St. Louis Finalizes Regular Season Roster at 35

photo: Giovanny Gallegos (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Gallegos final call-up

Giovanny Gallegos (Memphis Redbirds)

Apparently, the St. Louis Cardinals have decided that 35 active players, including 18 pitchers, is enough to finish the 2018 regular season. With the Memphis Redbirds’ season concluded, the Cardinals have promoted one final player, right-handed relief pitcher Giovanny Gallegos.

The 27-year old, standing 6-foot-2, and weighing 210 pounds, was acquired from the New York Yankees in the Luke Voit trade on July 28. First signed by the Yanks in 2011, the native of Mexico had brief stints in the Bronx in both last season and this. The fastball-changeup-curveball artist has a career Triple-A strikeout rate of 12.1 per nine innings.

With Memphis, Gallegos allowed just one earned run in 16 1/3 innings over 13 regular season outings. He yielded just seven hits, three walks and fanned 16.

In the post-season, Gallegos was busy, pitching five times, including more than one inning on three occasions and once on back-to-back days. He yielded one run in each of his two appearances against Oklahoma City before tossing 4 2/3 scoreless frames at Fresno and Durham on just two hits and a walk.

Gallegos was already on St. Louis’ 40-man roster.

Those not promoted

The five players on the 40-man not promoted to St. Louis are:

  • Infielder Edmundo Sosa – Memphis
  • Reliever Conner Greene – Memphis
  • Reliever Matt Bowman – Memphis DL
  • Reliever Derian Gonzalez – Springfield DL
  • Outfielder Justin Williams – Memphis
Genesis Cabrera (Springfield Cardinals)

With a need for left-handed help in St. Louis bullpen, there was some buzz around Genesis Cabrera potentially being promoted to St. Louis as well. That is apparently not occurring.

The 21-year old joined the organization in the July 31 trade with Tampa Bay for Tommy Pham and is exciting, but unfinished. At the end of Springfield’s season, where he was in the rotation, the Cardinals moved Cabrera up to Memphis. There, he pitched out of the bullpen in the playoffs.

In the Memphis appearance I saw, Cabrera flashed his upper-90’s heat, but did not consistently throw strikes and almost completely relied upon his fastball.

In five appearances for Memphis, totaling eight innings, Cabrera yielded just one run on four hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts.

Matt Bowman (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Though Cabrera must be added to the 40-man roster this fall to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft (and he almost assuredly will), the Cardinals apparently decided not to jettison one of the five players above from the 40-man at this time to make room.

Bowman, whose effectiveness had dropped off significantly this season, appeared to be on the roster bubble. However, those who thought the solution was for the Cardinals to move Bowman to the 60-day DL to open a spot for Cabrera, be advised it is not allowed to place a player who is already on a minor league DL on a major league one, too.

Whether the Wednesday timing of the following tweet by Bowman was coincidental or was a preemptive strike to reinforce the hold on his spot, it seems clear that his recent physical problems were more severe than the finger blisters initially reported.

At this point, it appears Bowman will be back in the spring of 2019 to try to regain his spot on St. Louis’ 25-man active roster.

This same 40-man roster crunch is what blocked other Memphis contributors such as Edward Mujica, Tommy Layne and Alex Mejia from getting a late-September look (or re-look in two cases) in St. Louis.

Auditing my annual September promotion predictions

Whether the results are good or bad, I always return to my predictions afterward to see how they turned out. In late August, I posted the following article for members of The Cardinal Nation.

St. Louis Cardinals September Call-Up Predictions – 2018

For those who cannot read it, I explained why I thought the Cardinals would add seven minor leaguers from Memphis on a staggered basis during September.

  • Pitchers: Daniel Poncedeleon, Tyler Webb, John Brebbia, Giovanny Gallegos
  • Catcher: Carson Kelly
  • Infielder: Patrick Wisdom
  • Outfielder: Adolis Garcia

For the first time – at least that I can recall – I batted a perfect 1.000 on my call-up predictions! All seven have been brought up to St. Louis, and no others were.

The moves actually began prior to September 1 due to Cardinals injuries, with Wisdom the first on August 28 and Garcia the next day, through Gallegos on September 21.

I also correctly predicted that St. Louis’ active roster would increase to a total of 35 players, following the activation of a number of injured major leaguers. (The only change there was Mike Mayers making it back and Michael Wacha being shut down.)

September-activated MLB players from the disabled lists included Kolten Wong, Adam Wainwright, Mayers and Jedd Gyorko.

What is next

While my title of this article says “finalized roster”, a key injury over the final 10 days, such as to a catcher, could lead to a very late change. However, this is most likely it.

So, my attention will shift to trying to determine which 25 of these 35 players will be active if the Cardinals continue play into October. Some difficult decisions appear to be just ahead.

For more

Follow all moves and team rosters via the ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES menu in the left column as well as on the Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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