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.
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|
|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.
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.
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