Once-promising minor leaguers let go by Cards

Infielder Colin Walsh and outfielder Lance Jeffries have been released by the St. Louis Cardinals.

As the St. Louis Cardinals prepare for the opening of the full-season minor league campaign for 2014, several more players were given their release on Tuesday. They include infielder Colin Walsh and outfielder Lance Jeffries.

Walsh, 24, was the Cardinals' 13th-round selection in the 2010 draft from Stanford. Originally an outfielder and later, a second baseman, Walsh's best tool was his hit tool.

The switch-hitter had a strong 2012 in the Midwest League, when the all-star led the circuit in on-base percentage and slugging and came in fourth in at-bats/home run (20.84). The California native followed that up with a credible Arizona Fall League campaign, including 14 RBI in 16 games.

In 2013, however, Walsh's momentum slowed. With Palm Beach, he did lead the Florida State League with 58 walks and was eighth in on-base percentage at .370 at the time of his late-July promotion to Double-A Springfield. In the Texas League, Walsh appeared in 32 games with a disappointing line of .220/.313/.314/.627. He also committed 10 errors at second base, the position at which Walsh appeared exclusively in 2013.

In my pre-camp prediction series, I had pegged Walsh to return to Springfield in 2014. However, the recent arrival of Cuban Aledmys Diaz may have pushed Walsh off the roster.

Jeffries, who turns 21 next week, is a native of Ferguson, MO. He first joined the Cardinals organization in the 10th round of the 2011 draft. After opening in the Gulf Coast League, the right-handed hitter moved up to the Appalachian League in 2012. Jeffries repeated the level in 2013, but only appeared in 20 games before leaving the Johnson City Cardinals for disciplinary reasons.

Jeffries' hitting performance did not improve over time. In fact, his OPS dropped each season – from .739 to .665 to .571 in his abridged 2013. Blessed with speed, Jeffries stole 30 bases and was caught 10 times over his career. However, he struck out 142 times in 325 at-bats (43.7 percent).

It seemed highly unlikely that Jeffries could compete for a full-season club this spring. Instead of his next destination being extended spring training camp, the organization apparently decided to cut ties now.

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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