The most recent group of five releases, announced Monday, include pitchers Yunior Castillo and Garrett Wittels, first baseman David Medina and outfielders Anthony Bryant and Gary Apelian. Castillo and Wittels had converted from infield to pitching.
Wittels the pitcher was a long shot from the start. Released last fall as a utilityman, the 22-year-old attempted to remake himself as a right-handed pitcher during the off-season. Apparently the organization did not see potential for Wittels to become competitive enough to continue to develop in extended spring training camp. He had originally been signed after not having been drafted in 2011.
Medina, 24, is in his final season before becoming minor league free agent eligible. As such, the left-handed hitter's time to either make the 40-man roster or move on was approaching. Apparently the organization decided the time was now to part ways with the Dominican native. Also able to play in the outfield, Medina had yet to advance beyond the Midwest League. In seven seasons in the system, the last five in the US, his career line was .249/.344/.377/.721.
Apelian, 22, was selected in the 27th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft from Santa Ana Junior College. The right-handed hitter had a promising .845 OPS and 45 RBI at Johnson City in his initial pro season, but slipped to a .523 OPS between Batavia and Quad Cities last summer.
Bryant, 21, was the Cardinals' 16th-round pick in the 2010 draft from a Texas high school. After two seasons in the Gulf Coast League with an OPS right at .600, the left-handed hitting outfielder was given a trial at Johnson City last season. Bryant was soon returned for a third shot at the GCL, where he improved his OPS to .816. In 114 career minor league games, Bryant stole 39 bases and was caught 12 times.
Update: Bryant is tweeting that he will be joining the Washington Nationals organization.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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