WBC teams confirm 11 Cardinals
The official announced list of St. Louis Cardinals players confirmed to be participating in the World Baseball Classic is 11; six major league players and five minor leaguers are scheduled to participate.
Major leaguers are Seung-hwan Oh (Korea), Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez (Dominican Republic), Matt Carpenter and Brett Cecil (USA), and Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico). The five minor league players participating are Alberto Rosario (DR), Corey Baker and Ryan Sherriff (Israel), Trey Nielsen (Italy), and Rowan Wick (Canada). In addition, weekend reports from Colombia indicate that Palm Beach outfielder Oscar Mercado is being added to that nation’s WBC roster as a replacement player.
Three of the minor league participants, Rosario, Sheriff and Nielsen, are non-roster invitees to major league camp, and all three, along with 40-man roster player Wick, will miss significant portions of major league Spring Training to participate in the tournament. None of the four are expected to make the big league roster coming out of camp.
The WBC runs from March 6-22. Information about the tournament, including the schedule and pools, can be found at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Cardinals win projection low
The annual Baseball PECOTA win projections for the upcoming season for each major league team were published this past week. PECOTA stands for “Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm”, and is a sabermetric tool used for projecting major league player performance. The algorithm is also used in making pre-season team forecasts, called Depth Charts, and it was these Depth Charts for each team that are the basis of the controversy.
According to the BP Depth Charts, the 2017 Cardinals are projected for a record of 76-86. Given the Cardinals’ past performance over the last decade or so, having a season of ten wins below .500 is a rather pessimistic assessment, whether one buys into PECOTA or not. The Cardinals have not had a season below .500 since the post-World Series season of 2007, when they were 78-84. The last season the Cardinals were at least ten wins below .500 was 1999. Given that the 2017 roster is not significantly different than the 86-76 roster from last season, a drop of ten wins in the projections was quite surprising and disconcerting to many.
The Cardinals have outperformed PECOTA in the past two seasons, a fact which should give fans hope. Specifically, PECOTA projected the 2016 Cardinals to win 82 games, four less than the 86 actually won. In 2015, PECOTA projected the Cardinals for 89 wins, 11 less than the actual 100 wins.
The PECOTA projections place the Cardinals in a tie for third/fourth place in the National League Central Division with the Milwaukee Brewers, and behind the Pirates at 81 wins and the Cubs at 91 wins.
Manager Mike Matheny was asked about the projections, and understandably did not agree with them. He said he did not plan to make a big deal about them, however.
Four Cardinals among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects
The annual Baseball America Top 100 prospects list for 2017 was published this past weekend, and four Cardinals made the cut.
Alex Reyes is the highest-ranked Cardinal, at No. 4 on the list. The right-hander is also the top pitching prospect on the list, following three position players, Andrew Benitendi of the Red Sox, Yoan Moncado of the White Sox, and Dansby Swanson of the Braves.
Weaver and Kelly joined Reyes as prospects debuting with St. Louis late last season. Reyes joined the big league club in August and finished the season with 49 innings pitched as both a starter and a reliever. Reyes had an ERA of 1.57 and struck out 52. Weaver finished with a 5.70 ERA in nine appearances with the Cardinals, eight as a starter.
Kelly debuted with the Cardinals as a September call-up, appearing in 10 games. Kelly also played in the Arizona Fall League, where he made a significant contribution.
Reyes is expected to make the team out of Spring Training as a member of the starting rotation. Weaver and Kelly will likely begin the season with the Memphis Redbirds, though Weaver has a shot at a bullpen role based on his Spring performance.
Spring Training broadcast schedule updated
Three more Cardinals games have been added to the Spring Training TV broadcast schedule, to bring the total up to 20. The Mets announced their broadcasting slate that includes three games with the Cardinals, on March 5, March 17, and March 28. The March 28 game will also be broadcast on ESPN to coincide with the SNY broadcast.
The schedule also includes audio streaming of 32 games, in addition to TV broadcasting. These 32 games include a March 30 exhibition game between the Cardinals and the Memphis Redbirds. Only one Cardinals spring game, a February 27 split squad game against the Red Sox, has no TV or audio plans. The March 31 exhibition game against the Springfield Cardinals is not scheduled to be broadcast as well.
The full schedule as of this article can be found here at the The Cardinal Nation blog.
Wacha arbitration hearing Monday
The lone unsigned Cardinals arbitration-eligible player, Michael Wacha, will be going to hearing on Monday, February 13. Arbitrators will decide the 2017 salary to be granted Wacha based on figures filed by each party; those figures are $3.2 million as filed by Wacha, or $2.8 million as filed by the Cardinals. The hearing will be held in Phoenix, AZ, one day before the official start of spring camp.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
The Cardinals signed two free agents, C Cristhian Longa and RHP Jose Moreno, to minor league contracts. The pair of 16-year-olds are the 26th and 27th international players signed by the Cardinals during the current July 2nd period.
There is no injury news to report.
Pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to spring training camp on February 14, and position players on February 17. The first spring training game is scheduled for February 25 against the Miami Marlins.
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