Cardinals Invite 38 to Instructional League

The St. Louis Cardinals hand-picked 19 pitchers and 19 position players for a special fall camp.

For the third consecutive year after a brief interruption, the St. Louis Cardinals will be holding their fall instructional league camp in Jupiter, Fla. during September and October. The focus is on individualized instruction for a specially-chosen group of players.

38 players have been invited this year, a symmetric group of 19 pitchers and 19 position players. That compares to 16 and 21, respectively, last fall. Though most competed in short-season ball this past summer, several have reached as far as A-Advanced Palm Beach.

Breakdown by level of play

Level Club #
A-Advanced Palm Beach 2
Class-A Peoria 9
Short-season A State College 10
Rookie Johnson City 8
Rookie Gulf Coast 6
Rookie Dominican  3
Total   38

Williams
Among the players invited are the two high schoolers taken in the first and second rounds of this June’s draft: Pitchers Jack Flaherty (1st) and Ronnie Williams (2nd). College hurlers also taken in those rounds, Luke Weaver (1st) and Andrew Morales (2nd), have been given the fall off.

A former first-rounder in catcher Steve Bean (2012) will be participating again this year. Second-rounders from the prior two years will also be back at instructs: shortstop Oscar Mercado (2013) and catcher Carson Kelly (2012).

Seven members of the Cardinals’ 2014 draft class plus free agent signee Jery Then are among the 38. The other draftees from this June are second baseman Darren Seferina (5th), catcher Brian O’Keefe (7th), third baseman Danny Diekroeger (10th), outfielder Blake Drake (18th) and pitcher Bryan Dobzanski (29th, but bonused like an early third-rounder).

Among other 2013 draftees back for a second year at instructs are infielder Mason Katz (4th), left-hander Ian McKinney (5th), third baseman Chris Rivera (7th), second baseman Malik Collymore (10th) and right-hander Steven Farinaro (11th).

Collymore
Standouts from the 2014 season scheduled to participate include first baseman Alex De Leon, shortstop Juan Herrera and outfielders Rowan Wick and Magneuris Sierra. Wick, Kelly and outfielder C.J. McElroy, catcher Luis Cruz plus pitchers Fernando Baez, Juan Perez and Dewin Perez will be participating in their third straight fall camp.

11 invitees finished the 2014 regular season in full-season ball, up from seven the year before. The group is led by Herrera and Katz from Palm Beach. The others, all with Peoria, are catchers Bean and Kelly, outfielders McElroy, Wick and Vaughn Bryan plus pitchers Kyle Barraclough, Luis Perdomo, Jhonny Polanco and Alex Reyes.

Speaking of Reyes, the Cards’ highly-touted free agent pitching signee from 2013, this year’s version is also invited. Junior Fernandez, a 17-year-old right-hander, competed in the Dominican Summer League after signing on July 2nd for a reported bonus of $400,000.

Along with Fernandez, two other pitchers are coming to the US for the first time from the Dominican Summer League, the lowest end of the experience spectrum. They are right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Derian Gonzalez.

13 of the 38 are ranked among The Cardinal Nation’s top 40 prospects coming into August, including four in the top 20: Reyes (6th), Kelly (10th), Flaherty (14th) and Herrera (17th). Two others are knocking on the door as honorable mentions (HM) last month.

The roster

Pitchers (19) Pos Team TCN   Pos. Players (19) Pos Team TCN
Alcantara, Sandy RP DSL     Bean, Steve C Peo  
Baez, Fernando RP SC 30   Kelly, Carson C Peo 10
Barraclough, Kyle RP Peo     O'Keefe, Brian C SC  
Dobzanski, Brian RP GCL 36   Cruz, Luis C SC  
Farinaro, Steven  RP JC     DeLeon, Alex 1B SC  
Fernandez, Junior RP DSL     Collymore, Malik 2B  GCL HM
Flaherty, Jack RP GCL 14   Katz, Mason 2B PB 35
Gonzalez, Derian RP DSL     Seferina, Darren 2B SC  
Mateo, Julio RP JC     Mercado, Oscar SS JC 27
McKinney, Ian LP SC 21   Herrera, Juan SS PB 17
Parra, Frederis RP GCL     Reyes, Robelys SS SC  
Perdomo, Luis RP Peo     Sosa, Edmundo SS SC 25
Perez, Dewin LP SC     Diekroeger, Danny 3B SC  
Perez, Juan RP JC     Rivera, Chris 3B JC  
Polanco, Johnny RP Peo     McElroy, C.J. OF Peo 29
Reyes, Alex RP Peo 6   Wick, Rowan OF Peo HM
Santos, Ramon RP GCL     Sierra, Magneuris OF JC 32
Then, Jery RP JC     Bryan, Vaughn OF Peo  
Williams, Ronnie RP GCL 40   Drake, Blake OF JC  

The calendar

The players are scheduled to hold their first full workout on Friday, September 19. Daily 1 p.m. games begin on the 24th with just two games scheduled against external competition – versus the Mets on September 26 and October 3. The final contests of camp will be played on Tuesday, October 7.

The staff

A number of Cardinals minor league managers and coaches will participate in some or all of instructs, led by camp coordinator Mark DeJohn. The systems’ three coordinators will also be present – Derrick May (hitting), Tim Leveque (pitching) and Luis Aguayo (infield).

Bonus participants

In addition to the 38 regular invitees, the Cardinals’ Arizona Fall League contingent of seven players will again be in camp. They will prepare for their time in the desert by participating in Instructional League during the final week of September. Along with pitching coach Jason Simontacchi, the AFL players will report to the Peoria Javelinas in Surprise, Arizona at the start of October.

More from The Cardinal Nation

As has been the case for much of the last decade, I will be reporting first-hand from both the Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League, continuing The Cardinal Nation’s direct coverage of Cardinals prospects not provided anywhere else.





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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