For the fourth consecutive year after a brief interruption, the St. Louis Cardinals will be holding their fall instructional league camp in Jupiter, Fla. during September and October. The focus is on individualized instruction for a specially-chosen group of players.
42 players have been invited this year, a group of 20 pitchers and 22 position players. That compares to 19 each last fall. This is enough to have two teams, but few enough to focus on the player.
A major difference in the 2015 camp compared to prior years is that no players from this June’s draft have been invited. In past years, high schoolers were often included, with college draftees typically sent home. For example, last year, prep-drafted pitchers Jack Flaherty (1st round) and Ronnie Williams (2nd) participated, but college hurlers Luke Weaver (1st) and Andrew Morales (2nd), were given the fall off.
In term of experience levels, while most competed in short-season ball this past summer, the number of players at each level from A-Advanced Palm Beach down to the Dominican Summer League is fairly consistent. Overall, this is a more experienced group than in the past.
Breakdown by level of play
|State College||Short-season A||7|
Almost a third - 13 of the 42 - are ranked among The Cardinal Nation’s top 40 prospects as of August. That includes four in the top 20: outfielder Magneuris Sierra (13th), shortstop Oscar Mercado (15th), shortstop Edmundo Sosa (17th) and catcher Carson Kelly (18th). Also knocking on the door are two honorable mentions (HM) last month.
The invitees boast two recent batting champions – Sierra and shortstop Allen Cordoba from the 2014 and 2015 Gulf Coast Leagues, respectively.
On the pitching side, three products of the international program are especially noteworthy. They include 100-mph hurlers Sandy Alcantara and Junior Fernandez along with the Cardinals’ top July 2nd signing from 2015, Alvaro Seijas. In doing so, Seijas is following the same path the big 2014 signing, Fernandez, charted. Seijas signed for a reported $762,500.
Other uninvited pitching prospects for whom workload may be a concern include Peoria’s Jack Flaherty and Luis Perdomo of Palm Beach.
|Pitchers (20)||Th||Tm||TCN||Position Players (22)||Pos||Tm||TCN|
|Alcantara, Sandy||RH||GCL||34||Bean, Steve||C||PEO|
|Arias, Estarlin||RH||GCL||Godoy, Jose||C||SC|
|De La Cruz, Steven||RH||SC||Kelly, Carson||C||PB||18|
|Diaz, Oneiver||RH||DSL||Rivera, Chris||C||JC|
|Dobzanski, Bryan||RH||JC||33||O'Keefe, Brian||C||PEO|
|Fernandez, Junior||RH||GCL||HM||Rodriguez, Elier||C/1B||SC|
|Gomber, Austin||LH||PEO||36||Grayson, Casey||1B||SC|
|Gonzalez, Derian||RH||GCL||Rodriguez, Carlos||1B||DSL|
|McKinney, Ian||LH||PEO||22||Katz, Mason||2B||PB||39|
|Perez, Dewin||LH||PEO||Alvarez, Eliezer||2B||JC||29|
|Perez, Enrique||LH||DSL||Seferina, Darren||2B||PEO||38|
|Perez, Juan||RH||SC||HM||Pina, Leobaldo||SS||SC|
|Rodriguez, Jorge||RH||SC||Sosa, Edmundo||SS||JC||17|
|Santos, Ramon||RH||JC||Mercado, Oscar||SS||PEO||15|
|Seijas, Alvaro||RH||DSL||Cordoba, Allen||SS||GCL|
|Stoppleman, Lee||LH||PB||Montero, Elehuris||3B||DSL|
|Then, Jery||RH||PEO||Diekroeger, Danny||3B||PB|
|Wick, Rowan||RH||GCL||McElroy, C.J.||OF||PB||40|
|Williams, Ronnie||RH||JC||24||Radack, Collin||OF||PB|
|Wirsu, Josh||RH||JC||Sierra, Magneuris||OF||JC||13|
Camp begins on Monday, September 14. The 23-game schedule consists of 17 camp days, in which the Cardinals will play each other, along with six games against external competition – three each against the Marlins and Mets. With the exception of an off-day on Sunday, September 27 and games at Port St. Lucie on Monday, October 5, the Cards are scheduled for Jupiter action daily through the final day of camp, on Wednesday, October 7.
A number of Cardinals minor league managers and coaches will participate in some or all of instructs, led by camp coordinator Mark DeJohn. The system’s coordinators will also be present, including Derrick May (hitting), Tim Leveque (pitching) and Ron “Pop” Warner (infield).
In addition to the 42 regular invitees, the Cardinals’ Arizona Fall League contingent of eight players are expected to again be in camp. They will prepare for their time in the desert by participating in Instructional League in late September. The AFL players will report to the Surprise Saguaros in Arizona in early October.
September 11 update
The Cardinals made a switch of left-handed relievers with Lee Stoppelman taken off the instructional league roster and Sasha Kuebel added. Infielder Mason Katz has been removed from the instructional league roster with the new total participating at 41 players.
More from The Cardinal Nation
As has been the case for the last decade, I will be reporting first-hand from both the Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League, continuing The Cardinal Nation’s direct coverage of Cardinals prospects not provided anywhere else.
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