2010 Minor League Free Agents - Part Two

In the second installment of a three-part series, Senior Minor League writer Dustin Mattison looks at some of the minor league free agent pitchers that might be of interest to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In Part One of this report, we looked at the best potential targets of the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor league free agent market.

Here in Part Two, we will drill down on available pitchers. In the final installment, the focus will shift to those players who might add important depth in the infield and outfield.


Brian Bannister RHP

Neither overpowering nor dominant, the 29-year-old has made 23 or more big league starts for four consecutive seasons. The right-hander would be the perfect candidate to supply depth to the St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff but he will probably be offered a major league job somewhere.

Lenny Dinardo LHP

The part-time musician is coming off an injury-riddled season but was productive when he played (3.40 ERA in 47.2 Triple-A innings for Oakland). The 31-year-old has over 250 career big league innings is well worth a flyer if healthy.

Richard De Los Santos RHP

The 26-year-old appears to be lost in a numbers game in the Tampa Bay organization. In 148 innings at Durham, he went 14-5 with a 3.52 ERA. Not overpowering, De Los Santos shows good command of three average pitches and appears to be a very serviceable arm.

Brandon Duckworth RHP

The 34-year-old is a great candidate for the team's sixth starter spot. The right-hander has a career ERA a little over five in 511 career major league innings. In 2010 at Triple-A, he posted an ERA of 3.32 and struck out 102 in 105 innings.

Geno Espineli LHP

The 28-year-old appeared in 53 games at Triple-A Fresno in 2010. The southpaw allowed a 3.26 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 60.2 innings while walking 17 and notching 12 saves. Now pitching in the Mexican Winter League, he has an ERA of 1.35 in eight games.

Thomas Hottovy LHP

A long-time Boston favorite out of Wichita State struggled with control issues in 2010. At Triple-A, left-handers hit only .222 against him. The Tommy John veteran has a two-seam fastball that shows promise and average off-speed offerings.

Zach Jackson LHP

Toronto's 2004 first-round pick has never been able to find the consistency that he showed during his college days at Texas A&M. The Cardinals were reportedly interested in Jackson leading up to that draft but instead went with Chris Lambert. Jackson is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League where he continues to struggle with consistency.

Chuck Lofgren LHP

Seems like I have been putting Lofgren's name on these types of lists for years, maybe now is the time to get him into the organization. The 24-year-old was tagged with an ERA over five in 131.2 innings including 23 starts at Nashville in 2010. Interestingly, he did allow left-handed hitters only a .212 average. He can overcome his command issues (75 walks), he could become a weapon out of the bullpen.

Doug Mathis RHP

The 27-year-old is a product of the University of Missouri and most recently pitched in the Texas Rangers' organization. Making trips between Triple-A and the majors in 2010, he made 15 minor league starts and 13 appearances out of the Texas bullpen. Not overpowering, Mathis is prone to get groundballs and could provide valuable depth for an organization. He is currently pitching in the Dominican for Toros del Este. In 10.2 innings, he has logged eight strikeouts and has an ERA of 1.69.

Paul Phillips RHP

Another victim of the Rays' pitching depth, the righty struck out 68 while walking only 16 in 71.2 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A. The veteran of 259 minor league games has almost struck out a batter per inning during his career while walking less than three batters per nine innings.

Edwar Ramirez RHP

At one time, Ramirez appeared to be a fixture in the New York Yankees bullpen for years to come. But control issues dereailed his career. If he can fix his control woes, the 29-year-old could be a valuable commodity due to his experience in the tough American League East.

Polin Trinidad LHP

Another once promising prospect, the southpaw represented the Astros in the 2008 Futures Game. In 2010, Trinidad struck out 93 and walked only 40 in 149.2 innings split between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock. The Dominican is currently playing for Estrellas in his homeland where he is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 18.2 innings. Only 26 years old, he represents significant depth opportunity in a system lacking left-handed starting pitching.

John Van Benschoten RHP

The 30-year-old was the eighth overall pick in the 2001 MLB First Year Player Draft. Over four levels in the Yankees system in 2010, he went 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA. If healthy, he would be another ideal candidate to compete for the sixth starter spot in St. Louis.

Dustin can be contacted at dustin@whiteyball.com.
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