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
|Short-season A||State College||10|
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).
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.
|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 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.
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).
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.
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