Cardinals Invite 145 to Minor League Camp

The St. Louis Cardinals will be welcoming 145 players to their 2011 minor league spring training camp, starting on March 7 in Jupiter, Florida.

The unofficial start of spring for St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers will be on February 25 when a group of 21 prospects who were previously invited to what is being called early spring camp report to Jupiter, Florida.

Early (21)
SP RP C IF OF
McGregor  Swagerty L DeLaCruz Adams  Pham 
Gast (L)  Wright (L) Stanley  R Jackson  Luna
Blair Reid  Teran  L Mateo  A Castellanos
A Ferrara (L)  Longmire 
Rosenthal  Taveras 
Jenkins
C Martinez 

They will be joined by 124 other minor leaguers when the official spring camp begins. Pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 7, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on Wednesday, March 9.

They will be competing for the roughly 100 jobs open with one of the Cardinals' four full-season clubs:

Memphis Redbirds – Triple-A – Pacific Coast League
Springfield Cardinals – Double-A – Texas League
Palm Beach Cardinals – A-Advanced – Florida State League
Quad Cities River Bandits – Class A – Midwest League

Click on each highlighted team name to review their 2011 rosters, currently listing end-of-2010 season alignment. While there, explore the links to each player's free profile page where there is a wealth of information, including photos, past articles, links to stats and much more.

Cardinals farm director John Vuch explains why he kept his spring training group at 145 players.

"Since we have a lot of tough decisions to make (especially for our A-ball rosters), and a finite number of at-bats and innings pitched, there's no point in muddying the waters with extra players who aren't currently in a position to at least potentially break camp with a full-season club," Vuch explained. "That also allows us to focus the attention and instruction on those players whose season opens in April, while still giving us 2 ½ months of Extended Spring Training to work with the players whose season will begin in June."

Reg Camp (124)
Memphis (6)
SP RP C IF OF
Fick  Bynum Rapoport
Norrick (L)
Parise 
Rundles
Springfield (21)
SP RP C IF OF
Additon (L) Delgado  Cutler C Smith  Ant. DeJesus 
Gorgen Eager A Brown Swauger
Kulik (L)  Buursma Scruggs Jones 
Mijares (L) S Freeman (L) Jo Martinez1 Henley 
Frevert  Jo Garcia
Ramirez
Curtis
Palm Beach (22)
SP RP C IF OF
Schneider Mulligan Espinoza Rivera  Beatty
G Brown (L) Bradford Bolivar Bogany
Diapoules  Rauchenberger N Vasquez R Rodriguez
Nieto Simpson Ingram
Ri Castillo M Tapia 
Zawacki Pichardo 
Bittle 
Hooker
Quad Cities (26)
SP RP C IF OF
Rondon Novak Castro Goodwin Lara
Fornataro Calhoun (L) Stidham  R Smith
Bibona (L) J Smith Obregon Swinson 
Cardenas (L) Corrigan  Walsh R Rosario
Rada Ahmady Parejo
Terry Conley 
Blazek
Kiekhefer (L)
Greenwood (L)
Matos
Batavia (19)
SP RP C IF OF
Ju Edwards (L) Butler Klein V Sanchez  Biserta 
Moss Squatrito  J Castillo Bergman  O'Neill 
McCully Summers Valaika  Edmondson 
Russell Lyons (L) Y Castillo Melker 
J Rodriguez
Johnson City (25)
SP RP C IF OF
Copeland (L)  Benes Tartamella D Medina S Ramos
H Hernamdez (L) Corpas S Rodriguez V Hill
Ang. De Jesus A Lucas Elkins  Williams
Daugherty (L)  Revesz (L) G Garcia
C Johnson  R Ruiz
Jimenez  C Valera
Siegrist (L)  Cerreto 
Nadeau (L)  R DeLaCruz
Whiting
GCL (3)
SP RP C IF OF
R Martinez Moscatel Tuivailala 
DSL (2)
SP RP C IF OF
Estalis Gil 

The minor league camp invitee list includes every player that ended the season with Johnson City of the Appalachian League or higher except five. They are Batavia pitcher Javier Avendano along with pitchers Francisco Guzman and Iden Nazario, catcher Anthony Garcia and outfielder Roberto Reyes from Johnson City. They are among those not viewed as being competitive at this time to at least make Quad Cities out of camp.

Only six players that finished last season at the Gulf Coast League and lower are invited to minor league spring training. To even be considered for a full season club would require three of the six to jump two levels of play, Batavia and Johnson City, and the other three to also hop over a third stop, the Gulf Coast League.

The three ex-GCL players are reliever Ricky Martinez, son of Palm Beach pitching coach Dennis Martinez, Venezuelan catcher Kevin Moscatel and shortstop Sam Tuivailala. The latter, 18 years of age, is the Cardinals' third-round draft pick from 2010.

Two of the three players from the Dominican Summer League competed there in 2010, and will be vying to make their US debut in Quad Cites. A third missed last season while serving a suspension.

Our number five prospect in the entire system, 19-year-old pitcher Carlos Martinez (formerly Matias) absolutely dominated the DSL last season, but did not receive his visa in time to travel in 2010. He is among the 21 early camp invites. Pitcher Eduard Estalis hails from Haiti and sported a 2.01 ERA last season. The 21-year-old fanned better than one batter per inning while walking just one per seven innings and induced more ground balls than fly balls in 2010. Shortstop Ronny Gil last played as Grabiel Hernandez in 2009 before being suspended a year for identity fraud. Gil turns 22 in March, two years older than previously thought.

Vuch warns that conclusions should not be drawn from these lists, which are still subject to change, by the way.

"There are quality players who will not be coming until April, so it's important to not attempt to read anything into the arrival date for any given player," the farm director said. "In virtually every case, the distinction was made based on potential readiness to compete for a spot on a full-season club, and not on any kind of ‘prospect/non-prospect' status."

The above lists exclude the 60 players invited to major league camp – the members of the currently-full 40-man roster, plus 20 non-roster invitees. If past years are any indication, some of these players will be cut from the big-league Cardinals by the time the masses report.

They are included for completeness.

40-man (40)
SP RP C IF OF
C Carpenter Franklin Molina Pujols Holliday
Lohse McClellan Anderson Hamilton Berkman
Westbrook Boggs Laird Schumaker Rasmus 
Wainwright Motte T Cruz Descalso  Jay
Ja Garcia (L) Tallet (L) Theriot Craig
Walters  T Miller (L) T Greene Chambers
Augenstein Salas Kozma 
Kopp Sanchez  Freese 
Cleto Samuel Punto
Reifer Cox
King 
NRI (20)
SP RP C IF OF
Lynn  Batista  S Hill  R Vazquez  Edmonds 
Snell  Derba  Solano Cazana
Dickson  Stock M Carpenter Stavinoha 
Ottavino  A Perez  Robinson 
Valdes (L) 
Thomas
S Miller 
Kelly 

Eventually, as the major league roster is whittled to 25, as many as 35 of those 60 players will end up in minor league camp. Adding them to the 145 officially invited and you can see that as many as 180 players will be competing for those initial 100 jobs.

The remainder of the group, those that do not make one of the four full-season clubs and are not released, will remain behind in extended spring training camp, which begins in early April. By mid-June, they will be slotted into the short season clubs in Batavia or Johnson City, or be ready to join a full-season club at any time when the inevitable injuries hit.

Daily 1:00 P.M. (ET) minor league spring camp games will begin on Wednesday, March 16 and run through Sunday, April 3. Here is the link to the full state of games. The opponent will be one of three: themselves on camp days, the Florida Marlins with whom they share the Jupiter, Florida facility or the nearby New York Mets.

In addition to the team rosters here on the main TheCardinalNation.com site, I maintain a year-round pictorial view of all of these rosters together on a single page along with a detailed listing of transactions on my blog, TheCardinalNationBlog.com. The vehicle is something I call the Roster Matrix. Its base view looks similar to what you see above, but includes all 300 or so players under contract to the Cardinals organization.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. 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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