Cardinals Welcome 153 to Minors Spring Camp

The St. Louis Cardinals opened their 2015 minor league spring training camp with 153 active players.

OK, here was my challenge. How could I take a very long list of names and give it context and meaning without making it overly complex – while the target is moving?

The project seems simple enough – present the list of the St. Louis Cardinals’ invitees to 2015 minor league spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida. The attendees will essentially be competing for 100 jobs – 25 each on the organization’s four full-season clubs in Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria.

Yet, if you were given a simple list of names in alphabetical order, as I was, how would you be able to tell what levels of play the players came from as well as which ones are injured and which other names may be missing?

The basics

Ultimately, I decided to share the data with you the way I analyzed it – first broken out by level and position. Here is the high level summary, without names.

Minors camp summary Players   Minors camp summary Players
By year-end 2014 roster     By position  
Memphis 6   Starting pitchers 43
Springfield 20   Relief pitchers 46
Palm Beach 22   Catchers 16
Peoria 22   First base 8
State College 33   Second base 8
Johnson City 29   Shortstop  13
GCL 20   Third base 6
DSL  1   Outfield 24
Initially active  153      
Rehabbers 6      
Initial camp total 159      
March 14 MLB cuts 5      
New total 164   Total 164
Johnson City/GCL        
EST invitees 10      

As you have seen, the Cardinals opened camp with 153 active players. I determined six others are in the Jupiter complex, but inactive, presumably on the rehab list. To protect players’ rights under HIPAA regulations, injury details are not always made readily available, but I will share what I know so far below.

While I was chasing down that information, the Cards cut five players from big-league camp on Saturday morning, increasing the camp total to 164. As the detailed data below will remind us, there are at least 26 other player cuts from St. Louis coming, each of which will further swell the ranks of minor league camp. Some releases are bound to occur during the next three weeks, as well, keeping this list truly dynamic.

During my process of discovering who was who as camp opened, I learned of one new signee as well as one retiree. That was detailed in this article. Every other current player who completed the 2014 season on one of the Cardinals seven US affiliates is accounted for - either in Major League camp or minor league camp - with 10 exceptions.

By process of elimination while checking to ensure there were no other retirees or releases, I was left with a list of 10 players who are not in camp. They are all players from the 2014 Johnson City and Gulf Coast League clubs deemed not yet competitive enough to make Peoria or above out of spring training, or in the case of one player, serving a suspension. They will be invited to extended spring training camp, which follows regular spring training in April until June.

Finishing the roster reconciliation process was noting the inclusion of one player in minor league spring training camp from the 2014 Dominican Summer League. My guess is that catcher Dennis Ortega will remain in the US for extended spring training and will be joined at that time by a handful of his teammates from last season. More on that coming up in a few weeks.

If you came here for the basics, that is pretty much it. What follows is for those who want to join me in a deep dive into the names and numbers.

The gory details

My challenge here is to display information on nearly 200 players on a relatively narrow page. What I decided to do was orient the data in columns, including all positions at each level of play. (The other obvious alternative would have been to orient the data by position.)

I am starting with those minor leaguers still in big-league camp. Again, that group of 26 is not included in the minor league camp totals above. The second column is Saturday’s cuts. The third column lists those players in camp, but inactive. The final column lists the six players who finished last season at Memphis, but were not invited to Major League camp.

MLB camp (26) First cuts (5) Rehab (6) Memphis (6)
Petrick (NRI) Mayers (NRI) Melling (L) Whiting
Cooney (L NRI) Gast (L NRI) C Jones   
Lyons (L)   S Garcia (STEP)  
Greenwood (L)   K Butler Waldron
Tuivailala    B Lee Wright (L)
Siegrist (L)     Wyatt 
Villanueva (NRI)      
Kiekhefer (L NRI)      
Harris (NRI)      
Socolovich (NRI)      
Hatley (NRI)      
C C    
Easley  Ohlman    
Stanley  Rosario (NRI)    
Tartamella (NRI) Bean (NRI)    
C Kelly (NRI)      
1B     1B
Scruggs     Jon Rodriguez (STEP)
G Garcia      
T Kelly      
B Valera (NRI)      
J Wilson (NRI)      
SS   SS  
Anna   Herrera (STEP)  
A Diaz      
Moore (NRI)      
OF     OF
Pham      O'Neill
R Ortega (NRI)      
Piscotty (NRI)      
MLB camp (26) First cuts (5) Rehab (6) Memphis (6)
40-man roster      
(NRI) non-roster invitee      
(STEP) camp      
(L)eft-handed P      
(RL) restricted list      

In the case of the rehabbers, I expected to see Cory Jones and Keith Butler there and Tyler Melling was not a big surprise, either. All are coming off 2014 injuries. I know that first two had Tommy John surgery last season. Brandon Lee split his time between State College and Peoria last season. I was unaware of an injury to him until now.

More potentially concerning are a pair of STEP campers I had penciled onto the Palm Beach roster, right-handed starter Silfredo Garcia and shortstop Juan Herrera. I will do my best to learn more about their apparent injuries when I reach camp.

Springfield through State College

There is not a lot to add here. This group represents the core of the camp participants.

Springfield (20) Palm Beach (22) Peoria (22) State College (33)
Cornelius (L) Reed (L) Ar Reyes  F Baez
Heyer Littrell (L) Al Reyes (STEP) D Perez (L)
Sherriff (L)   McKnight  Anderson
Hald (L)   Kaminsky (L STEP) Nielsen (STEP)
Petree    Holback Poncedeleon
    Brookshire (L) Schumacher
    Perdomo Gomber (L)
    Helisek (L) McKinney (L)
C Thomas Perry (STEP) Polanco Grana
Donofrio (STEP) Llorens Barraclough (STEP) Lomascolo (L)
Baker T Lee  Bray Scanio 
Stoppelman (L) Shaban Loraine  J Lucas
Swagerty Herget Booden Rauh
Blair Sabatino (L)   Hawkins (L)
  Billbrough   J Bautista
  Nazario (L)   Alexander
C C   C
Jo Gonzalez Velazco   L Cruz (STEP)
  Rosenberg   O'Keefe (STEP)
  1B 1B 1B
  Washington Ringo Stone
  Voit   A DeLeon
  2B   2B
  Katz (STEP)   Seferina
      R Reyes
Mejia Caldwell Pedroza Pina
M Williams C Valera    Wiley 
Vargas     Sohn
      Sosa (STEP)
3B   3B 3B
Wisdom (STEP) Schulze  Diekroeger
    R Medina  
    R Garcia  
Martini Gibson McElroy (STEP) Vigo
S Rodriguez An Garcia (STEP) R Castillo Peoples-Walls
Tilson (STEP) Bosco Bryan  Thompson
Popkins   Wick Acevedo
Springfield (20) Palm Beach (22) Peoria (22) State College (33)

Johnson City through Gulf Coast League

Here are the final 50 players invited to minor league camp, including the one DSL player. The final column has the 10 exceptions not in camp, as noted above. All finished last season at either Johnson City or the GCL.

Of special note are the three top pitchers from the 2014 draft who will certainly shoot up in the system after getting a head start in STEP camp – Luke Weaver, Andrew Morales and Jack Flaherty.

Johnson City (29)  GCL (20) DSL (1) EST JC/GCL (9+1)
J Perez Weaver (STEP)    
J Mateo Morales (STEP)    
D Martinez Flaherty (STEP)    
Pearce R Williams    
Farinaro Dobzanski    
Beck Jor Rodriguez    
  R Santos    
I Brito (L) S DeLaCruz   Silva (L)
Escudero Bohannan   Wirsu
Caballero  Frey   Gallardo
Villegas Reidt   Higgins
Then  Ward   Y Medina (RL)
Kuebel (L)     DeLorenzo (L)
C C C  
Lankford J Lopez D Ortega  
Godoy F Rodriguez    
Neil E Rodriguez     
2B 2B    
Turgeon Collymore     
C Rivera Massi    
SS     SS
Mercado (STEP)     Muscarello
E Alvarez      
OF     Asbury 
Drake (STEP)     R Bautista 
Lacy     B Sanchez
Sierra (STEP)      
Johnson City (29)  GCL (20) DSL (1) EST JC/GCL (9+1)

What is next?

These players will begin games this Thursday, March 19, with the first official contests against external competition the next day. Here is a link to the Cardinals full minor league spring training game schedule.

Once games begin, look for nightly summary reports from these contests - back for another spring at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

By mid-next week, I hope to share early version of the Cardinals working rosters by level from minor league camp.

Bookmark the Roster Matrix

To see the full 2014 season-ending rosters by level and position for the entire Cardinals system on one page, along with every transaction all season long, check out the Roster Matrix, always up-to-date and free at The Cardinal Nation blog.

Join the Spring Training discussion with other Cardinals fans here

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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