The ex-Cardinals range in age from 20 to 27 and stretch from the lowest level of play in the US, the Gulf Coast League, to the highest, the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Ten of the released players were drafted between 2005 and 2009 while the other four were products of the Latin American academies.
|Yorbel Alcala||C||2006||NDFA||20||Gulf Coast|
|Moises Colorado||LHP||2007||NDFA||20||Gulf Coast|
|Anthony Fonseca||OF||2007||NDFA||21||Gulf Coast|
|Alberto Rivero||OF||2007||NDFA||21||Gulf Coast|
|Chris Notti||RHP||2008||36th||22||Quad Cities|
|Rich Racobaldo||IF/OF||2009||37th||25||Palm Beach|
At the age of 27, Trey Hearne is the dean of this group by a considerable margin. Taken in the 2005 draft from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the right-hander began with New Jersey that summer, then moved up to Quad Cities in 2006 and Palm Beach in 2007. Hearne's career took a sidestep when he was assigned to the Mexican League in 2008, where he earned an All-Star berth. As recently as last summer, Hearne was the Pitcher of the Month in 2009 and became a Texas League Post-season All-Star with Springfield. Injuries derailed much of Hearne's 2010. He was returned to Double-A and could not repeat his 2009 success.
As noted in the lead photo caption, Jon Edwards was once a highly-touted outfielder with a cannon for an arm and a big-league physique. Receiving a $110,000 bonus after having been drafted as a high schooler in 2006, Edwards fell from #15 to #25 to #32 to out of our top 40 Cardinals prospect list over successive winters. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder was never able to master hitting in full-season ball with failed attempts to stick with Quad Cities in three successive seasons.
LaCurtis Mayes was one of the last draft-and-follow players, signed in May 2007 after having been drafted out of a California Juco the previous June. The right-hander moved up slowly, returning to Johnson City in 2008 and Batavia in 2009 after mid-season promotions. After a rough April with Quad Cities this spring, Mayes was back with Batavia before returning to the Midwest League in August. He closed his Cardinals career on the disabled list.
Matt North is a study in perseverance both by the player and organization. Taken by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2006 draft from Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California, the right-hander received a $150,000 bonus but could never fully shake the injury bug. Including missing the entire 2009 season, North had appeared in just 26 games over his first four professional years combined. He did manage a healthy summer with Batavia in 2010, but an ERA over ten foreshadowed this move.
Yorbel Alcala is a switch-hitting Venezuelan that appeared in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2007-08 and moved to the Dominican Summer League the next year. He was second in the DSL in runners caught stealing at 52.4 percent (44-of-84) and earned a spot in the Gulf Coast League in 2010. Alcala was clearly not front and center, appearing about once per week, getting just 20 at-bats in ten games all summer long. He did hit .300, though.
Left-hander Moises Colorado made his USA debut in the GCL this past summer after three seasons in the VSL. Over a period slightly more than two months, he appeared in just eight games, all in relief. A 12:7 strikeout to walk ratio was not great nor was his 5.40 ERA and .313 opposing batting average.
Venezuelan outfielder Anthony Fonseca improved most all of his offensive stats over his first three professional seasons in the VSL from 2007-09. Being sent to the GCL this past summer proved to be too much of a challenge for the right-handed hitter as he posted an underwhelming line of .211/.318/.233.
Left-handed hitting outfielder Alberto Rivero played his first two seasons in the VSL, batting .309 in 2008. He just finished his second campaign with the GCL Cardinals, but did not see action until the final month, receiving just 16 at-bats for the season. Apparently the Cardinals saw all they needed to see previously.
Former University of Arizona star Colt Sedbrook joined the Cardinals in 2008 after having been drafted previously by the Rockies and Cubs. The middle infielder got off to a fast start, batting .305 for Batavia and serving as the leadoff hitter in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Probably due to his age, in 2009 Sedbrook leapt over Quad Cities. He moved back and forth between Palm Beach and Springfield where he was fourth in the system in walks, but had trouble getting hits. Sedbrook digressed in 2010, batting just .202 between the same two levels.
Chris Notti joined the system in 2008 out of Moorpark Junior College in California and pitched well enough to be named our GCL Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year. In 2009, he went 4-1 with a 3.83 ERA in 12 games including eight starts for Johnson City and began 2010 with Quad Cities. Notti pitched out of the pen for the Bandits until being sent home in mid-August due to a season-ending suspension.
After two seasons in the GCL during which he batted a combined .182, Joe Babrick was slated to return there in 2010, but did not see action for an undisclosed reason. The 6-foot-6 right-handed hitting outfielder has now been cut loose prior to his 21st birthday.
Travis Lawler, a right-handed pitcher, spent just two seasons in the system. He struck out better than one batter per inning but also walked over four hitters per nine innings in relief with Johnson City last year and Batavia this summer. Lawler previously pitched for Midland College in Texas.
Former Southern Illinois hurler David Kington was the 2009 Appalachian League leader with eight saves for Johnson City despite walking one of every ten batters faced. The right-hander moved up to Batavia this past summer where he maintained a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio and registered a 4.34 ERA.
At 24 years of age last season, Rich "Rock" Racobaldo began his pro career with a bang, batting over .400 in his first 35 games with Johnson City. Upon being bumped up to Quad Cities, he struggled. Moved to the outfield from third base this season, Racobaldo jumped to Palm Beach, where his play was solid enough that he was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game. After the break, he improved his average 20 points to .272 and a second-half OPS of .731.
Click on the highlighted names to be taken to their player profile pages, where there is biographical information as well as photos and links to current season and career stats.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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