Memphis Temp Roster Provides Clues, Rewards

Not all of the Memphis Redbirds to suit up Friday night will be with the team on Opening Day. Brian Walton explains who and why.

As most St. Louis Cardinals fans know, the Major Leaguers are playing the Memphis Redbirds in a Friday night exhibition game in Memphis’ AutoZone Park. Both starting pitchers, Tim Cooney for Memphis (pictured above) and Marco Gonzales for St. Louis, should help anchor the 2015 Redbirds rotation.

Officially, St. Louis still has 32 active players on its spring roster, though the seven players to be “left behind” in Memphis after the game are known. The Cardinals have already made that clear by announcing the 25 to open the season.

In addition, the Redbirds have 24 players on their temporary roster for the Friday game.

Looking ahead to how Memphis may get to its 25 for its season opener on Thursday, April 9, here is the basic math: 24 plus seven minus six equals 25.

The seven from St. Louis include injured Tommy Pham, who seems destined for the disabled list. However, he will be replaced on the Redbirds’ opening day roster by Gary Brown, acquired via waivers from San Francisco on Friday.

So, 24 plus seven more active players equals 31. That means six of the players currently on the temporary Memphis roster are likely to be placed elsewhere in the system for opening day. 31 minus six equals the 25-man target to start the Pacific Coast League season.

My educated guesses as the identity of those six players, likely brought along to Memphis as a reward and to ensure the Redbirds have a full roster for the exhibition, are noted with an asterisk (*) below. Next to them, I have lined up the players coming from St. Louis who will likely replace them. Those to be replaced may all be position players.

  Temp with  Coming from
  Memphis (24) St. Louis (7+1)
Pitchers (10)    
Starters Cooney Gonzales
Lefties Gast  
  Greenwood  
  Kiekhefer  
  Lyons  
Righties Petrick Hatley 
  Socolovich Harris
  Tuivailala  
  Waldron  
  Whiting  
     
Catchers (3) Easley  
  Stanley  
  Tartamella *  
     
Infielders (7) Scruggs  
  G Garcia  
  Anna  
  Wilson  
  Wisdom * Moore
  Williams * T Kelly
  B Valera *  
     
Outfielders (4) Ortega  
  O'Neill  
  A Garcia * Brown (via waivers)
  Mc Elroy * Piscotty
    Pham (likely DL)
     
* projected not    
with Memphis    

In my assessment, third baseman Patrick Wisdom is filling in for Scott Moore. Middle infielders Breyvic Valera and Matt Williams will step aside for Ty Kelly. Outfielders Anthony Garcia and C.J. McElroy will be replaced by Stephen Piscotty and Brown. If the Redbirds carry a third catcher in Travis Tartamella, the spot of infielder Jacob Wilson would be most at-risk, in my estimation.

The three pitchers coming from St. Louis (Marco Gonzales, Mitch Harris and Marcus Hatley) plus the 10 pitchers on the Memphis temporary roster may not require further adjustment – or at worst case, maybe one pitcher would be sent out. If that occurs and 12 pitchers are kept, my guess is that newcomer Tyler Waldron might be the one to go. Carrying 12 pitchers could allow both Tartamella and Wilson to remain.

Of course, this all assumes that both clubs get through the exhibition unscathed. Along with giving selected youngsters a first view of the team and ballpark where they may soon play, another reason to have extra players along is for the practical contingency of injury.

Stay tuned to The Cardinal Nation for more full-season roster information over the next week.

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

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