Cardinals minors opening day roster evolution

An ongoing thread to be updated as the St. Louis Cardinals full-season rosters come into focus. The preliminary rosters for Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria rosters are confirmed.

For St. Louis Cardinals minor league aficionados, this period is akin to the NCAA March Madness brackets being announced.

By definition, the time each year when minor league camps break up also means that season-opening rosters become clear. The initial 25 men making up each of the Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria clubs will pack their bags and travel north (and west) on Sunday. That is, except for Palm Beach, who get to move their gear into the big-league spring clubhouse.

The Cardinals organization does not plan to release full rosters, instead leaving the announcements to each of the four individual clubs. They all are planning standard "Meet the Media" sessions on Monday or Tuesday. In most cases, our reporters will be there. However, rosters should be disclosed before then.

In this post, I will make updates as news becomes available.

As we move from the left to the right in the following table, the level of clarity decreases dramatically. Memphis and Springfield are pretty close, I think. The others, less so.

Remember that as of Sunday morning, NONE of this is official.

Memphis

The ascension of Michael Wacha seemed to clarify the Redbirds rotation. Normally, eight relievers would be one too many. However, that may not be the case to start the season.

The position players are thin at infield due to Ryan Jackson starting in St. Louis. It is worth noting that Jamie Romak can play at first and third base as well as the outfield.

Springfield

Given the pitching strength in the system, a number of pitchers from the 2012 Texas League champions have to return to Double-A. Seth Blair may step up from Palm Beach if Scott Gorgen has to open the season on the disabled list.

The infield does not look particularly strong, though newcomer Jake Lemmerman has yet to make an official impression as a Cardinals shortstop. New second baseman Starlin Rodriguez has potential as well. Chris Edmondson's Saturday release clarified the outfield.

Palm Beach

The process of guessing the Palm Beach and Peoria rosters in this initial version is primarily based on 2012 holdovers. I did move up a few of last year's Midwest League position players up to the FSL. I might be wrong.

At this point, I did not replace Blair as the fifth starter at Palm Beach. Lefty Hector Hernandez and righty Tyrell Jenkins both were regulars in last season's Quad Cities rotation. One of them could receive the temporary call.

Peoria

Here, I went conservative for now. I did slip Tim Cooney and Kurt Heyer into this tentative rotation. There are already eight holdover relievers from 2012. Some may not be back initially as several others such as Lee Stoppelman have made strong spring bids.

From the position player perspective, the holdover catchers (which could include Adam Lewis) would block Jesus Montero. Probably like you, I have plenty of ideas about the infielders, such as David Washington, Alex Mejia and Breyvic Valera. Third base offers considerable intrigue as does the outfield. Will we see the top prospect youngsters?

Coming up

I plan to keep this thread updated in sort of a blog format through Sunday and perhaps Monday. It all depends on when these rosters become clearer.

I will not update the rosters on the official team pages here on the site until all of the smoke clears. A new Roster Matrix on the blog will probably not appear until Tuesday.

Almost official, but not final rosters – Thursday afternoon, April 4
Note the order of players' names within groupings has no significance.

Memphis (conf) Springfield (conf) Palm Beach (conf) Peoria (conf)
SP Additon (L) Whiting T Miller H Hernandez (L)
Gast (L) McGregor Gaviglio Villanueva (L)
Lyons (L) Ri Castillo Hald (L) Jenkins 
Maness Ferrara (L) Cooney (L) Heyer
Wacha Blair Melling (L) Cuda
Helisek (L)
RP Browning Siegrist (L) Almarante Aldrete
Cleto Wright (L) Creath  Baker
Greenwood (L) Delgado  Cornelius (L)  Scanio
Fornataro K Thomas Miranda (L) Donofrio 
Freeman (L) Blazek Nazario (L) Llorens
Marte Hooker  Shaban Polanco
Rondon Butler Stoppelman(L) Petrick
Sanchez Kiekhefer (L) Wyatt 
DL Voss (L) Gorgen Barraclough
Swagerty (L) Billbrough 
Corrigan A Lucas
Sherriff (L)
Russell 
C Johnson A Perez Klein Velazco
Towles Tartamella Stanley Rasmus
DL J Castillo  Schaffer
1B Peterson Scruggs Jon Rodriguez Washington
Stienstra
IF G Garcia Gotay Gil B Valera
Curtis Lemmerman Rahmatulla  Wilson 
Wong S Rodriguez M Williams Mejia
Albitz Lu Mateo Walsh  Wisdom
Pritchard Vargas
OF Christian Melker  An Garcia Tilson
Romak O'Neill Longmire Walton
Huffman Swauger Piscotty Martini
Chambers Pham Ramsey Swinson
Taveras

Sunday, 5:30 P.M. CT. The Peoria roster has been confirmed, including the six-man starting rotation. Oddly, there are three left-handed starters but no lefties among the seven relievers.

Charlie Tilson made the team. So did Breyvic Valera, Ildemaro Vargas, Alex Mejia and Patrick Wisdom, making the infield a strength. David Washington is listed as an outfielder, though I am carrying him at first base. In a bit of a surprise, Gerwuins Velazco is one of the catchers.

The Chiefs are currently at 26 players, with one to reduce before Thursday. Five of them are just 20 years old – Tilson, Valera, Tyrell Jenkins, Dixon Llorens and Jhonny Polanco.

Given this, I moved Tim Cooney and Anthony Melchionda up to Palm Beach. That roster has just 24 players currently and is unconfirmed. Corresponding changes made above.

Monday, 10:15 A.M. CT. The Memphis roster is confirmed, exactly as I had predicted. There are 26 players, however, with rehabbing left-handed pitcher Jay Voss the addition. The club does not have to declare until Thursday, but one has to assume that Voss will be placed on the disabled list to open the season.

Monday, noon CT. Springfield has announced its roster, with 28 players. The only additions from my earlier projections are lefty Dean Kiekhefer and right-hander Chris Corrigan, who I had initially listed with Palm Beach. The club did not explicitly announce its rotation as of yet.

Even if Jordan Swagerty and Scott Gorgen go into the DL to start the regular season, one more cut would be needed to reach the 25-man opening day limit.

The official Palm Beach roster has yet to be announced.

Wednesday. I have been given the preliminary Palm Beach roster. There are six players on the DL – five pitchers and a catcher. They include Logan Billbrough, Aidan Lucas, Zack Russell, Ryan Sherriff, Kyle Barraclough and Juan Castillo.

The Palm Beach starting pitchers above are my guesses, but the 13 pitchers' names are correct. (Note: They were later confirmed.)

The official season-opening rosters for all clubs have yet to be announced. They should be made available on Thursday.

Thursday.

The following DL moves have been announced :
Memphis: Jay Voss
Springfield: Jordan Swagerty, Scott Gorgen, Chris Corrigan
Peoria: Jeremy Schaffer

All four clubs are now at their season-opening 25.



For the entire system, check out the Roster Matrix 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. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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