debut in 2018, will continue to start for the Triple-A Redbirds, the manager said.

Shildt labeled Gomber “a Major League pitcher in minor league camp” while noting his key contribution of five wins during the team’s August 2018 surge.

This spring, Gomber pitched in four games for a total of 11 innings, but yielded a total of 13 runs over his final three appearances for a spring ERA of 10.64. He gave up 19 hits, walked five and struck out just three.


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minor League Working Rosters – 03/19/19


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Working Rosters – 03/19/19

Working player team assignments partway through St. Louis Cardinals minor league camp 2019. As St. Louis continues to shed players, two Peoria rosters have been created, with most players moving downward. At least one prominent player is noticeably bucking the tide.

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Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/18/19

photo: Brady Whalen (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Welcome to day six of our 11th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at The Cardinal Nation. Again this year, I am joined in these recaps by TCN analyst Derek Shore.

(If you are wondering what happened to day five results from Sunday, the games were played, but tight schedules has meant the summary stats are yet to be provided by the Cardinals. If I get them, so will you!)

Following are the highlights from the Cardinals Monday minor league action, held on the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals had four squads facing the Marlins and enough extra pitching to have a sim game as well.

Despite Memphis featuring three pitchers from big-league camp – Miles Mikolas, Andrew Miller and Landon Beck, they did not fare well, as the 7-1 loss suggests. Springfield, on the other hand, led by Jack Flaherty, shut out their opponent, 2-0. Palm Beach dropped a 5-3 game while Peoria won, 5-2.

(Mikolas yielded five runs in 6 1/3 and Flaherty tossed six scoreless frames.)

If you are a subscriber to The Cardinal Nation, you can devour my in-person Monday camp report, to be posted late Monday evening, with far more information about the day’s proceedings.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another 18 players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.


Jacob Schlesener (St. Louis Cardinals)

Monday’s Pitcher of the DayJacob Schlesener, Peoria

The left-hander allowed just three baserunners in three innings and fanned six Marlins on Monday. Drafted out of high school in 2015, Schlesener has been unable to escape short-season ball in his first four professional seasons with a career ERA of 4.99, yet his potential continues to show through. Perhaps the 22-year old will be the prototypical late-blooming lefty.

Honorable mention goes to Springfield pitcher Anthony Shew, who fanned five in two scoreless innings following Flaherty.


Brady Whalen (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Monday’s Hitter of the DayBrady Whalen, Peoria

Like Schlesener, the first baseman was a prep draftee given extra bonus money after being drafted the early teen rounds to skip college and turn professional. Whalen was one year later, signing in 2016.

Also like Schlesener, Whalen has yet to make his full-season debut after logging a batting average of just .209 over his three Cardinals campaigns.

Whalen had a big Monday, reaching base in four of six plate appearances, including a single, two doubles and a walk. He plated three.

Honorable mention is given to Whalen’s teammate Victor Garcia. The outfielder had three singles in four at-bats, scored one, drove in one and was hit by a pitch.


Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.


New Orleans 7 at Memphis (2-2) 1

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
N/A
Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Adolis Garcia RF #16 2 1 1 1 1 Took Marlins #1 starter Jose Urena deep.
Ramon Urias 2B #33 2 1 1 Former Mexican Leaguer was added to the 40-man in Nov.

Springfield (2-2) 2, Jacksonville 0

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Anthony Shew 2 1 0 1 5 25 y/o dominated at PB, but posted a 4.50 ERA in 19 AA starts.
Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Stefan Trosclair 1/2B 1 1 1 2 Infielder carries a .354 career on-base percentage.
Chase Pinder DH/LF #49 2 1 1 1 1 Not much power, but a .388 career OBP is pretty special.

Jupiter 5 at Palm Beach (2-2) 3

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Jesus Cruz 1 0 0 0 2 Former Mexican League righty looks to be back into a relief role.
Alvaro Seijas #37 3 0 0 0 2 Spent all of 19 y/o season in Peoria rotation (4.52 ERA)
Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Brendan Donovan 2B 2 1 1 1 2018 7th rounder only played in 4 games at SC before injury.

Peoria (2-2) 5, Clinton 2

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Jacob Schlesener 3 2 0 1 6 Our Pitcher of the Day (see above).
Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Brady Whalen 1B 5 1 3 3 2 1 1 Our Player of the Day (see above)
Victor Garcia LF 4 3 1 Also HBP. Signed for $1.5 MM in July 2016.
Malcom Nunez 3B #10 3 1 1 1 1 2018 DSL Triple Crown winner within weeks of signing.

Wednesday’s games: After a day off Tuesday, Houston will be the Wednesday opponent. Memphis and Springfield will remain home at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, while Palm Beach and Peoria will travel to West Palm Beach. Games are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, but always watch the weather.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2018 Minor League Award Winners Recognized


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RHPs Meisinger and Hauschild are Cardinals Fourth Spring Cuts

photo: Mike Hauschild (Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement via Twitter


Ryan Meisinger (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Brian Walton’s take

With the major leaguers and minor leaguers all taking the day off Tuesday, I had expected a larger number of player cuts than two.

In this specific case, both are newcomers to the Cardinals this season with prior MLB experience. After being selected off waivers from Baltimore, Meisinger lost his 40-man roster spot and Hauschild was signed to a minor league deal. Being non-roster invitees increased the height of their joint spring mountain to climb.

Mike Hauschild (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Meisinger, 24, threw seven innings over eight games, allowing two runs on nine hits and a walk to go with seven strikeouts. While his ERA was just 2.53, opposing hitters batted a collective .310 against him.

Hauschild, 29, tossed 5 1/3 innings in five spring contests. He yielded four runs on four hits, including a home run, walked one and fanned two. His 6.75 ERA masks a solid .200 batting average against.

For both pitchers, the Memphis bullpen may be their next destination, as the Triple-A roster looks to be already loaded with prospects and the Double-A group looks pretty good, too.

Though the above Tweet from the team says 42 players remain in camp, I believe the total is 43, of which 33 are 40-man roster players and 10 are non-roster invitees. (The discrepancy could be the late addition of catcher Matt Wieters to the original invitee list of 64 threw off the team’s accounting.)


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2018 Minor League Award Winners Recognized


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Third Spring Cuts Claim Four

photo: Randy Arozarena (Reinhold Matay/Imagn)

Hunter Cervenka (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon (Saturday, March 16) that they have re-assigned four non-roster players to the team’s minor league camp, reducing the number of players in Major League Spring Training camp to 45, including 33 roster players.

The team today re-assigned left-handed pitcher Hunter Cervenka, catcher Jeremy Martinez, infielder Max Schrock and outfielder Randy Arozarena to minor league camp.


Max Schrock (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Brian Walton’s take

No surprises here as the quartet were clearly not in the mix to make St. Louis’ roster out of camp.

Of the Cardinals hitters with more than seven spring at-bats, Arozarena led the way with his .346 average (9-of-26). Eight strikeouts indicate his major work area, selectivity at the plate, but still, the Cuban native showed well in camp.

Jeremy Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

In his second Cardinals camp, Schrock remained healthy, unlike in 2018, but batted just .200 (9-of-45). He was given a long look, as that at-bat count was tied for tops on the team with another non-roster invitee, Rangel Ravelo.

Martinez was buried behind other backstops, going 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI this spring.

Former Major Leaguer Cervenka was ostensibly in the left-handed relief derby and did not pitch poorly. The 29-year old was charged with three runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings. He fanned seven, but walked four.

All except Martinez seem likely to start the regular season with Memphis. While Martinez may be ready, the number of more experienced catchers ahead of him limit his immediate ability for promotion.

With an off-day coming Tuesday, I would not be surprised if more significant cuts follow Monday’s game.


For more

To track the remaining players in camp, the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2018 Minor League Award Winners Recognized


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/15/19

photo: Zach Prendergast (Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)

Welcome to day two of our 11th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at The Cardinal Nation. Again this year, I am joined in these recaps by TCN analyst Derek Shore.

Following are the highlights from Friday minor league action, held on the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals had their second consecutive camp day, with Memphis taking on Springfield and Palm Beach and Peoria facing off.

Pitching was ahead of the hitting in the upper level game, but the bats had their way in the Class-A contest. In both cases, the higher-level clubs took the victories for the second day in a row, with Memphis shutting out Springfield, 3-0, and Palm Beach outscoring Peoria, 7-6.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira is sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another two dozen players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.


Zach Prendergast (Peoria Chiefs)

Friday’s Pitcher of the DayZach Prendergast, Springfield

None of our top 50 pitchers were among those who had highlights shared by the Cardinals on Friday. In fact, the only standout to go more than one inning is Prendergast, who tossed two scoreless frames, but danced around three baserunners. (Actually, there is only one top 50 member among Friday’s standout hitters, either.)

The contract of the now-23 year old was purchased by the Cardinals from Fargo-Moorhead of the independent American Association in July 2017. Prendergast immediately stepped into the Johnson City rotation and dominated in six starts. The former Seton Hall standout moved up to Peoria last season and logged a 3.08 ERA while both starting and relieving.

Honorable mention goes to Peoria reliever Ben Yokley, who fanned two of three in his perfect inning.


Brian Sanchez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Friday’s Hitter of the DayBrian Sanchez, Palm Beach

To be honest, it has been a long time since I have written about the outfielder. Sanchez utterly dominated the 2016 Dominican Summer League, placing first in home runs, RBI, slugging, extra base hits and total bases. He was 20 years old at the time, however, in a league with pitchers as young as 16.

Since then, Sanchez batted just .200 in the 2017 GCL and skidded to .173 last season with Johnson City. To suggest he is playing for his job this spring may not be an exaggeration. A 2-for-3 day that includes a double, home run and three RBI is just what the doctor ordered.

Honorable mention is given to middle infielder Josh Shaw, who went deep and plated two in his only at-bat for Peoria.


Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.


Memphis (2-0) 3 vs. Springfield (0-2) 0

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Thomas St. Clair 1 0 0 0 2 24 y/o RHR is 9-for-9 in save chances in two pro seasons.
Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Evan Mendoza 26 1 1 Third base prospect also played first in long look in MLB camp.

Springfield (0-2) 0 vs. Memphis (2-0) 3

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Zach Prendergast 2 2 0 1 1 Ex-indy ball arm has sharp 2.82 ERA between JC and Peo.
Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Brandon Riley RF 1 1 1 14th rounder from No. Carolina earned promo from JC to Peo.

Palm Beach (2-0) 7 vs. Peoria (0-2) 6

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Perra Dellavalle 1 2 0 0 2 Named TCN Rookie Starter of 2018 after 1.97 ERA in GCL.
Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Carlos Soto C 2 1 1 1 19 y/o drove in 33 in 40 games between GCL and JC last season.
Brian Sanchez DH 3 1 2 3 1 1 Has been quiet since winning DSL Player of the Year in 2016.

Peoria (0-2) 6 vs. Palm Beach (2-0) 7

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Freddy Pacheco 1 0 0 1 1 1.05 ERA / .139 BAA in rookie year between DSL and GCL.
Ben Yokley 1 0 0 0 2 Sat out 2016 and 2017 due to Air Force commitment.
Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Josh Shaw SS 1 1 1 2 1 19th rounder last June from St. John’s plated 30 in 46 GCL games.

Friday’s games: The first games against external competition will be held against the Nationals on Saturday. Memphis and Springfield will ride the bus to West Palm Beach while Palm Beach and Peoria remain home. Games are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. ET, but always watch the weather.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles here at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Early 2019 Cardinals Minor League Roster Analysis


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook – 03/14/19

photo: Genesis Cabrera (Springfield Cardinals)

Welcome back to our 11th year of providing results and much more from St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training games here at The Cardinal Nation. Again this year, I am joined in these recaps by TCN analyst Derek Shore.

Following are the highlights from the Cardinals first minor league action of 2019, held on Thursday on the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Florida. The Cardinals had a camp day, with Memphis taking on Springfield and Palm Beach and Peoria facing off.

In a day when pitching led the way, but three long balls were hit as well, the Cardinals’ upper-level clubs in each contest took the victories, with Memphis doubling up on Springfield, 4-2 and Palm Beach shutting out Peoria, 3-0.

Once again this spring, Cardinals Administrator of Minor League Operations Tony Ferreira will be sharing highlights from minor league spring training contests.

The raw data is his, but the comments and awards are mine. However, be aware that only minimal pitching and hitting results are being shared – what you see here. So to find those struggling, you will have to look for names missing or make some guesses.

Remember these working team assignments are fluid by the day. In addition, another two dozen players have yet to be cut from Major League camp. (Roster details here.)

When players are members of The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospect List for 2019, their rankings are noted.


Genesis Cabrera (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Thursday’s Pitcher of the Day – Genesis Cabrera, Memphis

The strong off-season performance by the 22-year old lefty, culminating in the Dominican Winter League Rookie of the Year honors, elevated the already-high expectations coming into Cabrera’s first big-league camp with St. Louis.

While he did not excel, Cabrera still has considerable talent and will refine his offerings in Memphis to start the season. The only question is whether he remains a starter or reliever. His maximum value remains as the former, but more work is required. Cabrera’s spotless two-inning outing Thursday suggests he could be getting stretched out.

Honorable mention goes to Palm Beach’s Alvaro Seijas, who allowed just one baserunner in his two clean frames.


Kevin Woodall (Bret Jacomet photo)

Thursday’s Hitter of the DayKevin Woodall, Palm Beach

St. Louis’ 10th rounder in 2018 from Coastal Carolina joined first rounder Nolan Gorman and Leandro Cedeño for a strong 1-2-3 punch in the middle of the Johnson City lineup last summer. Only the latter remained after Gorman skipped over State College, the level to which Woodall was promoted.

Playing at both first and corner outfield, the 22-year old struggled in his final 18 games of his rookie year with the Spikes. The right-handed hitter’s OPS plummeted from .984 at JC to just .541 at SC. Woodall’s first full-season as a professional began well, with his Thursday home run plating a pair.

Honorable mentions go to Elehuris Montero and Stefan Trosclair, who joined Woodall in each putting a baseball over the fences.


Get the entire picture! The Cardinal Nation members can check out the full list of minor league spring training attendees and minor league spring training game schedules.

The full system view by level and position as last season ended with every transaction all year long is available via the Roster Matrix, always free, right here at The Cardinal Nation.


Memphis (1-0) 4 vs. Springfield (0-1) 2

Memphis pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Genesis Cabrera #11 2 0 0 0 4 Lefty had a rough StL camp, but loads of talent.
Memphis hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Elehuris Montero 3B #4 2 1 1 1 1 Midwest League MVP went deep 15 times for Peoria in 2018.
Lane Thomas OF #9 2 1 1 1 1 Only got into 5 games for StL this spring due to side injury.

Springfield (0-1) 2 vs. Memphis (1-0) 4

Springfield pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Austin Warner 2 2 1 1 4 Stepped up two levels in 2018, finishing in Memphis rotation.
Harold Arauz 2 1 1 0 3 Free agent signee starred for Panama in Caribbean Series.
Springfield hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Stefan Trosclair 1B 2 1 1 1 1 Only 32 career HR in 1087 PA, but stellar .354 OBP.

Palm Beach (1-0) 3 vs. Peoria (0-1) 0

Palm Beach pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Alvaro Seijas #37 2 0 0 1 3 Spent all of 2018 in Peoria rotation at the age of 19.
Jesus Cruz 1 0 0 0 2 Was effective both starting and relieving at PB/Peo in 2018.
Palm Beach hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Kevin Woodall 1B 1 1 1 1 1 10th rounder in 2018 socked 9 HR at JC, but struggled at SC.
Wood Myers 2B 2 0 2 1 Like Woodall, a Coastal Carolina product (29th round, 2017)

Peoria (0-1) 0 vs. Palm Beach (1-0) 3

Peoria pitching TCN IP H ER BB K Notes
Angel Rondon HM 1 1 0 1 1 One of my sleeper picks after 2.90 ERA in 7 starts with Peo.
Peoria hitting Pos TCN AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR SB BB K Notes
Leandro Cedeno 1B #32 1 1 1 Top 5 in Appy League in hits, HR, RBI and OPS in 2018.

Friday’s games: It will be a repeat of Thursday, with two camp games to be played at the George Kissell Quad in Jupiter, Fields 2-5, starting at 1:00 p.m. ET. The first games against external competition will be vs. the Nationals on Saturday.

Check back here each evening for these reports for the remainder of minor league camp! While you are here, check out the other articles at The Cardinal Nation. You will be glad you did!


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Early 2019 Cardinals Minor League Roster Analysis


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Risks in Optimizing the Roster for Opening Day

photo: John Gant (Kim Klement/Imagn)

Columnists and fans alike critical of the St. Louis Cardinals front office are calling for the team to roster its best 25 players on Opening Day, without regard to contracts, service time, options and other complicating factors not directly related to results on the field.

On the surface, how can anyone argue with that logic? Yet, in reality, nothing is that simple.

Personally, I find generic discussions very unsatisfying. They are good to rile folks up, but it takes another level of thought to evaluate and assemble the many individual decisions behind building a roster into one coherent plan.

From the get-go, how could the “best 25” players be determined in such a way that everyone would agree? By definition, this task is impossible.

But, let’s put that aside this very real show-stopper and get into details.

As in most things in life, a balance must be struck. In this case, it is between the short term (Opening Day) and the longer term (the entire season). Making what may appear to be optimal decisions for Opening Day can compromise depth later.

Is it worth making every possible attempt to secure more wins in April if it could lead to more losses in May, for example? If there was a magic formula that could optimize all variables to define the best roster moves to win the most games over the entire six-month season, it would provide the ideal answer. In the real world, however, it is just one opinion vs. another vs. another. Some are far more informed and enlightened than others.

One thing I am convinced of is that far, far too much is made of the initial roster, when we all know it will change almost immediately. For example, even if the bullpen numbers just seven on Opening Day, leaving a five-man bench, the relief corps will likely expand to eight once the early open days on the April calendar are past.

Before the first week of the 2018 schedule was completed, two of the seemingly-healthy members of the 25-man Opening Day roster were placed on the disabled list. Over the course of the 162 games, 49 players appeared with St. Louis. Circumstances not under anyone’s control will preclude any team from having its best players active all the time, making depth crucial over a six-month season.

Let’s be even more specific and name names currently prominent in social media and forum discussions.

Chasen Shreve (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Exposing pitchers John Gant, Mike Mayers or Chasen Shreve to waivers (from where they would almost certainly be claimed) just because they are out of minor league options might enable the Cards to put some folks’ view of the “best 25” on the roster day one. But then on day two, when injuries strike, the fill-ins will be less proven and likely of lesser quality.

Same with another popular fan proposal – trading Jedd Gyorko to ensure there is room for both Yairo Muñoz and Tyler O’Neill. Then, when Matt Carpenter goes down the next week, you immediately wish you had a third baseman as dependable and proven as Gyorko. Just as fast, the critics’ cry will change on a dime – pointing out how short-sighted the front office was in trading away important depth.

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

How about the thought of parting ways with disappointing relievers Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson? It seems likely the duo will open the season on the injured list, anyway. Anyone who wants to see Dexter Fowler released is guilty of premature reaction.

Adam Wainwright may or may not be one of the best five starters, but what would the Cardinals do with him instead? To date, the veteran has not pitched himself out of the rotation, but if he does, a proven replacement on the ready would be ideal – like Gant, for example.

Being forceful while being purposely vague about opening with the “best 25” may look quite tasty, but lacks the substance to be satisfying. It leaves the reader/listener open to interpret the specific moves needed to actually make it happen, about which there would never be full agreement. Others do not bother, accepting the rallying cry at face value without thinking through the varied implications.

I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I do believe the people who run the team take the time to thoroughly evaluate the choices, including trying to manage this short-term vs. longer-term balancing act.

Second-guessing is a natural expression for all of us, but in doing so, we also need to mindful that we don’t have all the information and certainly don’t have any stake in the decisions on the table. Suggesting the Cardinals are not trying to win just because they don’t make every transaction each one of us may want is unreasonable and unrealistic.

And the bottom line, proven time and time again, is that whatever roster is set for March 28 will almost certainly change in days, if not hours. But if players are claimed off waivers, traded or released, they will be gone forever.

As the old line says, the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Early 2019 Cardinals Minor League Roster Analysis


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Annual members may purchase the new 2019 Prospect Guide PDF for less than half price. In addition, out limited edition printed and bound Guides are going fast, so get yours today!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Looking Beyond the Flaherty and Hicks Contract Renewals

photo: Jack Flaherty (Kim Klement/Imagn)

Fan reaction to the Saturday announcement that the contracts of St. Louis Cardinals one-year players Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks were renewed for 2019 has been mixed.

Cardinals Agree to Terms with 20 Pre-Arbitration Players

Several posters at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum used this as an opportunity to criticize the team’s front office, suggesting the move will “come back to bite them in the rear” later.

I see the two players making a point about a system that they feel does not pay young players adequately. The Cardinals were not about to break ranks with the rest of Major League Baseball and pay them significantly above scale when their peers are getting close to the defined MLB minimum salary, as collectively bargained by players and ownership.

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Still, the Cardinals’ decision to dock Flaherty $10,000 for not agreeing to terms was a curious one. I suspect this is an attempt to send a signal to try to discourage such behavior in the future, but the negative implications seem to outweigh the positive ones. If anything, it could strengthen player resolve in a period of unsettled labor relations, not diminish it.

Flaherty and Hicks are not alone. Other young MLB stars, including reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell of Tampa Bay and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, also spoke out about the matter as their contracts were renewed this week.

While it is clear that the existing system holds down salaries of less-experienced players, it is not going to change until the next collective bargaining agreement between players and owners, which will take effect in 2022. Any potential ramifications from what happened in 2019 may be ancient history by then.

Looking ahead, here is an approximate time line relative to the two Cardinals:

  • Spring 2019: Flaherty and Hicks have one year of service. Team sets salary.
  • Spring 2020: Flaherty and Hicks have two years of service. Team sets salary.
  • Spring 2021: Flaherty and Hicks have three years of service and become arbitration eligible for the first time.
  • December 2021: The current CBA expires.
  • Spring 2022: Flaherty and Hicks have four years of service, but under a new set of rules to be determined.
  • Fall 2023: Flaherty and Hicks would become eligible for free agency under the current system.

Do the renewals have near-term implications?

Another poster questioned whether players whose contracts were renewed by the Cardinals are more likely to have arbitration hearings later. This was based on a view I stated in my initial article that I would not be surprised if Flaherty and Hicks go to hearings when they become eligible.

My take is that I am not really concerned one way or the other. So what if the players and the team go to arbitration in two years? The process is designed to ensure the players receive fair value at that point of their career – at three years of experience and beyond.

In reality, the Cardinals have had only one hearing in the last 20 or so years, Michael Wacha two years ago. That part of the current system seems to work as intended. Yet, that does not mean changes are not coming.

As I noted in my original article when this year’s renewals were announced, outfielder Tommy Pham did not agree to terms with the Cardinals last spring and he did go on to take his new club, the Tampa Bay Rays, to hearing this year. Then again, that was expected because Pham has long stated a view that he is underpaid relative to his abilities.

While some fans, as noted above, consider the decision by Flaherty and Hicks as a perceived example of cheap ownership, others feel the players are ungrateful, especially given their limited MLB track record at this point.

When all is said and done, the stance taken by Flaherty and Hicks seems little more a symbolic protest, albeit one that was likely applauded by their Union, the Major League Baseball Players Association, led by former player Tony Clark.

Yet, it may also serve as a signal toward the future. Because of the shifting and unsettled relations between players and teams, I don’t think looking back at past behavior will be a great predictor of what lies ahead. Just because the Cardinals have been relatively hearing-free does not mean that will continue.

In fact, even before the next agreement comes, this bubbling unrest could lead to small, but noticeable changes.


More arbitration hearings ahead?

I wonder (not looking backward, but looking forward) if the increased unhappiness about pre-arbitration salaries will lead to greater disagreement between players and teams on arbitration salary expectations.

In recent years, some teams including the Cardinals, have taken a hard stance that if the two sides do not come to terms before amounts are formally exchanged and the hearing date is set, they will proceed to the arbitration hearing. The generic label for this approach is “File and Trial”. So in this case, it could really be the team taking the player to hearing, though it may be represented in the press as the player doing so.

No matter who is the driver, players seem to be faring pretty well in the arbitration process. While most come to terms early, players won six of 10 arbitration hearings this spring, including the top three salaries secured by players in this group. Trevor Bauer, Gerrit Cole and Alex Wood all won their hearings, awarded almost $36 million for this season among them, according to data tracked by MLB Trade Rumors. For the trio, the total gaps between the two sides coming in was approximately $5 million.

That success may embolden the best eligible players to push harder for increased compensation next year and the year after.

If I had to guess where matters will be in two springs from now – the last before the new agreement – I would think players will continue to push the envelope where they can. Arbitration is one such area, so hearings could increase.


Candidates for future arbitration hearings or more

Jordan Hicks (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Specifically, my prediction is that Flaherty and Hicks will be either locked up in long term deals before then or they may prove to be tougher to sign for the 2021 season, when initially eligible for arbitration. I think given all that is going on around the game could increase their chances of going to hearing at that time.

It is worth noting an increased trend across MLB of players who are either just approaching arbitration or already in it signing multi-year contracts before reaching free agency. This is an approach the Cardinals have followed for select players for a number of years. Whether Flaherty and Hicks will eventually become a part of this remains to be seen, however.

Trying to guess what will happen beyond 2021 is futile, because the rules starting in 2022 are yet to be determined. As a result, there is no way to predict what stance the two may take at that point and beyond.

Yet the timing of where these players are in their careers suggest they could end up in the midst of major change across all of MLB.

For example, if free agency is negotiated to be granted prior to six years, Flaherty and Hicks could be among the first or second wave of players to take advantage.

So, while for this year and next, at least, the disagreement is mostly for show, the final chapter of this story is yet to be written.


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