Coach Jose Oquendo and minor league infielders (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals opened 2017 minor league spring training camp with 157 players, including five highly-touted international signees.

The St. Louis Cardinals opened 2017 minor league spring training camp with 157 players, including five highly-touted international signees. We look into why 16 other expected names are missing.

The purpose of this article is simple enough – present the list of the St. Louis Cardinals’ invitees to 2017 minor league spring training camp now underway in Jupiter, Florida. The timing is right, with all of them taking the fields together for the first time on Thursday, March 9th.

Pitchers and catchers reported on Monday, March 6, with their first workout the next day. Position players joined them on Wednesday, March 8.

The challenge for all 157 – plus the up to 40 players remaining to be cut from Major League camp as St. Louis eventually drops down to 25 – will be to secure one of 100 jobs to open the regular season – 25 each on the organization’s four full-season clubs in Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria.

The 157 players named below include 76 pitchers and 81 position players. 125 of them arrived in camp this week, with 30 being holdovers from early minor league camp (STEP Camp, denoted with “S”). The final two were already cut from big-league camp. Pitchers Junior Fernandez and Jake Woodford were originally-announced as STEP campers, but were temporarily added to major league camp to provide pitching depth before being returned to minor league camp earlier this week.

Minors camp (157)          
Aikin, Craig   Gonzalez Yariel   Rivera, Chris  
Almonte, Max   Gonzalez, Noel   Rivera, Jonathan  
Alvarez, Juan   Gordon, Robbie   Robbins, Walker  
Anderson, Will   Grayson, Casey   Rodriguez, Carlos  
Arias, Estarlin   Harrison, Luke   Rodriguez, Elier  
Arozarena, Randy S Hawkins, Chandler   Rodriguez, Julio  
Asbury-Heath, DeAndre   Hawkins, Joey   Rosendo, Sanel  
Balbuena, Starlin   Heesch, Michael   Rowland, Champ  
Bandes, Luis   Helsley, Ryan   Salazar, Paul  
Bard, Daniel   Hergert, Kevin   Schlereth, Daniel  
Bautista, Ricardo   Herrera, Juan   Schlesener, Jacob   
Beck, Landon   Heyer, Kurt   Schumacher, Cody  
Billings, Shane   Hicks, Jordan S Seijas, Alvaro  
Bowen, Brady   Hudson, Dakota S Sexton, Austin  
Bray, Tyler   Hudzina, Danny   Shaban, Ronnie  
Brebbia, John   Jackson, Vince S Shew, Anthony  
Brodbeck, Andrew   Jenner, Jesse S Siomkin, Keaton  
Bryan, Vaughn   Jones, Connor S Sohn, Andrew  
Caldwell, Bruce   Katz, Mason   Soto, Carlos  
Calvano, Robert   Kilichowski, John   Spitz, Thomas  
Carlson, Dylan S Lancaster, Tyler   Staton, Allen   
Carter, Eric   Lankford, Cole   Talavera, Carlos  
Casadilla, Franyel   Lee, Thomas   Thomson, Colton  
Castano, Daniel   Leitao, Brennan   Thon, Dickie Joe S
Changarotty, Will   Lopes, Caleb   Tice, Dylan  
Chinea, Chris S Lopez, Joshua   Tilley, Leland  
Ciavarella, Anthony   Machado, Jonathan   Tomchick, Greg  
Cross, Carson   Martin, Daniel   Trayner, Spencer  
Cruz, Luis S Martinez, Dailyn   Trosclair, Stefan   
Davis, J.R.   Martinez, Jose   Turgeon, Casey  
Davis, Matt   Martini, Nick S Vance, Ross  
De La Cruz, Steven   MaVorhis, Levi   Voit, Luke S
DeLorenzo, Jordan   McCarvel, Ryan S Walter, John  
Dennard, R.J.   McElroy, Jr. C.J.   Ward, Davis  
Denton, Bryce S McKinney, Ian   Whalen, Brady  
Diekroeger, Danny   McKnight, Blake   Wheatley, Bob  
Dobzanski, Bryan   Medina, Yeison   Williams, Ronnie S
Drake, Blake S Mejia, Alex S Wilson, Austin S
Dykstra, Luke S Mercado, Oscar S Wilson, Irving  
Echemendia, Pedro   Mulford, Jonathon   Wilson, Jacob  
Edman, Tommy S Murders, J.D.   Wirsu, Josh  
Ellis, Chris S Newman, Hunter   Woodford, Jake S
Evans, Jacob   Oca, David   Ynfante, Wadye  
Fariano, Steven   O'Keefe, Brian S Young, Andrew  
Fennel, Mick   Olivera, Orlando   Zavala, Stephen  
Fernandez, Junior S O'Reilly, Mike      
Fiedler, Matt   Oviedo, Johan      
Figuera, Edwin   Oxnevad, Ian S    
Flores, Luis   Parra, Frederis      
Franco, Bladimil   Pearce, Matt      
Frey, Nick   Perez, Delvin S    
Gallen, Zac S Perez, Dewin      
Garcia, Erik   Perez, Juan      
Garcia, Victor   Pina, Leobaldo      
Godoy, Jose S Pritchard, Michael      
Gonzalez, Derian S Ray, Anthony   Step camp invitee S

Rather than break them all down by 2016 level of play, it is much simpler to note there are only 16 players missing who are still under contract with the organization and finished last season on any of the USA affiliates – from Memphis all the way down to – and including - the Gulf Coast League.

As always seems to be the case, the names of those not included on the active roster is more intriguing than those who are.

One, pitcher Corey Littrell, is under suspension and will not be allowed to report until extended spring training. Another, Ben Yokley, is on military leave.

That leaves the following 14, of whom 11 are pitchers. Most are previously known to have been injured and are likely in various stages of rehab, which would keep them off the field. In fact, eight of them finished 2016 on the disabled list and a ninth, Oneiver Diaz, did not pitch all season. A 10th, Silas Bohannan, has already been hurt this spring.

Not in camp pitchers (2)            
Littrell, Corey Susp          
Yokley. Ben Military          
             
Rehab? pitchers (11) Y/E 2016 2017   Rehab? hitters (3) Y/E 2016 2017
Reed, Jimmy Spr DL     Bean, Steve PB  
Morales, Andrew Spr DL STEP   Seferina, Darren PB DL  
Perry, Chris Spr DL     Plummer, Nick GCL DL STEP
Then, Jery Peo DL          
Rodriguez, Jorge Peo            
Santos, Ramon JC          
Medrano, Ronald GCL DL          
Diaz, Oneiver GCL DNP          
Soto, Hector new          
Tewes, Sam GCL DL          
Bohannan, Silas GCL injured        

A high-profile pair among the 14, pitcher Andrew Morales and outfielder Nick Plummer, were among those invited to STEP camp earlier – yet are apparently still not ready to roll. I hope to learn more about the status of the two soon.

http://www.scout.com/player/197200-nick-plummer?s=321

One other notable player in camp, one whose professional stats ledger is still blank, is right-hander pitcher Sam Tewes. The 2016 eighth-rounder from Wichita State was held out of action after signing with St. Louis while recovering from Tommy John surgery conducted last March.

http://www.scout.com/player/209597-sam-tewes?s=321

Among the three whose status is unclear is Palm Beach catcher Steve Bean and pitchers Jorge Rodriguez (Peoria) and Ramon Santos (Johnson City). Another hurler, Hector Soto, was signed in December. His initial roster assignment per MiLB.com was the GCL, but perhaps he is destined for the Dominican Summer League to open his career instead.

Among the 157 players in minor league spring training camp are five international players who have yet to appear in an official game in the US. The only one who was in the organization at this time last year is catcher Julio Rodriguez. The 19-year-old logged an impressive .980 OPS in the 2016 Dominican Summer League.

http://www.scout.com/player/210323-johan-oviedo?s=321

The other four are part of the unprecedented current July 2nd class, three of whom played in part of the 2016 season in the DSL – pitcher Johan Oviedo (18), catcher Carlos Soto (48) and outfielder Jonatan Machado (27). All three are ranked in The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospects for 2017 (see their specific rankings in parentheses) and in total received over $4.6 million in signing bonuses.

http://www.scout.com/player/210543-jonatan-machado?s=321

The other recent signee invited to the US for spring training is highly-regarded Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia. Though he came to terms with St. Louis for a reported $1.5 million, his youth meant that the 16-year-old would begin play in 2017. It appears Garcia could skip over the DSL altogether, though heading back to the academy is possible, as well.

Update

Colleague Rob Rains of stlsportspage.com was on the back fields Friday and has informed me that position players Bean, Seferina and Plummer were all in uniform and working out - encouraging news.    

                                      

What is next?

The 157 players will begin camp games Thursday, March 16, with the first official contests against external competition the next day. I am planning to be there. Here is the link to the Cardinals full minor league spring training game schedule.

Organization willing, once games begin, look for nightly summary reports from these contests - back for another spring at The Cardinal Nation Blog. In an upgrade this year, TCN staffer Derek Shore will periodically be joining me writing these recaps.

For the healthy players who are not among the 100 to open the season with Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach or Peoria plus rehabbers, extended spring training will begin in early April. Those players will be joined by other DSL alums and many of the Cardinals’ yet-to-be-determined Draft Class of 2017 on the State College, Johnson City and GCL rosters in mid-June.

Look for my annual roster prediction series, with separate looks at St. Louis and each of the four full-season affiliates, coming next week.

 

Bookmark the Roster Matrix

To see the full 2016 season-ending rosters by level and position for the entire Cardinals system on one page, along with every transaction all season long, check out the Roster Matrix, always up-to-date and free at The Cardinal Nation blog. A new spring version of the Roster Matrix is just a few days away.

 

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

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