The Cardinals recently signed five players to minor league deals, pitchers Billy Simon and Troy Cate, first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke and third sacker Rico Washington. The first two are faded prospects while the latter two seem destined to be minor league vagabonds.
These players may
turn out to be fine organization men, but it is hard to forecast seeing any of
Billy Simon, Right-handed pitcher
Simon was very well thought of coming out of high school. He slipped to the ninth round in 2001 only because he had committed to LSU after graduating from the same school as former Cardinal Justin Pope, who went in the first round in that same 2001 draft. However, the Red Sox gave Simon fourth-round money to sign.
With his considerable size, Simon initially impressed, but has had problems staying healthy. In 2003, he didn't pitch at all due to a hereditary vertebra condition and also missed the entire 2005 season.
When healthy, Simon's fastball was in the 90-92 MPH range with sink and he also has a good curve, but his changeup is still a work in progress. According to Baseball America, Simon was the Sox' #7 prospect in 2003, fell to #23 in 2004 and by 2005 was off the prospect radar screen.
Simon is only 23 years old, however, so if his physical problems are behind him, there is still hope.
Scout.com player profile: http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=321&p=8&c=1&nid=785786
Troy Cate, Left-handed pitcher
Cate is a bit behind some pitchers of his age due to the fact that he went on a two-year Mormon mission following high school. The finesse lefty's command is considered a plus as is his ability to change speeds. His two and four seam fastballs are in the 85-90 MPH range, while his curveball is his strength. Cate's changeup is slightly above average, but his slider is inconsistent.
was suspended last season for 15 games due to a negative steroids test. He was
ranked #29 on Baseball
Cate was switched from starting to relieving prior to 2005, when he fanned 54 in 42-2/3 innings. However, keeping matters in perspective, it was his fourth season in A-ball.
Scout.com player profile: http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=318&p=8&c=1&nid=692320
Jesse Hoorelbeke, First base
Hoorelbeke is a 28-year-old non-prospect apparently signed as roster filler. He has played in the Dodgers and Mariners organizations after signing with the former as an undrafted free agent in 2002.
In his fourth season as a pro at Double-A last season, Hoorelbeke hit 22 home runs and drove in 81 runs for his best power display ever, but hit just .249.
Scout.com player profile: http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=321&p=8&cfg=null&c=1&nid=1845809
Rico Washington, Third base
Ht. 5-9. Wt. 194. B/T: L/R. School:
Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in tenth round of the 1997
More roster padding is going on with Mr. Washington, who is joining his fourth organization since signing his first professional contract nine years ago. The Cards are his third system in the last three seasons.
Scout.com player profile: http://scout.scout.com/a.z?s=321&p=8&c=1&nid=1887099
Frank Perez, Right-handed pitcher
Ht. 6-2. Wt. 170. B/T: R/R. Signed out of the
by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997. Dominican
After starting in 2004, Perez was the closer for the Phillies in Triple-A in 2005. He earned 23 saves and 1-7 record with a 4.96 ERA. His strikeouts were low and walks relatively high.
At one time, Perez
was a decent prospect. He was #22 on Baseball
Scout.com player profile:
Pitcher Bo Dickerson and infielder Steward Chacin were released.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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