photo: Johan Oviedo (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)
On Sunday, June 28, the 30 Major League Baseball teams were required to submit their pool of eligible players for the 2020 season. While some organizations disclosed all 60 players to be allowed this season, the St. Louis Cardinals only announced the 44 invited to big-league camp 2.0, a group the team is calling the “2020 Busch Stadium Summer Camp Roster”.
The following 44 players have been invited to participate in the Busch Stadium Summer Camp.
We will make a future announcement regarding additional players in our 60-player pool. pic.twitter.com/mSqbhxyHxi
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 28, 2020
From this contingent of 44, who will report by July 3, the club will have just three weeks to select the 30 players who will make up the Opening Day roster on July 23 or 24. The remaining 14 (barring injury) to be cut from camp will head to Springfield, MO, the team’s designated alternate training site.
The 14 will be joined by 16 others yet to be announced by the Cardinals. The later group, to arrive in Springfield by July 14, will include some prospects further from the majors, for whom the organization will want to get structured workouts this summer.
The entire Springfield “alternate training site” group will serve as potential reserves for St. Louis during the two-month regular season. However, regular roster rules apply, most importantly being that anyone called up to St. Louis must first be a member of the 40-man roster.
37 of 39 of the team’s active 40-man roster players are invited to St. Louis. The two excluded are pitcher Alvaro Seijas and third baseman Elehuris Montero. 60-day injured list pitcher John Brebbia, who is out for the season, is exempted.
Seijas, who has yet to pitch above High-A Palm Beach, and Montero, who missed most of 2019 at Springfield due to a hand injury, certainly could be among the 16 assigned to the alternate training site in Springfield. Since they will use one year of their three allowed minor league options in 2020 either way, my guess is that the organization will not want either to lose a year of development.
The addition of seven non-roster invitees (NRIs) bring the team to their self-defined total of 44. The NRIs are pitchers Johan Oviedo and Kodi Whitley, catchers Jose Godoy and Ivan Herrera, infielders John Nogowski and Max Schrock, and outfielder Dylan Carlson.
Of the seven, no. 1 prospect Carlson may have the best chance to crack the Opening Day 30, but that may not occur. Last week, John Mozeliak, the team’s president of baseball operations, reaffirmed the intent to give incumbents Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas their chances in the St. Louis outfield. Further, by Carlson spending roughly a week in the minors, the Cardinals would be able to control his rights a year longer prior to free agency.
While the Summer Camp roster consists of a balanced 22 pitchers and 22 position players, the club is expected to open the season with an imbalance of the initial 30 in favor of extra pitching. This reflects the compressed training camp and fast ramp up being expected to put more pressure on pitchers.
Of the 44, 13 are members of The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 Prospect List, including six of the seven NRIs, only excepting Godoy, Among the organization’s top prospects in Summer Camp already on the 40-man roster are pitchers Genesis Cabrera, Junior Fernandez and Jake Woodford, catcher Andrew Knizner, infielders Rangel Ravelo and Edmundo Sosa and outfielder Justin Williams.
See the full prospect list here.
Several days ago, I shared with members of The Cardinal Nation my predictions for the 44 Summer Camp players (as well as the 16 for Springfield). I was correct on 40 of the 44 announced. The other four heading to St. Louis, I had among the 16 for Springfield, instead. Three of my four misses are among the non-roster invitees.
My misses: Oviedo, Herrera, Schrock and 40-man left-handed pitcher Ricardo Sanchez.
The four I predicted would be among the 44, but are not, include three relievers and an infielder. All would have been non-roster invitees – Jesus Cruz, Bryan Dobzanski and lefty Rob Kaminsky along with infielder Evan Mendoza. They are among candidates to be a part of the group assigned to Springfield, along with top prospects such as pitchers Zack Thompson and Matthew Liberatore and third baseman Nolan Gorman.
Footnote: For those worried about a particular prospect not being included among the 44, don’t be – unless he is not among the 16 yet to be announced for the alternate training site. Most of these prospects, whether with St. Louis for a time in camp or not, are going to end up in Springfield, anyway. Having said that, the non-roster invitees to Summer Camp should bear extra attention as potential contributors with St. Louis later.
Why two announcements vs. one?
On KMOX Radio on Sunday morning, prior to the release, Mozeliak explained why he split his roster announcement into two groups.
“I am going to submit a roster of roughly 44 today,” he said. “I am not going to fill the 60. I want to make sure that the 44 that we submit that are coming into St. Louis all pass their COVID (tests). Because once you have someone on that list of 60, they are part of it. In other words, the only way you can start interchanging is if you start releasing (players).”
“So I want to make sure the 44 – which are really going to make up the guys that you most think you’d likely use during the 60-game season – that if they all clear, then what I will likely do is add a little more depth for major league protection.”
To reflect the Summer Camp roster and 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.
The Matrix was refreshed Sunday evening.
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