2014 Dominican Summer League Cards Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals begin their eighth season in the Dominican Summer League. We have all the inside information!

The first weekend in June marks the traditional opening weekend of the rookie-level Dominican Summer League and 2014 is no different. This Saturday, May 31, the St. Louis Cardinals' club open the new season against the Baltimore Orioles #2 squad.

In preparation for the opener, the Cardinals were required to submit their 35-man active roster. Here is how they got there.

11 players from the 2013 DSL Cardinals had been in the US competing in extended spring training, but one was returned, outfielder Luis Bandes. He joined a group of 43 holdovers.

From the 44 competitors, four have been sidelined with long-term injuries, placed on the 60-day disabled list. Six were released on cut down day, Friday, May 30. That dropped the roster to 34. There is one additional new signee, whose approvals are not yet complete.

The breakdown

The opening day 34 includes 17 pitchers, of which six are left-handed. The roster includes four catchers, six infielders and seven outfielders.

The international roster has players from six nations. Just over half, 18, call the Dominican Republic home. 10 are from Venezuela with two each from Nicaragua and Panama and one each from Mexico and Colombia. All five of the disabled players and the pending signee are Dominicans.

The roster

To see the entire DSL Cardinals roster, up to date and correct, click here. Each player has a profile in our database with the limited information about him that is currently available.

Be aware that 2013 DSL Cards currently in extended spring training camp are still being carried on the 2014 DSL roster until they have officially been assigned to a new US-based team. They are denoted by "EST" instead of a jersey number.

On the 60-Day DL

Two pitchers and two position players were placed on the 60-day disabled list – right-handed pitcher Estarlin Arias and lefty Frendy Gavin plus catcher Sergio Ripoll and first baseman Dariel Gomez.

The new guy

The Cardinals have come to terms with a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher, Jeikel Feliz. He is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. Feliz will remain on the restricted list until his approvals are complete.

The releases

Six Cardinals are now former Cardinals. Leaving the organization are two pitchers, two infielders and two outfielders.

The pitchers are right-handers Miguel Caigua (18) and Ronald Sanchez (20). Caigua actually never pitched for the Cardinals, having signed earlier this year. Signed in March 2013, Sanchez threw one season in the DSL, logging a 5.56 ERA in 11 appearances covering 11 1/3 innings. The 6-foot-5, 180-pounder issued 12 walks.

The released infielders are second baseman Yunior Sanchez (18) and shortstop Diory Paulino (19). Like Ronald Sanchez, Yunior was signed in March 2013 and played one season in the DSL. The switch-hitter posted a quiet line of .152/.197/.250 in 66 at-bats over 27 contests. Paulino also signed in the spring of 2013 after playing two games for the 2012 DSL Red Sox before his contract was voided. As a Cardinal, the right-handed batter's line was .200/.273/.308.

The now ex-Cardinals outfielders are Ruben Encarnacion and Ramon Luna, both 19 years of age. Signed last February, Encarnacion's slash line was .225/.269/.324. Like the prior four, Luna had just one season to perform, and did not do it. His results were weak – a line of .164/.224/.253.

The schedule

For the second consecutive season, the Cardinals will be playing their home games at the Las Americas complex. This is an interim step to the Cardinals getting their own new academy. At Las Americas, they share the facility with the Washington Nationals. The original tenants at Las Americas were the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies.

With Las Americas located near Santo Domingo, the Cardinals continue their division alignment in the Boca Chica South. The number of other clubs in the division has grown from seven last year to nine this season. Returning are five: the Nationals, Orioles (#2 team), Reds, Mets (#1) and Yankees (#1). Leaving the division are the Cubs and Pirates (#2). The four new division combatants are the Rockies, Red Sox, Giants and Mariners.

Unlike last season, the Cards will play all of their games within their division – eight contests each against nine opponents for a total of 72 games on the schedule. In 2013, the Cardinals also had a handful of games against clubs from the San Pedro de Macoris Division – the Braves, Tigers, Brewers and Blue Jays – but that is no longer the case.

As always, DSL contests start at 10:30 AM. Two-game home-and-away series are the norm, with three series per week. Play occurs six days weekly, with Sundays off. The All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, July 20 with playoffs scheduled to begin August 25.

The staff

Manager Fray Peniche is back for a fourth season after piloting his 2013 club to a 35-36 record, good for fifth place in the division. New hitting coach and former major leaguer Erick Almonte joins the organization. Bill Villanueva starts his seventh season guiding the DSL Cardinals pitchers and coach John Matos, an infield specialist, returns as well.

The trainer is Amauris Ramirez with Carlos Nin in charge of strength and conditioning.

Daily reports

As always, our Minor League Notebooks will include the daily DSL Cardinals results starting with Sunday morning, June 1.

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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