At least nine of the 11 St. Louis Cardinals participating in the 2017 World Baseball Classic were already known prior to Wednesday evening’s formal roster announcements. They represent seven of the 16 nations participating in the global tournament, scheduled from March 6-22.
|Cardinal||Pos||WBC team||2017 proj||Pool||StL notes|
|Matt Carpenter||IF||USA||St. Louis|
|Brett Cecil||LHP||USA||St. Louis||yes|
|Seung-Hwan Oh||RHP||Korea||St. Louis|
|Yadier Molina||C||Puerto Rico||St. Louis|
|Carlos Martinez||RHP||Dominican Republic||St. Louis|
|Alex Reyes||RHP||Dominican Republic||St. Louis||yes|
|Alberto Rosario||C||Dominican Republic||Memphis||Non-roster invitee|
|Ryan Sherriff||LHP||Israel||Memphis||yes||Non-roster invitee|
|Trey Nielsen||RHP||Italy||Memphis||Non-roster invitee|
|Rowan Wick||RHP||Canada||Memphis||40-man roster|
The break in the table represents the delineation between the major league players and those expected to open the season in the minor leagues, most likely Triple-A Memphis.
For four of the five minor leaguers, the time spent away playing the WBC will restrict them from spending a full spring in Cardinals major league camp. Three are non-roster invitees, usually with even less time to make an impression.
Rosario is in the best situation. Having spent three months with St. Louis last season ensures he is a known. Nielsen, the only starting pitcher among the minor leaguers, is The Cardinal Nation’s 44th-ranked prospect for 2017. The right-hander will be making a bid to earn a spot in what looks to be a crowded Memphis rotation.
Ryan Sherriff participated in Israel’s WBC qualifier last fall before extending his season even further in the Arizona Fall League. Sherriff is among four left-handed relievers vying for a spot on Memphis' roster, with the other three also NRIs, but not pitching in the WBC - Corey Littrell and newcomers Zach Phillips and Jordan Schafer.
Hard-throwing right-hander Rowan Wick also pitched in the AFL, before his addition to St. Louis’ 40-man roster. I could argue his time missed in his first big-league camp could hurt the most. On the other hand, his absence will be far from fatal. The Canadian, TCN’s 40th-ranked prospect, was not expected to make the major league club this spring and still has three option years to continue his progression toward St. Louis. A season-opening spot in Memphis bullpen seems a best-case spring camp outcome.
I should also note that three of the pitchers - Brett Cecil, Alex Reyes and Sherriff - will not be active in at least the first round. A new WBC rule for 2017 enables each country to designate a 10-man "designated pitcher pool," from which they can add up to two pitchers following each round of the tournament. Full rules can be accessed here.
Game schedules, rosters and more for all 16 WBC teams can be found at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Check the Roster Matrix
To follow all transaction and roster-related information for the entire Cardinals system, by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog. Of course, these non-roster invitees are called out there, as well!
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