For the 19th consecutive year, the back diamonds of Jupiter, Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium (RDS) complex, known as The George Kissell Quad, should be a mandatory destination for any St. Louis Cardinals fan heading to spring training. There and on the surrounding fields, located at the upper right of the above aerial view, well over one hundred minor leaguers will be preparing for 2016 competition.
Following the completion of STEP Camp, those 26 early arrivals will be joined by the full complement of minor leaguers expected to compete for one of the four full-season clubs. Pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 7, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on Wednesday, March 9 and will take the fields on the 10th.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Cardinals will be running the early camp for selected minor league players. That group will arrive on Friday, February 26 with their first workout the next day.
Other minor leaguers may join this group later. The Major League club has announced its slate of 23 non-roster invitees to big-league camp. With the Cardinals sporting a major league roster that is pretty much set, almost all of the NRIs will likely not make St. Louis out of spring training.
The Jupiter complex offers great opportunities to get up close and personal with prospects. Most March mornings, players will be working out in preparation for 1:00 P.M. games that begin on Thursday, March 17 and run through Thursday, March 31.
The players will work out together for seven days before their first official games on March 17. Their first external games will be the next day against their Jupiter cohabitants, the Miami Marlins. Saturday, March 19 marks the first meetings with the New York Mets. Camp will break following the games of Thursday, March 31, in preparation for the opening of the minor league regular seasons one week later, on Thursday, April 7.
As usual, the farmhands of the Cardinals and Marlins face off frequently, five times. The good news is that the four “road” trips are only to the Marlins’ side of the RDS minor league fields. If past years are any indication, the Cardinals will also field a second Peoria team against the Marlins, with five games scheduled those days – assuming both sides have ample pitching in need of work.
Currently, the Mets are the only other MLB organization remaining nearby, in Port St. Lucie, 33 miles from Jupiter. The Mets make up the remainder of the Cardinals 2015 schedule, also with five days’ worth of contests.
As has been customary in recent years, the Mets dates are split – as the Cards’ Triple-A (Memphis) and Double-A (Springfield) teams play in one location while the Single-A squads (Palm Beach and Peoria) compete on the other organization’s fields. That means only half of each system’s players have to take the requisite bus ride to the other’s fields on those dates.
With the expected 2017 opening of the new shared facility of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach, this should be the final season of the round-robin scheduling arrangement between the Cards, Mets and Marlins.
Because of the odd total number of teams in the area, the Cardinals will have a camp day roughly every third day. That is almost always when the Mets and Marlins meet. Typically on those camp days, the Cardinals’ Triple-A and Double-A squads will face off as will their Single-A clubs.
The best news that the limited competition provides is for fans. Not a single day will pass during spring camp – even camp days - in which baseball is not played on the back diamonds of Roger Dean – weather permitting, of course. The biggest inconvenience is that three times, observers will have to walk to the Marlins’ fields instead of the Cardinals’.
With the respective home plates on the RDS back quad, named in honor of the departed great George Kissell, arranged in close proximity to each other like in a softball complex, fans can easily move among the various games by taking just a handful of steps.
While games typically start at 1 p.m. each day as noted above, impending weather can lead to last-minute changes. For example, if afternoon rain appears likely, morning workouts may be truncated with games moved up to 10 a.m. It is always best to check when you arrive.
You never know who you’ll see while there, and best of all, attendance is free! So, if you’re interested in the Cardinals minor leaguers, make sure you catch the action this spring in Florida. You’ll be glad you did!2016 Cardinals minor league spring training game schedule
(All Cardinals home games start on or about 1:00 p.m. Eastern)
|Date||Memphis||Springfield||Palm Beach||Peoria||Peoria 2 ?|
|Th||17,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Fr||18,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Sa||19,Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Su||20,Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Mo||21,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Tu||22,Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|We||23,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Th||24,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Fr||25,Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Sa||26,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Su||27,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Mo||28,Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Tu||29,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|We||30,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Th||31,Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Fr||01,Apr||Break camp||Break camp||Break camp||Break camp|
|Th||07,Apr||Reg season||Reg season||Reg season||Reg season|
(Note: Bold text indicates the club will not be in Jupiter for those contests.)
Other related resources
- Link to the Roster Matrix, listing all players in the Cardinals system by position and level as they ended the 2014 season, as well as every player transaction, all year long. All spring camp assignments are noted on the matrix as well.
- Link to Cardinals major league spring training schedule, including evolving television and radio coverage details. Big-league games start Wednesday, March 2.
© 2016 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.