Random Musings on the Minors Moves (Part 4)

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

Tyler Parker (OF) – Parker was transferred from the Palm Beach to the Memphis roster for the Rule 5 draft and then to the Springfield roster. He is a converted catcher that spent most of the 2005 season in Palm Beach where he went .268/.350/.431/.781, 87-for-325, in ninety-three games. Parker was promoted to Springfield on August 23rd to replace right fielder Tyler Minges who went on the disabled list. His Springfield numbers were very similar to those posted at Palm Beach, .263/.333/.421/.754 or 10-for-38 in thirteen games. Defensively, Parker played forty-three games in left, thirty-eight games in center, eleven games in right and caught four games.

Where Parker will begin 2006 is an open question. I created a "2006 Projections" spreadsheet where I listed all players and their current assigned level. I slotted players with no known assignment at the level at which I think they will be competing. Per that sheet, there are seven outfielders assigned to Memphis with four more outfielders assigned to St. Louis. At very best, I think three of the eleven outfielders will make the big club, more likely two, with the eight-to-nine remaining battling it out for the three starting slots in Memphis plus whatever bench will be available. Some of those will be re-assigned to Springfield for a more playing time than they would get in Memphis. This last group will be competing for a slot on the Springfield roster.

The Springfield roster has four outfielders currently assigned to it: Carlos De La Cruz, Matt Lemanczyk, Brian Martin and Ty Parker. I do not expect either De La Cruz or Lemanczyk to remain with the Springfield club. That leaves Martin and Parker. Then there is the returning left fielder, Cody Haerther, who I project will begin the season in Springfield. I also believe the Cardinals will try Reid Gorecki in center again which leaves right field as an open slot to be contested. Parker has a couple of factors working in his favor. First, he played centerfield enough games to tell me that he has acceptable defense. He had fifteen stolen bases which shows either decent speed or good base-running instincts or both. Last but not least, Parker's catching background makes him an ideal candidate as that emergency catching option. The outfield situation at Double-A and Triple-A is simply too congested to make a good projection.

Jackson Paz (LHR) – Paz was shifted from Quad Cities to Springfield for the Rule 5 draft where he currently remains. His 2005 season was basically lost due to a sore left shoulder. He went on Quad Cities' disabled list on April 26th and was activated on June 18th. He returned to the disabled list on June 25th where he remained for the season's balance. Paz pitched a total of seven and one-third innings over six games, all in relief, while compiling a 2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .179 BAA. There are much more experienced candidates for the lefty reliever role in the Springfield bullpen such as Kevin Ool, Anthony Rawson and free-agent signee Sam Walton. I expect Paz to return to the Swing in 2006 and try to show that he can stay healthy.

Anthony Rawson (LHR) – Rawson was re-assigned from Palm Beach to Springfield for the Rule 5 draft and he remains on that roster. He began 2006 in the Springfield bullpen where he compiled a 4.35 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and .281 BAA in forty-one and one-third innings over thirty-eight games. He was optioned to Palm Beach on July 24th where he amassed a 2.78 ERA and 1.24 WHIP but his BAA remained at .282.

Rawson may have reached the level of his ability. 2006 will be his sixth year in the Cardinals' minor league system. He turns 26 in July. His experience and health give him an edge to make the Springfield bullpen over, say, Jackson Paz but Rawson's opportunities may be dwindling. I hate to see that happen for any player but particularly one that was drafted in the forty-second round. Rawson long ago beat the longevity odds assigned to a forty-second rounder.

Christopher Russ (RHR) – Russ was moved from the Palm Beach to Springfield roster. He began 2005 on the disabled list with an unknown injury. Russ was activated on May 27th and assigned to class A-Advanced Palm Beach. He compiled a 5.35 ERA, 1.49 WHIP in twenty-two and two-thirds innings and opposing batters hit .295 against him. Fellow Palm Beach bullpenners Roberto Batista, Justin Garza, Rich Scalamandre and Anthony Rawson, all currently assigned to the Springfield roster, are all more likely to make the Springfield roster than is Russ at this point.

John Santor (1B) – Santor was transferred from Palm Beach to Springfield for the Rule 5 draft. He spent all of 2005 at Palm Beach where he went .218/.291/.346/.637, 70-for-321 in ninety-eight games. Defensively, Santor played almost exclusively at first base although he did make five appearances at third. Santor did not play in the division series against Vero Beach and played one of three games against Lakeland in the league series. Santor turned 24 in November. At this point his main competition for either the first base or a bench position is Andy Schutzenhofer, who is profiled below. But that could change if Chris Duncan is moved back to first after playing the outfield during the off-season. If that happens, Juan Diaz, who I currently project as the Redbirds' first baseman, might be re-assigned to Springfield.

Rich Scalamandre (RHR) – Scalamandre was shifted from Palm Beach to the Memphis roster for the Rule 5 draft and then to the Springfield roster. He began 2005 in Palm Beach, where he pitched seven and two-thirds innings over five games before being promoted to Springfield on April 27th. His stay in Springfield was not long as he was optioned back to Palm Beach on May 17th. Scalamandre totaled six and two-thirds innings with a 4.05 ERA and 2.40 WHIP in Springfield. He compiled a 3.15 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and .255 BAA in fifty-four and one-third innings in Palm Beach. Scalamandre also participated in the Arizona Fall League where he his 1.76 ERA in fifteen and one-third innings pitched over nine games is not supported by his peripherals of a 1.59 WHIP and .292 BAA.

Scalamandre faces stiff competition from Mark Worrell, who I project to begin 2006 in the Springfield bullpen, Roberto Batista, Justin Garza and free-agent signee Victor Moreno for a spot as a righty reliever in the Springfield bullpen. 2006 will be his fourth full season, and fifth season overall, in the Cardinals' minor league system. He turned 25 in August. Like several of the other members of the 2005 Palm Beach bullpen, Scalamandre's opportunities for advancement may be dwindling.

Andy Schutzenhofer (1B, LF) – Schutzenhofer was switched from the Palm Beach to Springfield roster for the Rule 5 draft. He made the Springfield squad out of Spring Training in 2005 as the Cardinals' starting first baseman. However, his playing time decreased when Juan Diaz was signed on May 18th to punch up the Springfield offense. Schutzenhofer was optioned to Palm Beach on June 23rd, where he spent the balance of the season. He was Palm Beach's first baseman during the division series against Vero Beach and appeared in all five games of the league series against Lakeland. Overall, he went .263/.366/.318/.684, 101-for-384, in one hundred twenty games, combined. Defensively, Schutzenhofer played first base the entire season except for one appearance in left field. He is considered a good glove and was often used as a late-inning defensive replacement for defensively-challenged first basemen.

Schutzenhofer turns 25 in late January and 2006 will be his third full season, fourth season overall, in the Cardinals' minor league system. Depending on circumstances at first base as outlined in the profile of John Santor, Schutzenhofer stands a better chance of making the Springfield club than does Santor.

Yonathan Sivira (OF) – Although 2005 was only Sivira's second season in American professional ball, it was his fourth professional season in total. Therefore, he had to be protected in the Rule 5 draft or the Cardinals risked losing him. Hence, the Cardinals moved him from the New Jersey to Memphis roster for Rule 5 but then switched him to the Quad Cities roster. Like his New Jersey outfield teammate Carlos De La Cruz, Sivira was apparently protected because Tony Granadillo was not. (Go back and read part 1 if you need an explanation.)

Sivira spent 2005 in New Jersey where he went .253/.310/.342/.652, 57-for-225 in sixty-one games. Defensively, he was New Jersey's starting centerfielder until late July when he missed time with an injury. Sean Danielson played so well in center and at the plate that Sivira was relegated to left field when he returned to full-time duty in mid-August. He returned to center when Danielson was promoted on August 30th.

Sivira turns 22 in late January, so still has plenty of time to develop. At best he will begin 2006 in Quad Cities, where his primary competition for the centerfield position should be Sean Danielson. He may, however, repeat short-season A at State College.

Matt Weagle (RHP) – Weagle was transferred from Johnson City to Springfield for the Rule 5 draft. At first glance, you might ask why the Cardinals would bother to protect a 23-year-old pitcher who just finished his third season of professional ball in rookie ball but missed the entire 2004 season and has a cumulate 7.77 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in forty-four innings over twenty-three games. After all, his 2005 stats of a 7.00 ERA and 1.78 WHIP are only a bit better than his 2003 stats; 11.25 ERA and 2.50 WHIP. Well, the answer comes in the stats for the last month of the season. During August Weagle's line was: 8 G, 1 GS, 0 CG, 1-1, 3 SV, 12 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 HR, 5 BB, 14 SO, 2.25 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2.80 K/BB, 12 K/9 IP, .214 BAA. Those stats get a pitcher protected even if he is old for the league.

While I do not expect Weagle to come close to making the Springfield club, he may well be skipped up to Quad Cities. He turns 24 in July, but cannot be judged solely on his age versus the level at which he is pitching. As shown above, Weagle has very limited professional pitching experience so is way behind on the learning curve.

Spencer Wyman (C) – Wyman was moved from the Quad Cities to Springfield roster for Rule 5 protection. Wyman spent the first part of the 2005 season in extended Spring Training. He joined the Quad Cities club on June 22nd, three days after Brandon Yarbrough was optioned to short-season A New Jersey. Wyman played in Quad Cities until August 23rd, when he went on the disabled list. He was activated on September 7th for the Swing's short post-season run. Wyman went .197/.324/.274/.597, 23-for-117 in thirty-five games.

Wyman appears to be another of the defensively-skilled, offensively challenged catchers that comprise a decent portion of the catching contingency in the Cardinals' minor league system. As such, it is difficult to project where he will begin 2006, but it likely will not be in Double-A since he has both Jason Motte and Matt Pagnozzi ahead of him on the depth chart.

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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