With the St. Louis Cardinals short-season Class-A affiliate, the State College Spikes, set to open the 2017 New York-Penn League schedule Monday night, we offer a first look at the club’s tentative roster.
If one considers there are four potential sources of players to fill the roster, we have inputs from three, totaling 29 of the maximum of 35 players allowed.
The largest group are those who played for the Spikes last season and/or competed at a higher level earlier in 2017, only to be returned to extended spring training. This makes up just under half, or 14 of the 29. Returning starter Steven Farinaro and 2016 eighth-rounder Sam Tewes should be in the rotation. On the offensive side are outfielders Bryce Denton and recently-signed 2016 college senior J.D. Crowe, who at 24 years of age is the club’s oldest position player.
The next biggest group, nine players, are those who finished 2016 one step lower, at rookie level Johnson City. Among them are second baseman Caleb Lopes and catcher Joshua Lopez.
The third source of players to the new Spikes are the six promoted from the 2016 Gulf Coast League, skipping over Johnson City in the process. Three of the six are position players, led by TCN’s 2016 GCL Cards Player of the Year, catcher Dennis Ortega.
It should be noted that in an unprecedented feat, all three clubs – State College, Johnson City and the GCL Cards – won their league titles last summer.
The fourth group to make up the initial Spikes roster – the one that is NOT included - are the first-signing members of the 2017 draft class. I expect a Monday announcement from the Cardinals on this list, with my guess being six of them heading to the Spikes.
As always, follow the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog for all moves including signings. As of the time of this publication, we have at least five draftees listed as tentatively signed. As of Sunday morning, the Cardinals have not confirmed any.
The preliminary roster
Here are the 29 tentative Spikes, broken down by position with their most recent prior roster assignment noted. 13 are pitchers and four are catchers. There are seven infielders and five outfielders.
|Anthony Ciavarella||P||L||L||6-0||180||08 13 93||SC|
|Steven Farinaro||P||R||R||6-1||170||08 18 95||SC|
|Anthony Shew||P||R||R||6-2||191||11 03 93||SC|
|Sam Tewes||P||R||R||6-5||200||02 06 95||SC|
|Spencer Trayner||P||R||R||6-0||185||12 22 94||SC|
|Robbie Gordon||P||R||R||6-2||205||06 08 93||JC|
|Jonathon Mulford||P||R||R||6-2||210||08 16 94||JC|
|Colton Thomson||P||L||L||6-0||190||07 22 92||JC|
|Daniel Castano||P||L||L||6-4||230||09 17 94||GCL|
|Noel Gonzalez||P||R||R||5-11||190||02 27 94||GCL|
|Levi MaVorhis||P||R||R||6-2||205||07 31 94||GCL|
|Keaton Siomkin||P||R||R||6-0||205||06 17 92||GCL|
|Leland Tilley||P||R||R||6-3||215||01 09 92||GCL|
|Tyler Lancaster||C||L||R||6-3||225||08 01 94||JC|
|Dennis Ortega||C||R||R||6-2||181||06 11 97||JC|
|Erik Garcia||C||R||R||5-11||215||03 23 93||GCL|
|Joshua Lopez||C||R||R||5-10||188||03 04 96||GCL|
|Hunter Newman||1B||R||R||6-2||210||12 21 93||GCL|
|Matt Davis||IF||R||R||5-10||175||12 08 94||SC|
|Danny Martin||2B||R||R||5-11||180||08 05 94||SC|
|Caleb Lopes||2B||R||R||5-8||195||07 21 95||GCL|
|Yariel Gonzalez||3B||B||R||6-1||195||06 01 94||SC|
|Danny Hudzina||3B||R||R||5-11||185||02 27 94||SC|
|Edwin Figuera||SS||R||R||5-10||155||09 02 97||JC|
|Ricardo Bautista||OF||L||R||6-0||185||12 27 95||SC|
|JD Crowe||OF||L||R||6-0||210||08 17 92||DNP|
|Bryce Denton||OF||R||R||6-0||191||08 01 97||SC|
|Mick Fennell||OF||L||R||5-10||190||04 30 94||SC|
|Matt Fiedler||OF||R||R||5-11||200||03 22 95||SC|
An early peek at Johnson City
A number of 2016 GCL standouts appear to be destined instead for Johnson City, whose roster we will share when it becomes available. The Appalachian League does not open play until Thursday, June 22, with the GCL opener Monday, June 26.
This new JCC group may include shortstop Delvin Perez, third baseman Brady Whelan and pitcher Alvaro Seijas, among many others. The Appalachian League roster should also feature an even larger quantity of 2017 draftees than will State College.
Among those apparently repeating Johnson City are outfielders Luis Bandes and Jonathan Rivera, pitcher David Oca and catcher Stephen Zavala.
Bonus coverage for TCN members
Look for another upcoming article on new assignments for the graduates of the Dominican academy, six of whom have been assigned to Johnson City.
Two 2016 Peoria pitchers were not placed on the Peoria roster in April, so we had moved them to State College. A third hurler had been with State College last season. As of now, the trio are on neither club’s roster. We will work to get their status once all short-season rosters are set. They are Jorge Rodriguez and Jery Then plus 2016 Spikes reliever Jordan DeLorenzo.
Make that two players in limbo. Then was released on May 10, but I missed that transaction, reported by Baseball America. Hat tip to reader UncleDenny for pointing it out.
Then’s backstory, having come from the Dominican through Western Oklahoma Community College to be signed as a free agent in 2014, was more interesting than his results as a reliever. After reaching Peoria in 2015, the right-hander missed almost all of last season and was not yet pitching in extended spring training when released. Then ends his Cardinals career with a 3.08 ERA and 55 strikeouts to 24 walks in 51 1/3 innings.
Monday mid-day update
Though there have been no announcements from St. Louis on draftees signed or from State College on their official roster, MiLB.com has published what appears to be the Spikes' opening day roster. Additions to the above are four members of the 2017 draft class as well as a clarification of DeLorenzo's status (placed on the 60-day DL).
Infielders: Evan Mendoza (11th round from North Carolina State)
Outfielders: Brandon Benson (20th round from Georgia College and State)
(In case you check MiLB, you may notice Dennis Ortega listed among the Spikes' pitchers. This has to be an error on their part.)
Check out TCN State College reporter David Eckert's coverage of Spikes media day.
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