Cardinals in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft: Part One

The recent history of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Rule 5 Draft and the players at risk in 2011.

Between now and December 5, the St. Louis Cardinals, like the 29 other Major League Baseball organizations, may be making additions and subtractions from their 40-man roster in preparation for the 2011 Rule 5 Draft. The annual event will be held in Dallas on December 8 in conjunction with Baseball's Winter Meetings.

2010 review

During this period last year, the club dropped four players and added seven prospects to the 40-man. After the 2011 season, two of the four removed declared free agency and signed with Cardinals NL Central rivals – outfielders Daryl Jones (Cincinnati) and Nick Stavinoha (Houston). The other two remain under organizational control – pitcher Adam Ottavino and catcher Steven Hill.

Sanchez
Lest you think these are paperwork moves only, four of the seven players that joined the 40-man last November went on to make their MLB debuts in 2011. Several look like they may become contributors in the bigs. They include catcher Tony Cruz, right-handed reliever Eduardo Sanchez, shortstop Pete Kozma and outfielder Adron Chambers. In addition, reliever Adam Reifer would have had a very good shot to debut with St. Louis as well had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury in April.

The other two previously-added are relievers. Blake King has since been removed and claimed by Houston only to later be taken off again. The other is Memphis' David Kopp. Kopp was also taken off the 40-man during the 2011 season and is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.

In the 2010 Rule 5 Draft itself, the Cardinals lost pitcher Brian Broderick to the Washington Nationals in the major league phase after he started in the AFL. He was returned to the Cardinals in May. The Cards picked up left-hander Jean Mijares from Minnesota in the minor league phase, but the pitcher was injured all season long.

Previous years

The Cardinals had three players selected in the 2008 and 2009 Rule 5 drafts, none of whom returned to the organization. Pitcher Mike Parisi was taken by the Cubs in 2009 after pitching in the AFL and reliever Luis Perdomo and outfielder Cody Haerther departed in 2008 (the latter in the Triple-A phase).

40-man Adds R5 available  Selected Lost
2010 7 41 1 0
2009 8 23 1 1
2008 2 16 2 2
2007 6 18 0 0
2006 5 27 0 0
Average  5.6 25 0.8 0.6

Who is eligible?

Pending expected roster movement, trades, signings and/or releases, the Cardinals have 51 players currently Rule 5 susceptible, ranging from Triple-A Memphis all the way down to short-season Johnson City. This total continues to grow each year and the current count is double the average from the last five years.

23 of the 51 were available in last year's Rule 5, including Mijares (MIN). 20 had been protected on the Memphis roster (M), with one each assigned to Springfield (S) and Palm Beach (PB).

Note that these columnar roster designations simply indicate where the players ended the 2011 season. Their level assignments for the Rule 5 Draft are not yet set. The implications of this will be discussed in Part Two of this article.

Memphis (13) Springfield (16) Palm Beach (9)
Additon, Nick Curtis, Jermaine Bolivar, Domnit (M)
Blazek, Michael Cutler, Charlie Castillo, Richard
Broderick, Brian (M) DeLaCruz, Luis (M) Fornataro, Eric
Cazana, Amaury (M) Delgado, Ramon (M) Nieto, Arquimedes
Derba, Nick (M) Freeman, Sam Obregon, Ted
Fick, Chuckie (M) Garcia, Jose (M) Rosario, Rainel (M)
Hill, Steven (M) Hooker, Deryk Scruggs, Xavier
Kopp, David Luna, Aaron Teran, Kleininger (S)
Marte, Victor McGregor, Scott Vasquez, Niko
Ottavino, Adam (M) Mulligan, Casey (M)
Parise, Pete (M) Pham, Tommy (M)
Rauschenberger, Cory (M) Rada, Jose (M)
Todd, Jess Rondon, Jorge (M)
Samuel, Francisco
Swauger, Chris
Thomas, Kevin
Quad Cities (4) Batavia (6) Johnson City (3)
Corpas, Hector  Avendano, Javier Garcia, Hector
Espinoza, Roberto (PB) Castillo, Juan (M) Montero, Jesus
Gil, Ronny Castillo, Yunier Pasen, Jose
Russell, Zach Medina, David (M)
Mijares, Jean (MIN)
Ruiz, Romulo (M)

Of the 51 currently-eligible players, 28 are pitchers, including three left-handers. The other 23 consist of eight catchers, four middle infielders, five corner infielders and six outfielders.

Also in Part Two, I will provide my assessment of who might be protected or lost and why. I will also suggest how additional room might be created on the 40-man roster if deemed necessary and explain what steps may be ahead.

Remember that to see the entire Cardinals system in one graphical view, check out the Roster Matrix, kept updated at The Cardinal Nation Blog.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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