photo: Randy Arozarena (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)
On the morning of Game 1 of their National League Division Series in Atlanta, the NL Central Division-winning St. Louis Cardinals disclosed their 25-man roster.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 3, 2019
On Wednesday, manager Mike Shildt had disclosed several related usage decisions.
- Coming back from his hamstring injury, Kolten Wong will be starting in Game 1.
- Jack Flaherty will be the Game 2 starting pitcher, following Miles Mikolas in Game 1.
- Dakota Hudson will be available out of the pen for both games in Atlanta and will start later in the series (likely Game 4 (if needed) after Adam Wainwright in Game 3).
The above roster includes 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
Key considerations – Pitchers
Injured Michael Wacha, second half-ineffective John Gant and inconsistent rookie Junior Fernandez were among those left off, along with veterans Mike Mayers and Dominic Leone, neither of whom were expected to be active in the NLDS.
Instead, rarely-used Daniel Ponce de Leon will apparently be the second long man out of the pen (behind Hudson in Games 1-2). with rookie Genesis Cabrera also making the roster. Given Andrew Miller’s late-season shakiness, having a third left-handed reliever may prove to be a prudent decision.
Key considerations – Position players
Another rookie, Randy Arozarena, made the roster as a reserve outfielder ahead of power-hitting Tyler O’Neill. As expected, the Cardinals are going with two catchers, with first-year backstop Andrew Knizner inactive in the LDS.
Other minor league additions for September to not make the Division Series roster are catcher Joe Hudson, and infielders Edmundo Sosa and Rangel Ravelo.
An open question to be answered later on Thursday is which player sits with Wong’s return to second base. The primary options would seem to be third baseman Matt Carpenter or center fielder Harrison Bader.
I expect it will be the latter, with Tommy Edman moving from second to right field and Dexter Fowler shifting from right to center. In this scenario, Bader would become a late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement. Otherwise, Edman would start at third over Carpenter.
Prior to Wacha’s shoulder injury, I made my annual NLDS roster predictions for TCN members and got 22 of 25 correct. My misses were Ponce de Leon, Cabrera and Arozarena, with Wacha, Gant and Fernandez having been predicted, instead.
Based on what we know today, I think the Cardinals made the best decisions, but the games themselves will tell us much more.
To track the Cardinals’ 25- and 40-man rosters 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
If you enjoyed this article and you want to unlock more, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals through the entire minor league system.
© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.