Late Saturday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals had thinned their Major League camp population when they sent six pitchers to minor league camp. Following Monday’s rain-shortened game, the club announced a set of companion moves - four position players have also been sent out. None had been expected to make the major league roster out of camp.
Among the latest group, two 40-man roster players, shortstop Aledmys Diaz and catcher Cody Stanley, have been optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Non-roster invitees, catcher Travis Tartamella and outfielder Rafael Ortega, were reassigned to Memphis and will join the others in minor league camp.
These moves reduce the 40-man roster population in Major League camp to 32 and non-roster invitees to six as the team moves toward its opening day limit of 25.
Ranked number 12th among Cardinals minor leaguers in The Cardinal Nation top 40 prospect list for 2015, Diaz was expected (by me, at least) to receive more action in his first full major league camp.
Instead, the 24-year-old Cuban had just nine plate appearances in six games. Diaz had two singles and a walk, collected one RBI, struck out once and was caught stealing.
His chance of making Memphis’ roster may be improved if St. Louis goes with Ty Kelly as a utility man. Even so, however, one might assume that Dean Anna, Greg Garcia and Jacob Wilson are still ahead of him in the middle infield pecking order. If so, a return to Springfield seems most likely.
Stanley impressed with his hitting this spring, with a .417 batting average, albeit in limited duty. Of the catcher’s five hits, four went for extra bases - three doubles and a home run. The 26-year-old drove in three, walked four times compared to two strikeouts and even stole a base.
I expect Stanley, TCN’s 26th-ranked prospect, to share the Memphis catching job with veteran Ed Easley.
Ortega, 23, was in 2014 camp as a 40-man roster player after having been claimed from Texas last January. However, he was removed last September and went unclaimed.
This spring, Ortega struggled at the plate. In 22 at-bats over 17 games, he had a single and a double for an .091 average. The left-handed hitter drove in two, did not walk, struck out three times and stole one base in three attempts.
Tartamella appeared in two games and struck out in his lone at-bat with St. Louis this spring. The 27-year-old, a respected receiver but a below-average hitter, may go back to bouncing between Memphis and Springfield.
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