So instead, I will take this opportunity to comment on the opening day minor league rosters. I will not comment on every player - just a few that provoke some strong thoughts.
I had thought all along that Michael Wacha would start the year in Triple-A. His spring performance made it a no-doubter.
Nick Additon was thought to be on the bubble but the injuries to Carpenter and Motte along with the team's decision not to leave a sixth starter in Memphis kept him employed and apparently in the rotation.
With five members that pitched last year in the majors and two others who are on the 40-man roster, the Triple-A relief corps is deep and talented. It will be interesting to see who is the closer.
Nick Greenwood is the one member of the bullpen that isn't on the 40-man roster or pitched in the majors but he forced his way on to the Memphis roster with a combination of an outstanding spring and a suspect performance by other lefty prospects. If Greenwood can get consistent, his sinker is a major league out pitch.
The Cards decided to go with experience but my guess is that if Audry Perez performs at all in Double-A, he will quickly be promoted.
Non-drafted and with less than 225 minor league AB's, is Vance Albitz for real? Sure, he is only there because Ryan Jackson got a last minute (and most likely short term) promotion to the majors, but he is there nonetheless.
Chad Huffman is one of three minor league free agent outfield signings on the Memphis roster and the one that intrigues me the most. With good play, he could get a surprise major league call up before the year is out.
Keith Butler was strong at Double-A last year and had a good spring. It did him no immediate good as he is back at Double-A again.
Is Travis Tartamella the new Nick Derba?
Though he is another short-term beneficiary of the Freese injury and Jackson promotion, I am still shocked to see Luis Mateo at Double-A over several others who stayed at Palm Beach. He is still just 22.
Ryan Sherriff was strong at Palm Beach last year yet he is back again - a testimony to the strong system. Tim Cooney is skipping a level even though he didn't totally dominate at Batavia in 2012. I hope he can handle it.
Zack Russell was near dominating the last three months at Palm Beach last year (ERA around 2.00) and was closing at the end of the year. Apparently no room at the inn in Springfield means he is back in Palm Beach again, though he joins four other pitchers on the DL. With Lee Stoppleman in the PB bullpen, it could be a strong group.
Geoff Klein is a little long in the tooth for Class A (25 years old) but I've always liked him and am glad he's back. Cody Stanley had a strong half year at Palm Beach in 2012, played in the Arizona Fall League. He had a really strong spring, yet he's back at Palm Beach. I can't remember seeing a position player with his experience go back to A-ball after playing in the AFL. Is he still being castigated for his positive drug test last year?
There is a lot of talent in this infield. Colin Walsh is another AFL veteran that the Cards are sticking in A-ball. What is going on here? Matt Williams is a sleeper to keep your eye on – a true shortstop with a live bat.
The group is even more talented than the infield. There are four potential major league players here if they can harness their talents.
Tyrell Jenkins repeats low-A to highlight an otherwise boring group.
Several players to keep an eye on here are headed by Dixon Llorens.
Gerwuins Velazco's .751 OPS last year at Johnson City was almost totally driven by a .360 batting average - almost no walks and no power. That batting average was due to a .424 BABIP. My guess is that will be exposed at this level.
This is probably the most talented group at any position at any level. My eye is on the least heralded of the group, Jacob Wilson. The guy can hit.
Michael Swinson is playing a level lower than last year after a strong spring - another one being punished for a prior drug suspension? Nick Martini is repeating here. He needs to step it up and so it fast. My guess is with Charlie Tilson, they decided that if he didn't get some real game action after all this time he'd go crazy!
Extended Spring Training
Robert Stock – Is he working on something specific?
Wyatt, Cornelius and others - Are they stashing these guys are or they at risk of getting released?
Jose De Leon - Anyone know where this guy is at?
All of the rosters for St. Louis, Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria have been updated here at The Cardinal Nation, including uniform numbers. Further news will be made available later on final roster cuts and other player-related information, so stay tuned!
Rosters can be accessed via the menu dropdowns on the red bar at the top of the page. "Minor League Rosters" is centered on the page underneath the site logo.
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