photo: Johan Oviedo (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports)
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced following this evening’s game (Thursday, March 25) that they have optioned or re-assigned eight players, reducing the number of players in Major League camp to 36.
The team optioned pitcher Johan Oviedo and re-assigned pitchers Jesũs Cruz, Evan Kruczynski, Matthew Liberatore, Zack Thompson and Tommy Parsons, infielder Nolan Gorman and outfielder Matt Szczur.
Brian Walton’s take
With just three Grapefruit League games remaining following Friday’s camp day, the Cardinals took the opportunity to make their third cuts of the spring. None were surprising, as they were not true contenders to make the team out of spring training.
Of the six pitchers cut, only Cruz is a reliever. As the regulars pitch more often and/or more innings as camp concludes, these players’ opportunities to get game action dried up.
All eight should compete for spots on the Memphis roster to open the regular season in May. Oviedo could be recalled sooner depending on need.
The 36 remaining in big-league camp include three players expected to open the season on the injured list – pitchers Miles Mikolas and Kwang-Hyun Kim and outfielder Harrison Bader, leaving seven more cuts just ahead.
There are now 30 players in the Jupiter B Camp.
The 23-year old was surprisingly very scarcely used this spring, throwing just two innings way back on March 10. Oviedo yielded a run on two hits, a hit batter, walked none and fanned three. Perhaps the right-hander was slowed by an unreported minor injury.
With a coveted 40-man roster spot, The Cardinal Nation’s ninth-ranked prospect for 2021 should be back with St. Louis before too many weeks pass.
The burly 25-year old was often called upon to get ready in a hurry, coming in more than once to complete an inning for a starter who had exhausted his 25 pitches. Cruz was very effective in his six Grapefruit League games, yielding no hits, a hit batter, a walk and two strikeouts in three scoreless frames.
Though he was removed from the 40-man roster last summer, Cruz could earn his way back into the St. Louis pen for a longer trial later in the season.
The 25-year old lefty had a nice spring, allowing one earned run over four appearances totaling 2 2/3 frames. This included a one-batter strikeout outing Thursday night. Overall, The Cardinal Nation’s 46th-ranked prospect gave up just two hits, walked no one and struck out a pair.
The organization’s top pitching prospect did not disappoint in four appearances totaling six innings. Liberatore yielded two runs, one earned, on three hits while fanning five, The 21-year old lefty’s only blemish was six free passes issued. On the positive side, he walked just one over his final two spring outings. Liberatore is TCN’s number three prospect.
The system’s number five prospect had an uneven camp. Thompson was charged with three runs in 4 2/3 innings on four hits and four walks. The 23-year old collected seven K’s. Thompson’s final outing, an inning on March 18, was the only scoreless appearance of his three.
The former Division III free agent signing was one of the surprises of camp. In nine innings over six appearances, Parsons yielded three runs, two earned, on five hits, two walks, two hit batters and seven strikeouts. The 25-year old is TCN’s number 32 prospect for 2021.
One of baseball’s top hitting prospects went 4-for-23 this spring (.174), with two of the hits going for doubles. Gorman, 20, drove in four, walked once and fanned seven times. He played both second and third base in games. Gorman is TCN’s no. 2 overall prospect.
The former Chicago Cub’s chances of making the team were compromised by a quad injury earlier in camp, as well as competing against a relatively large number of outfield candidates vying for at-bats. This spring, Szczur had one single, no walks and a pair of strikeouts in nine plate appearances.
Update: Shew retires
Right-handed pitcher Anthony Shew was placed on the voluntarily retired list on March 15, per MiLB.com.
The 28-year old was scheduled to report to minor league camp next week after not being invited to 2021 big league spring training.
Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2016, Shew first reached Double-A in 2018, and was our Springfield Starting Pitcher of the Year after he earned Florida State League All-Star honors that season. He split his time between the Springfield and Memphis rotations in 2019, but did not see action in 2020.
Overall, the Oregon native posted a 19-17 record with a 4.02 ERA in 72 career games, including 54 starts.
To track 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.
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