Reliever Lee Stoppelman was sent down from Memphis to Springfield. Heading in the upward direction is infielder Luis Mateo. New to Double-A is second baseman Jacob Wilson. Replacing Wilson at Palm Beach is infielder Ronnierd Garcia from extended spring training. Palm Beach also lost reliever Dixon Llorens to the disabled list. In another EST transaction, the Cardinals released pitcher Stalyn Lopez.
Stoppelman had a rough April with Memphis, with a 5.11 ERA, hitting three batters and walking a whopping 6.6 batters per nine innings. The 23-year-old left-hander is returning to a level at which he had great success in 2013, when he earned TCN's Minor League Reliever of the Year honors. Stoppelman had been a non-roster invitee to major league camp this spring after spending the final month of 2013 at Memphis then pitching in the Arizona Fall League.
Mateo, also 23, was another NRI this spring. The infielder had a hot start and remained with St. Louis as long as more highly-touted infield competitor Greg Garcia - until the final few days in camp. The Puerto Rican native opened the regular season with Memphis, but was pushed back down by the Mark Ellis-Pete Kozma set of moves on April 15. Mateo batted .246 in his 17 games at Double-A this stint.
In the process, the Triple-A Redbirds are going with an unusual configuration of only 11 pitchers and 14 position players.
Wilson, 23 years of age as well, led the system with 20 April RBI at Palm Beach. The second baseman arrived at the A-Advanced level for the final month of 2013 before heading to the Arizona Fall League. The former University of Memphis standout was the Cardinals' 10th rounder in 2012.
The Double-A Cardinals are one player over the 25-man limit, so another transaction is coming.
Garcia, 21, played last season at Johnson City, his fourth year in the organization. There, the Venezuelan batted .286 and was one of the offensive leaders of his club. Garcia tied for second in the Appalachian League in RBI and doubles, was second in doubles, tied for fourth in extra-base hits and was fifth in total bases.
Llorens, 21, apparently warmed up to enter Sunday's game for the A-Advanced Palm Beach club but was unable to continue. The right-hander left the game without officially throwing a pitch. In April, the sidearmer was second in the system with 14.2 strikeouts per inning, but was also fourth with 6.3 free passes per nine.
Though Lopez is "just" 22, the left-hander finished 2013 way down in the Gulf Coast League. The handwriting was on the wall after he dropped from starting at Johnson City in 2012 to relieving there in 2013 to being pushed down to the GCL to conclude last season. Lopez finished his five years in the system with a 4.85 ERA to go with 162 strikeouts and 144 walks in 187 1/3 innings.
In The Cardinal Nation's just-announced Prospect Top 40 rankings through April, Stoppelman dropped from 18 to 21. Wilson improved from 28 to 23. Llorens was an honorable mention. Unranked were Mateo, Garcia and Lopez.
To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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