photo: Dylan Carlson (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)
As the St. Louis Cardinals look to resume play this weekend in Chicago, reinforcements are on the way after the club has lost a total of 10 players and eight staff members to COVID-19. That includes four players this week.
And they will also be bringing a highly anticipated prospect along with them.
Top prospect Dylan Carlson headlines a slew of players joining the Cardinals this weekend, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said Thursday in a Zoom call with the St. Louis media.
“I would imagine he’s going to play, just like I stated all along,” Mozeliak said.
Seth Elledge, John Nogowski, Ricardo Sanchez and Rob Kaminsky will also be joining St. Louis. The club is slated to resume play with a doubleheader on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.
Sanchez will be the 29th man for the twin bill.
Mozeliak said lefty Austin Gomber will be placed on the COVID IL. He has not tested positive but was identified at risk by contact tracing.
As for coaches, Mozeliak said Jose Oquendo “will likely” serve as the third-base coach. He had been running the Cardinals alternate site camp in Springfield.
Johnson City manager Roberto Espinoza will also be promoted to the big-league staff, according to Mozeliak.
It has already been reported catcher Pedro Pages has been added to the Cardinals satellite camp. Middle infielder Kramer Robertson and reliever Bryan Dobzanski will join him at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO.
All three have cleared intake testing.
Mozeliak said two new coaches will be added at Springfield, but they won’t be official until they clear input testing.
Deeper dive into the Cardinals reinforcements
Three of the five reinforcements are ranked in The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 Prospects with Carlson at No. 1, Elledge at No. 34 and Nogowski at No. 46.
Carlson, 21, is the latest in the line of young, ascending outfielders the Cardinals haven’t seen since the late Oscar Taveras. He is already in the 60-man player pool but now required a 40-man roster spot.
Now that he is getting the call, he won’t be able to accrue a full year of service time, so he can’t qualify for free agency before 2027. Potential early arbitration as a Super Two is possible, though.
But with outfielders out with the coronavirus and a need for an offensive spark, there is an opportunity for regular playing time and a need for some upside.
Carlson ranks as Baseball America’s No. 10 prospect in all of baseball. The switch-hitter slashed .292/.372/.542 with 26 home runs and 68 RBI in 126 games last season between Triple-A Memphis and Double-A Springfield.
Elledge, 24, was acquired in the Sam Tuivailala Seattle trade two summers ago. He is also being added to the 40-man.
The right-hander split the 2019 campaign between Memphis and Springfield, compiling a 4.26 ERA combined ERA in 47 games. He struck out 75 batters in 67 2/3 innings.
Elledge’s high-spin fastball sits 91-93 mph and he has shown the ability to ramp up his heater in the mid-90s. He backs that up with a hard, downer curveball in the low 80s that flashes average, according to BA.
As he is set to make his major-league debut, Nogowski’s career has nearly come full-circle. From being released by Oakland in 2017 to playing independent baseball, the first baseman has had an improbable path to the big-leagues.
Nogowski put together a career-year in 2019, slashing .295/.413/.476 through 117 games at Memphis. The 27-year-old set personal highs in hits (112), doubles (22), home runs (15) and RBI (75).
He walked (69) more than he struck out (54) for the fourth time in his professional career.
Nogowkski’s is a slick defender at first base. In fact, BA rated him as the best defensive first baseman in the Pacific Coast League last year.
Sanchez, 23, is not ranked by TCN but MLB Pipeline has him at No. 30 in their rankings. He is already on the Cardinals 40-man.
The lefty was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals this past offseason after being designated for assignment by Seattle. Sanchez has three usable pitches — fastball up to 94 mph, a breaking ball and a deceptive changeup.
Scouts say he has the upside of a back-end starter if everything clicks, but he profiles more as a long reliever.
Kaminsky, 25, is another who has come full circle. He was part of the Brandon Moss trade to Cleveland in 2015, but struggled with injuries for most of his career with the Indians. The lefty reached the Tribe’s Triple-A affiliate for the first time in 2019 before he became a minor league free agent this past offseason.
And reunited with the Cardinals in December — the organization that drafted him as a first-rounder in 2013. He was not on the 40-man until now.
Kaminsky throws a spike curveball and an above-average fastball. He also worked on a changeup to right-handed batters in spring training.
Satellite camp additions
Robertson and Dobzanski were both ranked in TCN’s Top 50 this winter. The former was rated at No. 46 while the latter came in at No. 50.
They are the newest additions to the Cardinals’ alternate camp.
Robertson, 25, hit .231/.360/.365 in 123 games between Springfield and High-A Palm Beach last year.
Dobzanski, 24, posted a 2.84 ERA over 46 games across three levels in 2019.
They are joined by Pages, who was profiled earlier.
Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation
To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 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.
Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).
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