10 TCN top prospects among 18 Cardinals NRIs

The St. Louis Cardinals have invited 18 non-40-man roster players to their major league spring training camp. The group includes 10 of The Cardinal Nation's top 40 prospects.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced non-roster invitations to 18 players to participate in the team's Major League Spring Training camp. They will join the 39 players currently on the team's 40-man roster.

Of the 18 non-roster invitees, 16 are players that were members of the Cardinals organization in 2013. 10 are members of the recently-announced top 40 prospect list from The Cardinal Nation. Four are in the top 10 and eight in total appear among the top 20.

The Cardinals recent top draft selections are well-represented among the NRIs. They include 2012 first rounders Stephen Piscotty, James Ramsey and Patrick Wisdom and 2013 first round selection Marco Gonzales. The list also includes the system's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Zach Petrick.

The lone invitees who were not with the organization last year are catcher Ed Easley and infielder Scott Moore. The minor league free agents were signed in November. Click here to learn more about Easley and here for details about Moore.

The total of 18 NRIs compares to 17 last spring, 20 the year before and 21 in 2011. Of course, additional players could still be signed and invited over the next month.

Of the 16 returning invitees, four finished last season at Triple-A Memphis, seven concluded the year at Double-A Springfield and four ended at A-Advanced Palm Beach. The lone exception is third baseman-turned-catcher Carson Kelly, who finished 2013 at short-season Class-A State College before undergoing his position change during fall instructional league camp.

16 of the 18 are receiving their first official invitations to St. Louis' Major League camp. The "veterans" are catcher Cody Stanley, previously participating in 2012 and 2013, and pitcher Jordan Swagerty (2012), back after almost two years lost to injury and recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Cardinals pitchers and catchers will report to Jupiter, Fla. on Wednesday, February 12 and conduct their first workout on February 13. The full squad will report on February 17 and begin workouts on February 18.

The following is a listing of the Cardinals non-roster invitees. Their 2013 club and 2014 TCN top 40 ranking appear following their names:

PITCHERS (7): Jose Almarante (Mem), Tim Cooney (Spr-12), Sam Gaviglio (PB-26), Marco Gonzales (PB-6), Zach Petrick (Spr-16), Lee Stoppelman (Mem-18), Jordan Swagerty (PB-29)

CATCHERS (5): Ed Easley, Carson Kelly (SC-9), Casey Rasmus (Spr), Cody Stanley (Spr), Travis Tartamella (Mem)

INFIELDERS (4): Luis Mateo (Spr), Scott Moore, Xavier Scruggs (Spr), Patrick Wisdom (PB-15)

OUTFIELDERS (2): Stephen Piscotty (Spr-4), James Ramsey (Mem-8)

February 6 update: Veteran right-handed reliever Pat Neshek became the 19th NRI when signed to a minor league deal.

Premium Article Special for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation: The organization has also invited two dozen minor leaguers to join its early minor league camp, called Spring Training Early Program or STEP. Full details here.

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For more information: To see these NRIs in roster context, check out the Cardinals organization Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. The latter provides a single-page view of the entire Cardinals system by position and level and tracks all organizational player moves.

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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