Bryce Denton (Brian Walton / The Cardinal Nation)

From now into June, a group of minor leaguers will keep working in Florida on improving their game.

From now into June, a group of minor leaguers will keep working in Florida on improving their game. They include six of The Cardinal Nation top 40 prospects.

After the St. Louis Cardinals major league club and the four full-season minor league affiliates broke camp, leaving Jupiter, Florida behind, the 57 minor leaguers who remain provide the core of players for the organization’s annual Extended Spring Training (EST).

The 2016 edition of the annual camp began the same day as the regular minor league season – on Thursday, April 7 - and will continue through Saturday, June 4. Games begin Monday, April 11.

Between the full-season players at Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria, the 57 in EST and a group of rehabbers, every player still in the organization that suited up for one of the United States-based clubs in 2015 has been accounted for.

Joining the 57 in Jupiter in about 10 days will be another group of players who competed in the 2015 Dominican Summer League, including pitcher Ronald Medrano, who made his US debut last summer, participating in the Gulf Coast League.

Three other international players have stayed in EST after participating in minor league spring training last month. They are pitcher Alvaro Seijas and catchers Dennis Ortega and Irving Wilson. Seijas was signed last July 2nd to a 2016 contract for a signing bonus of $762,500 and the two backstops competed in the 2015 DSL.

When all on hand are taken into account, extended spring training camp is more than 57. Rehabbers on full-season clubs can also use EST games to work back into game shape and there are another five short-season players recovering from injury as well.

Six EST invitees are members of The Cardinal Nation 2016 top 40 prospect list. Though none are in the top 20, the two position players are closest – third baseman Bryce Denton (21) and shortstop Allen Cordoba (23). Denton was the Cardinals’ second-round draft pick last June and Cordoba is the reigning MVP of the Gulf Coast League.

The four TCN top 40 prospect pitchers participating in EST are Ronnie Williams (31), Ian Oxnevad (35), Seijas (38) and David Oca (40).

The final group (in the 10-12 range in number in prior years) yet to arrive are academy players who first participated in a mini-camp at the Cardinals facility in the Dominican Republic. More on those players coming mid-month.

Of course, those on the disabled lists at any of the full-season clubs may participate in daily EST games as part of their tune-up, as well. One such potential example is St. Louis shortstop Ruben Tejada, currently rehabbing in Jupiter.

As mentioned above, games begin on April 11. As usual, the Cardinals play their neighbors from the New York Mets and Miami Marlins, with camp days sprinkled in. Roughly a week after the additional DSL players arrive in Jupiter, a second Cardinals squad will begin playing games. Same with the Mets.

So, for the first two weeks of EST games, only one Cardinals team will be in action. The second St. Louis and New York clubs will have their initial game action on April 25. As always, no EST games are played on Sunday.

The 2016 extended spring training participants follow. They are presented here based on their year-end 2015 team assignments in positional groupings.

State College (19)              
Wirsu Tomchick   E Rodriguez Martin C Rowland Lankford Acevedo
Jor Rodriguez Wheatley (L)     Swirchak      
J Perez Velazco            
D Martinez Almonte             
Cross  Frey            
Oca (L) Holt             
D Perez              
Johnson City (12)               
Dobzanski Escudero C Rivera     J Hawkins   Asbury 
R Williams Farinaro       J Martinez   R Bautista 
R Santos             Ray
GCL (23)              
Oxnevad (L) Schlesener (L) J Lopez   Tice  Cordoba Denton Bandes 
Arias Higgins F Rodriguez       Becker Talavera 
Hicks Y Medina  Zavala         J Rivera
  Salazar Drongesen         Torres
  DeLorenzo (L) E Garcia         Franco
  Bowen (L)            
DSL (3)              
Seijas   D Ortega          
    I Wilson          
Rehab (5)              
J Mateo Bohannan   Newman       Plummer 

All of the extended spring training players will be conceivably under consideration when openings occur at Peoria. If they still remain in mid-June, they will be assigned to one of the short-season clubs in State College, Johnson City and in the Gulf Coast League. Some of the academy EST invitees may return to play in the 2016 DSL, but they should be more the exception than the rule. Most are expected to earn jobs in the US.

For roster and player information

The team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are as up-to-date for St. Louis and all four full-season clubs. All EST players remain on one of the short-season clubs based on where they ended 2015. To access these team rosters, click on the words “PROSPECTS” > “MiLB Rosters/Player Pages” underneath The Cardinal Nation site logo.

To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position on one page along with every player transaction for every club all year long, check out the newly-refreshed 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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