Cardinals Prospect Mo: 2016 Spring Period 2

How prospects performed in St. Louis Cardinals major league spring training camp last week.

While our popular St. Louis Cardinals Monthly Prospect Rankings will be back for 2016, its first edition will not come out until real baseball begins – in April. In the meantime, here is our weekly look at how the members of The Cardinal Nation’s 2016 top 40 prospect list and selected other minor leaguers are doing in Major League camp.

I recently went on record with my predictions of which players I thought would make the Major League roster out of spring training and followed that with a similar analysis for all four of the full-season minor league clubs.

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 one period that could and likely will change substantially from one week to next.


Though the Cardinals have not won for a week, there does not seem to be concern from manager Mike Matheny. The pitching remains ahead of the hitting. St. Louis’ staff has a cumulative ERA of 4.23, up from 3.91 last week, but only fell to seventh-best among the 30 MLB teams this spring from sixth.

The team batting average is .267 for the spring, down from .274 last week. That dropped the Cards from 14th to 23rd. Their OPS of .725 is down 19 points last week and only three teams in MLB have a lower mark.

The players

The Cardinals opened big-league camp with 59 players invited, with 39 on the 40-man roster and 20 non-roster invitees. They were vying for one of the 25-man roster spots to open the season.

16 of the 59 are members of The Cardinal Nation top 40 for 2015 – eight pitchers and eight position players. Another 14 minor leaguers were 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 group is those about whom I am reporting. Of course, the original list of 30 has declined in count each week as camp continues and cuts are made. In fact, two pitchers and six position players from our group occurred this past week, including four 40-man players. That leaves just 12 players in this report.

I rank each player based on his momentum – 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 those coming into play on Wednesday, March 23.

The results - pitchers

Pitchers  Top  Ros Prediction IP ERA Mo  
Majors camp 40         Last wk This wk
Cooney 5 40m Memphis 2.0 0.00 High Low
Tuivailala 11 40m Memphis 4.1 2.08 High Medium
Harris NR 40m Memphis 1.1 13.50 Low Low
Kiekhefer NR 40m Memphis 4.1 0.00 High High
Bowman NR 40m R5/limbo 6.0 10.50 Low Low
Dropped off T40  Ros Prediction IP ERA Mo  
this week           Last wk This wk
Gonzales 3 40m Memphis 9.2 4.66 High Low
Gomber 14 NRI Palm Beach 2.2 16.87 Low Low

With the departure of Austin Gomber to minor league camp, only five pitchers remain, all 40-man members. This time, I gave lefty Dean Kiekhefer my lone high mark after he extended his scoreless spring to 4 1/3 innings. Sam Tuivailala yielded his first run of the spring so took a medium grade.

Slowed by shoulder soreness, Mitch Harris and Tim Cooney did not appear in games this week, though the latter threw 25 pitches in a live batting practice setting on Wednesday morning. Rule 5 pitcher Matt Bowman yielded four earned runs in two innings since last report, seemingly lengthening his odds further of making the team.

Marco Gonzales was also optioned out. Just before that, on Monday, he started for St. Louis. Overall for the week, the lefty yielded four runs in three innings of work.

The results – hitters

Hitters  Top  Ros Prediction AB BA Mo  
Majors camp 40         Last wk This wk
G Garcia 19 40m St. Louis 33 0.303 Medium High
Ohlman 30 40m Memphis 10 0.300 High Medium
Wilson 20 NRI Memphis 26 0.231 Medium Low
Fryer NR NRI Memphis 19 0.158 Low Medium
Washington NR NRI Memphis 23 0.261 Low Medium
Hazelbaker NR NRI Memphis 29 0.310 Medium High
Peguero NR NRI Memphis 22 0.364 High Medium
Dropped off T40  Ros Prediction AB BA Mo  
this week           Last wk This wk
Diaz 7 40m St. Louis 34 0.265 Medium Medium
A Garcia 25 40m Memphis 36 0.222 Medium Low
Anna NR 40m Memphis 13 0.308 High Medium
Kelly 12 NRI Springfield 12 0.417 High Medium
Wisdom 24 NRI Memphis 19 0.158 Low Low
J Rodriguez NR NRI Memphis 22 0.318 Medium Medium

This period, six of the tracked hitters were sent down, including four top 40 members. Of the seven remaining, I gave three prospect hitters remaining in camp high marks, with all batting .300 or better. This group is led by non-roster invitee Jeremy Hazelbaker and 40-man infielder Greg Garcia.

Hazelbaker is the hottest-hitting NRI in camp, going 3-for-8 with two home runs and five RBI during the period. Garcia, the apparent leader for the final bench spot, had four hits in 11 at-bats this past week.

Among the medium hitters, Carlos Peguero doubled his at-bats for the spring, but went just 2-for-11. In limited action, David Washington and Eric Fryer each had two hits in five at-bats.

Infielder Jacob Wilson went 0-for-5 on the week to drop his spring average to .231. Any threat of him passing Garcia seems to have dissolved.

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.

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

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