24 on Johnson City Cardinals Working Roster

The St. Louis Cardinals have assigned 24 players to the Johnson City Cardinals with more on the way. They include 2013 second-rounder, shortstop Oscar Mercado.

On Friday, June 13, the first 24 players who will make up the core of the St. Louis Cardinals' top rookie level club reported to Johnson City, Tennessee.

Along with others from the 2014 draft class yet to be signed and announced, the 2014 Johnson City Cardinals will officially first take the field for their opener this Thursday, June 19.

The initial group includes eight members selected by the Cardinals in last week's draft. They include four pitchers and four position players, led by 12th-rounder Jordan DeLorenzo and 13th-rounder Matt Pearce. Both are right-handed pitchers. Among the hitters are outfielder Blake Drake, taken in the 18th round and 21st-round pick, first baseman Casey Grayson.

Three players chosen in the 2013 draft are also tentative JC Cardinals. Headlining that group is second-round shortstop Oscar Mercado, ranked 22nd among Cardinals prospects by The Cardinal Nation, along with outfielders Devante Lacy and Anthony Ray.

Of the 10 Latin American players on the roster originally signed as free agents, top prospects include right-handed pitcher Juan Perez, catcher Jose Godoy and outfielder Bladimil Franco. The latter is making the jump to the Appalachian League directly from the Dominican Summer League.

One player is a Rule 5 addition, first baseman Jesus Ustariz. Two other new Cardinals were signed as US free agents during the off-season, catcher Charlie Neil and pitcher Kevin Carlow. That makes 24.

There are four teenagers on the club, including Perez, the youngest at 18. The others whose 20th birthdays are still ahead are Godoy, Mercado and Ray. Free agents Carlow and Neil are the oldest at 23 and 24, respectively.

Here is the entire tentative roster.

Pitchers (11) B T H W Hm Age Obtained
Landon Beck R R 6'3'' 220 GA 21 25th Round (2014)
Ismael Brito L L 5'11'' 170 VZ 21 Undrafted FA (2010)
Jordan DeLorenzo L L 6'1'' 205 FL 21 12th Round (2014)
Jonathan Escudero R R 6'1'' 165 CO 20 Undrafted FA (2010)
Anderson Gerdel R R 6'4'' 204 VZ 21 Undrafted FA (2010)
Matt Pearce R R 6'3'' 205 FL 20 13th Round (2014)
Juan Perez R R 6'2'' 195 VZ 18 Undrafted FA (2012)
Isaac Silva L L 6'2'' 190 DR 21 Undrafted FA (2012)
Kender Villegas R R 6'2'' 170 VZ 21 Undrafted FA (2010)
Josh Wirsu R R 6'0'' 190 GA 20 30th Round (2014)
Kevin Carlow L R 6'3" 200 CT 23 FA (2014)
Catchers (4) B T H W Hm Age Obtained
Jose Godoy L R 5'11'' 180 VZ 19 Undrafted FA (2012)
Jose Gomez R R 5'11'' 183 VZ 22 Undrafted FA (2010)
Cole Lankford L R 6'0'' 185 TX 21 27th Round (2014)
Charlie Neil B R 6'5'' 195 TX 24 FA (2014)
Infielders (4) B T H W Hm Age Obtained
Casey Grayson L L 6'1'' 215 TX 22 21st Round (2014)
Oscar Mercado R R 6'2'' 175 FL 19 2nd Round (2013)
Casey Turgeon R R 5'10'' 160 FL 21 24th Round (2014)
Jesus Ustariz R R 6'1'' 192 VZ 21 Undrafted FA (2010)
Outfielders (5) B T H W Hm Age Obtained
Blake Drake R R 6'1'' 175 CA 20 18th Round (2014)
Bladimil Franco R R 6'0'' 170 DR 20 Undrafted FA (2012)
Devante Lacy R R 5'9'' 180 TX 20 24th Round (2013)
Anthony Ray L R 6'1'' 165 IL 19 36th Round (2013)
Carlos Torres R R 6'3'' 160 VZ 21 Undrafted FA (2011)

Returning manager Johnny Rodriguez and pitching coach Paul Davis are being joined by new hitting coach Chris Swauger. Previously announced as returning in 2014, the prior hitting coach, Roberto Espinoza, is now working with the major league club instead.

Again, This is Not Final

Be aware that a handful of youngsters currently on the State College roster could still be bumped down to Johnson City. That is entirely dependent on which draftees sign in the next week. The decisions will be based on where the players can get the most innings or at-bats.

That potential population would most likely include those previously-signed players who are making the jump all the way from the Gulf Coast League, such as starting pitchers Steven Farinaro, Dailyn Martinez and Ian McKinney and infielders Rafael Medina and Chris Rivera.

For more information

The Johnson City roster page here on the main site is not yet 100 percent accurate. I will be moving other players around as their new rosters are announced.

Of course, more signings may be announced every few days.

Click here to see the basic biographical information for all Cardinals draftees. Remember that by clicking on any highlighted player name, you will be taken to his individual player profile page. There, all the prior information we have about him is available – articles, injury news, photos, videos, interviews and more - all in one place.

For those who want to dig in and both see and read details about the 42 players selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, The Cardinal Nation has a very comprehensive set of reports for you to view.

2014 St. Louis Cardinals Draft Cliffs Notes
Cardinals Draft Day Three coverage (rounds 11-40)
Cardinals Draft Day Two coverage (rounds 3-10)
Cardinals Draft Day One coverage (rounds 1-2)

Finally, to see which drafted players are signed and which are not at any time over the upcoming days and weeks, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog. All signed players will be assigned to team rosters there and here on the main site once all short-season minor league clubs are set.

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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