Random Musings on the Minors Moves (Part 3)

The third installment in Leonda Markee's series analyzing the Cardinals minor league player transactions this winter.

Brian Martin (DH/OF) – Martin was moved from Palm Beach to Memphis for the Rule 5 draft and then to Springfield. His 2005 season was shortened when he injured his left wrist while attempting to make a diving catch on April 15th and was placed on the disabled list on April 18th. He was not activated until July 6th but proceeded to lead the Palm Beach club in most offensive categories for the season, going .297/.363/.437/.800 in sixty games and two hundred twenty-two at bats.

Defensively, he acted mainly as the team's designated hitter while appearing in five games in left and two in right field during the regular season. In the post-season he DH'd during the first series against Vero Beach and played left field in the championship series against Lakeland . Martin was re-signed to a minor league contract on October 22nd. Given how he was used in 2005, Martin may well be Springfield's designated hitter/outfielder in 2006. He would replace outfielder Papo Bolivar, who was not re-signed and first baseman Juan Diaz, who I except to begin the season in Memphis if Chris Duncan is moved to the outfield.

Joe Mather (OF/1B/3B) – Mather was transferred from the Palm Beach to Memphis' roster for the Rule 5 draft where he remains. He started 2005 in extended spring training, joined Quad Cities on April 16th and was promoted to Palm Beach on June 23rd. While Mather did not hit for average for the season, his combined stats were .247/.318/.457/.775, the ball tended to carry when he did connect. He ranked twelfth in HR/AB with a 1:24 ratio out of the sixty-seven batters with one hundred fifty at bats last season and his slugging percentage was seventeenth.

Another thing to note is that Mather actually hit better in pitcher-friendly Palm Beach, .275/.342/.475/.817 – 55-for-200 in 57 games, than in Quad Cities, .220/.295/.440/.735 – 46-for-209 in 54 games, which is an encouraging sign. Defensively, all of Mather's games in the outfield were either in left or right. While I do not expect Mather to remain in Memphis, he should have a good shot at making the Springfield club.

Kyle McClellan (RHP) – McClellan was shifted from the Quad Cities to Springfield roster for Rule 5 protection. His 2005 season was marred by two stints on the disabled list which limited him to fifty-four innings in seventeen games. Eight of his appearances were starts. I think McClellan pitches better than he showed last year as there were glimpses of very good pitching that do not show up in his 4.83 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and .283 BAA. It is also difficult to know how much of his pitching woes can be attributed to his health. I look for McClelland to begin 2006 back in Quad Cities.

Mike McCoy (Utility) – McCoy was transferred from Palm Beach to Springfield. He spent most of 2005 in Palm Beach, where he appeared at all positions except catcher and first base. McCoy even made an appearance on the mound. He had a brief stint in Springfield while Milko Jaramillo was on the disabled list but saw very limited action as he appeared in just five games and had fourteen at bats.

Overall, he went .264/.347/.331, but those numbers are pulled down slightly by his Springfield period. McCoy went .270/.355/.340 in Palm Beach. I expect McCoy to have a very good chance to make the Springfield club. Like Kevin Estrada, McCoy provides defensive options that are not readily available. Like Estrada, his chief competition may be Jaramillo, although Jaramillo only played short, second and third last season.

Mark Michael (RHS) – Michael moved from Palm Beach to Memphis where he remains. While Michael held opponents to a .224 batting average as a member of the Palm Beach rotation last season, he also spent about seven weeks on the disabled list. While Michael may be in the mix for a Double-A rotation slot, it is more likely that he will begin the 2006 season at Palm Beach to build on his 2005 season.

Victor Moreno (RHR) – Moreno was signed to a minor league contract by the Cardinals on October 26th and placed on the short-season A State College roster. The Cardinals subsequently moved him to the Springfield roster for the Rule 5 draft. Moreno spent 2005 in the bullpen of Oakland's Triple-A team. As Moreno has started only six games in one hundred eighty-seven game appearances, he will be trying to earn a bullpen slot during the 2006 spring training, most likely with Springfield.

Jason Motte (C) – Motte was transferred from the Palm Beach to Memphis' roster for the Rule 5 draft and then sent back to Palm Beach. That is a signal of how highly regarded Motte is defensively as they used a Triple-A roster slot for a player whose career batting average is .188. Motte is one of the best, if not the best, defensive catcher in the Cardinals' system, which means he is a real favorite of mine since I have a preference for defensively skilled catchers. (Let's just say I am no big fan of Mike Piazza's.) However, Motte has shown little aptitude for hitting and that will limit his future opportunities if it does not change. He should begin 2006 back in Palm Beach after recovering from surgery on his broken right thumb, an effect of a foul ball during a game in late June.

Kevin Ool (LHR) – Ool was switched from the Springfield to Memphis' roster for Rule 5 and then switched back to Springfield. The Cardinals acquired Ool in the 2005 Spring Training trade that sent Mike Myers back to Boston. Strictly a reliever in his professional career, he began 2005 in Quad Cities where he was one of the most effective weapons they had. Ool was promoted to Palm Beach on June 19th and continued to produce very effectively. That earned him another promotion to Springfield on July 24th where he struggled.

Moving up two levels from class A to Double-A in one season is an accomplishment and Ool will be given an opportunity at Springfield again next season. He turned 25 this month so cannot be considered a "hot prospect". But as one of the posters on our message board reminded me, not all guys develop at the same rate. The door of opportunity is still open for Ool.

Matt Pagnozzi (C) – Pagnozzi is almost a clone of Jason Motte or Motte is a clone of Pagnozzi's, whichever you prefer. Like Motte, he was shifted from Palm Beach to Memphis for the Rule 5 draft and then back to Palm Beach. Like Motte, Pagnozzi is defensively gifted and offensively challenged. (Motte is a career .190 hitter.) They were born within a few months of each other in 1982 and even have similar professional experience: Motte has 579 at bats and Pagnozzi has 590, both in two hundred nine games. Pagnozzi will most likely start 2006 back in Palm Beach as well.

Jordan Pals (RHS) – Pals was moved from Springfield to Memphis where he remains. He is an unheralded pitcher who does not get a great deal of press but quietly continues to get the job done. He has sixty-three starts in sixty-four professional appearances with a career ERA of 3.46 and a 1.25 WHIP in three hundred fifty-nine and one-third innings pitched. Pals turned 25 in October and has a legitimate chance to make the Memphis rotation.

I will finish this series by looking at the moves for the following players:
Tyler Parker
Jackson Paz
Anthony Rawson
Christopher Russ
John Santor
Rich Scalamandre
Andy Schutzenhofer
Yonathan Sivira
Matt Weagle
Spencer Wyman

Check out our new "Player Awards" page, where we list all pitcher and player awards for the 2005 season. You can always find it via a link located on the lower left of our homepage.

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