With Minor League Opening Day (or really, Night) upon us, the St. Louis Cardinals are to the point they need to declare 100 active players for tonight’s games – 25 each at Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria.
At the time of this initial posting, early Thursday morning, the official Palm Beach roster remains under wraps. At both Memphis and Springfield, there are more players than active roster spots. The one roster that appeared to be set, Peoria, wasn’t, with one injury and a promotion before the first pitch of the 2016 minor league season could be thrown.
As news will trickle in during the day on Thursday, I will keep updating this article until we get down to the 100. In addition, all team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are reflecting whatever news we have. As a reminder, they can be accessed via “PROSPECTS” > “MiLB Rosters/Player Pages” dropdown menu underneath the TCN logo.
In addition, the Cardinals pushed reliever Cody Schumacher back to A-Advanced Palm Beach, creating an opening with Peoria for TCN’s Rookie Reliever of the Year for 2015, State College’s Luke Harrison. Both are right-handers.
Both of these sets of transactions were disclosed by the Peoria Journal-Star.
If there are no other moves Thursday, the Chiefs’ opening 25 should be set.
Update (Thursday, 3 p.m. CT): In addition to the earlier transactions, the Chiefs added reliever Jery Then to the roster and placed him in the seven-day disabled list.
I currently have 23 players on my working roster for the Florida State League Cardinals. My guess is that a couple of pitchers will be added from State College, but there could be other changes, too, depending on which players open the season on the DL.
The official roster should be coming soon, I hope.
Update (Thursday, 1:30 p.m. CT): Palm Beach released its 25-man Opening Day roster. Click on the highlighted team name above to view it.
I will write a more detailed article soon, but among the mild surprises is Michael Heesch being sent back to PB, a day after being moved up to Springfield (at least on paper). There are two promotions all the way from the Gulf Coast League in reliever Rowan Wick and second baseman Andrew Brodbeck.
None of the injured players at this level have been identified, so I have a number of players to follow up on.
Since Media Day on Monday, the Double-A Cardinals have added infielder Andrew Sohn and pitchers Michael Heesch, Chris Perry and Daniel Poncedeleon. Heesch is a lefty reliever picked up the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft, Perry is a right-handed bullpenner with prior Springfield experience and Poncedeleon is a right-handed starter. Sohn’s addition was in response to Aledmys Diaz joining St. Louis and Alex Mejia moving up to Memphis from Springfield.
Whether Poncedeleon’s late move is a reaction to Marco Gonzales’ injury in Memphis or unrelated is an unknown. I expected that, if healthy, Poncedeleon, who was a non-roster invitee to MLB camp, would earn a spot in the Double-A rotation. Luke Weaver’s injury seemed to increase its likelihood, yet Springfield can only start five.
At this point, I have 27 possible players for 25 spots on the Double-A roster, with the apparent excess on the pitching side of the ledger. It would be 28 if pitcher Jayson Aquino, currently designated for assignment, clears waivers and remains a Cardinal. This may not be resolved on Thursday, and in the interim, Aquino is not on the roster.
Update (Thursday, 11 a.m. CT): Aquino’s status is resolved, after all. He was traded to Baltimore for cash. Details here.
TCN’s Derek Shore reports Springfield’s opening three starters are Mike Mayers, Trey Nielsen and Daniel Poncedeleon.
Update (Thursday, 3 p.m. CT): The roster is down to 25 with Heesch returned to Palm Beach and lefty starter Jimmy Reed joining Robby Rowland on the DL.
As far as I can tell, the Redbirds still have 28 players on the roster. Likely DL-bound players include lefty starters Gonzales and Tim Cooney. My guess on the other is reliever Tyler Waldron, but this is all yet to be confirmed.
On the other hand, if the Redbirds want to augment the tentative rotation of Deck McGuire, J.C. Sulbaran, Jeremy Hefner, Thomas Lee and Arturo Reyes, a starter could be added from Springfield (see Poncedeleon move to Double-A above). However, this is 100 percent speculation on my part.
Update (Thursday, 11:30 a.m. CT): Memphis released its roster with all three projected pitchers opening on the DL – Gonzales, Cooney and Waldron.
There was one starting pitcher addition to the roster, but it was not what I expected. Despite Alex Reyes having 40 games remaining on his suspension, he was moved up to the Redbirds’ roster. This seems to imply his Double-A days are over.
Check back here for additional updates as warranted on Thursday - and thank you for being a member of The Cardinal Nation!
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