Earlier this spring, four St. Louis Cardinals players chose not to report to minor league extended spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida. On working rosters, they were listed simply as "not in camp."
With the setting of season-opening rosters for the short-season clubs occurring this week, the status of the quartet has been clarified. Pitchers Mike Aldrete and Kyle Webb have chosen to retire. They remain Cardinals property should they change their minds and want to return to professional baseball.
Pitcher Andrew Pierce and second baseman Brett Wiley remain on suspension for the first 50 games of the short-season schedule at State College due to failed drug tests during the off-season. Unless there is a change in plans between now and mid-August, the two are expected to shift from the suspended list to join Aldrete and Webb on the voluntarily retired list.
Young Aldo Calls It Quits
Aldrete, 24, may have the highest profile of the group due to his name, shared with his father, St. Louis' bench coach and a former Major Leaguer. The younger, a right-handed pitcher, was the Cardinals' 39th–round selection in the 2012 draft from San Jose State.
Over his two years in the system, Aldrete appeared in 59 games, all in relief, logging a 6.07 ERA. He struck out 90 in 92 innings, but had control issues, walking 43 and throwing 20 wild pitches. Aldrete split his time last season between Peoria and State College.
Webb Moves On
Like the others in this article, Webb, 23, played at short-season Class-A State College last summer after he was selected in the 32nd round in June 2013 from Elon University. The right-hander had a promising start to his career with a 3.12 ERA in 26 innings over 17 NYPL contests. Webb fanned 20 and walked just four.
Suspension May be Pierce's Last Stand
Of this group, Pierce, 23, was certainly drafted earliest in his class and may have had the most success. Taken in the eighth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the former Southern Miss star earned our nod as The Cardinal Nation Rookie Starting Pitcher of the Year and was an honorable mention in TCN's top 40 prospect list for 2014.
Pierce pitched in 12 games for State College in 2013. In 42 2/3 New York-Penn League innings, the right-hander allowed 10 runs on 43 hits for a 2.11 ERA. He fanned 36, walked seven and did not allow a home run all summer (174 plate appearances).
Some of that promise unraveled on January 22, however, when Major League Baseball announced that Pierce was suspended for the first 50 games of the 2014 season after testing positive for an amphetamine.
Wiley Had Good Results, but Red Flag
In September, Wiley, 22, had been suspended for 50 games after also testing positive for an amphetamine. After starting 2013 with Class-A Peoria, the middle infielder had spent most of last summer in the New York-Penn League, where the left-handed hitter batted .337 with 18 RBI in 25 games. Overall last season, Wiley finished in the top three in the entire system in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS.
The Indiana native originally joined the Cardinals after being selected in the 13th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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