While our popular St. Louis Cardinals Monthly Prospect Rankings will be back for 2015, its first edition will not come out until real baseball begins – in April. In the meantime, I continue with a weekly look at how the members of The Cardinal Nation’s 2015 top 40 prospect list and other minor leaguers are doing in Major League camp.
Before camp opened, I went on record with my predictions of which players I thought would make the Major League roster out of spring training. I did the same for all four of the full-season minor league clubs. Click here to be taken to the Peoria article, as links to the other four team’s articles are included at the end.
I am using those predictions in the tables below, but we should all understand that the roster targets are constantly moving throughout camp based on injuries and performance as the Cardinals figure out who best fits where.
Of course, the usual small sample size warnings are relevant. Think of this as a hot-lukewarm-cold look from a seven-day period that could and likely will change substantially from one week to next.
With two days off and the Monday, March 23rd rainout, which washed away almost five innings of stats, the timing of this report slid a bit to the right. In other words, I waited for a week of baseball to be played. In fact, with split squad contests on Friday, March 27, we actually get eight games in this report.
Six Grapefruit League games plus the Memphis exhibition remain to be played.
This time around, the Cardinals were just over .500, with a 4-3-1 week. That is slightly down from their 7-5-1 start. Six of the eight games were held at familiar Roger Dean Stadium.
St. Louis’ staff continues to lead the way. The pitchers lowered their cumulative ERA to 3.26, third in all of MLB. Their opponent batting average of .235 is lowest of all 30 squads.
The team batting average has sunk to .260, 18th in MLB, as the power questions continue. The Cardinals’ slugging of .378 is 27th of 30.
The Cardinals opened big-league camp with 57 players invited, with 39 on the 40-man roster and 18 non-roster invitees. They are all vying for one of the 25-man roster spots to open the season.
In two cuts during the week, 10 players were sent to minor league camp. Of the 38 remaining, 32 are from the 40-man roster and six are NRIs.
Six of the 38 are members of The Cardinal Nation top 40 for 2015 – one pitcher and five position players. Another six minor leaguers in total are in Major League camp, either as members of the 40-man or as non-roster invitees, but did not place among our top 40.
This rapidly-dwindling group of 12 is those about whom I will be reporting below. Of course, the list of 12 we are now tracking here – three pitchers and nine position players - will further decline in count each week as camp continues and cuts are made.
I rank each player based on his momentum this past week – high/medium/low. I want to be clear that is NOT how I assess their chances of making the team – see the column I call “Prediction” for where I thought as camp opened that the player will start in April. Players will remain “medium” unless I see as a clear reason to shift them.
Innings pitched (IP) and earned run average (ERA) are for first 21 games of the spring, coming into play on Saturday, March 28.
The ten cuts this past week are as follows. The pitchers are Sam Tuivailala, Tim Cooney, Zach Petrick, Nick Greenwood, Dean Kiekhefer and Miguel Socolovich. Position players included catchers Cody Stanley and Travis Tartamella, shortstop Aledmys Diaz and outfielder Rafael Ortega.
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Perhaps I am a tough grader, but of the nine position players we are tracking, none are considered “hot.” Six are rated “lukewarm,” while three are “cold.” As it gets so late in camp, few are getting enough at-bats.
Dean Anna went 2-for-7, with one a game-winner, bringing his average up to the Mendoza Line. Scott Moore had four hits in 13 at-bats, with two going for extra bases. Though the third baseman might be the hottest hitter of this lot, it still improved his spring average to just .229.
25-man roster contender Ty Kelly endured a bumpy 1-for-10 week, lowering his spring batting average to .212.
STEP camp hitters to see MLB game action included outfield returnees Charlie Tilson (defensive replacement, then twice appeared as a pinch runner with a stolen base and run scored) and C.J. McElroy (four games, including three pinch-running appearances, and the third time, he came around to score and stayed in to play left field; he drew a walk in a plate appearance in the other contest and played in left).
New minor leaguers to appear were Anthony Ray (0-for-1), Blake Drake (0-for-3 in two appearances) and Rowan Wick (0-for-1). Second baseman Matt Williams singled in his only plate appearance while Robelys Reyes pinch-ran but was out stealing. All five had a chance to play in the field, as well.
Wednesday, 3/18: Off day
Thursday, 3/19 vs. Mets: None of the Cards’ four hits came from prospects. Wilson, Piscotty, Diaz, Stanley and Kelly went a combined 0-for-6.
Friday, 3/20 at Mets: Moore singled, doubled, homered and plated two. Piscotty had an RBI. Kelly and Scruggs each went 0-for-3.
Saturday, 3/21 vs. Braves: Anna’s RBI single scored the game’s only run.
Sunday, 3/22 at Orioles: Stanley doubled, walked and stole a base. Piscotty singled and swiped a bag himself, and scored a run.
Monday, 3/23 at Red Sox: Rained out
Tuesday, 3/24: Off day
Wednesday, 3/25: vs. Nationals: Scruggs walked and stole a base. Kelly had a sacrifice fly.
Thursday, 3/26: vs. Marlins: Piscotty doubled and drove in a run. Kelly singled and Anna drew a walk.
Friday, 3/27: vs. Mets (split squad): Rafael Ortega homered twice and drove in four of the Cardinals’ five runs. Moore and Easley singled. Anna walked and scored a run.
Friday, 3/27: at Nationals (split squad): Scruggs drew a free pass.
To see the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and non-roster spring training invitees, STEP campers and more, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
Prior article in this series
Cards Pitching Prospect Momentum: Spring Week 3
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