As the St. Louis Cardinals player development team assembles their season-opening rosters, some players will be left behind – unable to secure a spot on one of the four full-season clubs and too old and uncompetitive to remain behind in extended spring training.
After six releases announced Thursday, the spring release count since camp began last month is up to 12.
The latest group to be released include infielders Michael Schulze and Rafael Medina, outfielder Brian Vigo and pitchers Michael Holback, Dylan Hawkins and Andrew Reidt. None had advanced beyond Class-A Peoria.
Schulze, Medina and Holback were members of the 2014 Chiefs of the Midwest League. Vigo, also known as Vigo-Suarez, was on the roster of short-season State College, but missed most of the summer due to injury. Hawkins and Reidt pitched for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals. Two, Schulze and Reidt, have Missouri ties.
Three originally joined the system in the 2013 draft while the other three were free agent signings. None of the releases were surprising. In my pre-camp roster prediction series, I had forecast none of these players making a full season club. The roster pressure was too great and their 2014 performances did not stand out.
Schulze, 23, and a native of Lee’s Summit, MO, was St. Louis’ 19th-round pick in the 2013 draft from Missouri Western State College. The infielder played for State College after signing, then spent all of 2014 with Peoria. As a pro, the left-handed hitter registered a line of .244/.307/.293/.600 in 430 at-bats over 140 games.
Medina, 23, had the longest tenure of any of the released six, having signed on Christmas Eve of 2009 from the Dominican Republic. After two seasons in the Dominican Summer League and two more in the Gulf Coast League, the corner infielder spent most of 2014 with Peoria, where he struggled mightily, posting a line of .200/.264/.290/.554. Overall, the right-handed batter finishes his Cardinals career at .249/.341/.335/.676 with nine home runs and 85 RBI in 711 at-bats over 229 games.
Holback, 22, was the organization’s 25th-round selection in the 2013 draft from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. The right-hander pitched in Johnson City after signing, but could only take the mound for three games for Peoria last season due to injury. Over his 19 pro appearances, including seven starts, Holback had a 2.74 ERA to go with 57 strikeouts and 22 walks in 46 innings of work.
Vigo, 23, had joined the Cardinals in June 2013 as a non-drafted free agent from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. In 61 at-bats over 26 professional games, the right-handed batter’s slash line was .164/.227/.197/.427.
Hawkins, 21, hailing from Eastern Florida State College, had signed as a non-drafted free agent in June of 2013. The left-hander pitched in the GCL both of his professional seasons plus one game with State College. His career ERA is 2.83 in 63 2/3 innings over 35 appearances, 29 in relief. The youngest in this group of releases, Hawkins struck out 60 and walked 21.
Reidt, 23, had just one short-season campaign to prove himself as a professional. The Gray Summit, MO native by way of Cameron University of Oklahoma, signed as a non-drafted free agent last June. The right-hander posted a 4.15 ERA with 23 strikeouts against three walks in 30 1/3 GCL innings.
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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.
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