Cards Winter Warm-Up Report - Luhnow Sessions

Jason Scott reports from the scouting and minor league presentations at the Winter Warm-Up with almost two hours of exclusive insider audio coverage.

I attended two separate presentations/Q&A sessions on Monday at the Winter-Warm up, both of which were headed up by Jeff Luhnow. Also present were Dan Kantrovitz (Director of College Scouting), Sig Mejdal (Senior Quantitative Analyst), Mike Girsch (Scouting Development Coordinator) and John Vuch (Director of Minor League Operations).

The first half primarily focused on the Cardinals methods of player evaluation. They talked about scouting and the use of statistics in trying to predict future success. I'm not going to go into much detail on the first half, but you can listen to it by clicking the links below (subscribers only).



The second hour focused on the minor league system and the international program. Click on the link below to listen to the presentation.


Luhnow talked about how the main signing date for premium players in Latin America is July 2. This past year on that day, the Cardinals signed 16-year-old shortstop Romulo Ruiz, 16-year-old outfielder Fredrick Parejo and pitcher Juan Castillo.

The Cardinals have a total of 15 scouts in Latin America, compared to 18 in North America. The countries they have covered include the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Curacao. He also briefly mentioned that the Cardinals will be exploring Asia for the first time (more on that below).

Vuch then talked about the minor league clubs. He said that the new GCL team will predominately be used for international and high school players and Johnson City will see more college players.

A chart that was projected up on the screen showed a step-by-step listing of all the team's minor league affiliates and Batavia and Johnson City were listed on the same level, both feeding into Quad Cities. He did, however, say that most GCL players will first be promoted to Johnson City, but some will skip over to Batavia.

Next up was the Q&A session where I asked Luhnow to expand on the Asia comment. He doesn't believe it is worth scouting Japan because most of those amateurs are offered big money by the Japanese clubs, so that pretty much just puts it down to Korea, Australia and Taiwan.

"It's now been five, ten years," he said. I think the time is right for us to go over there and figure out how we're going to do it. And I think this year, 2007, is really going to be more of an exploratory year, figure out what the plan is for Asia.

"We don't want to miss out on these players, but by-and-large, by not having been super-active over there, we haven't missed a lot because there hasn't been a tremendous crop making it to the big leagues."

To listen to more from the Q&A session click on the link below.


Following are just a few things I learned by talking to Luhnow and Vuch following the sessions.

• When I asked Luhnow where Randy Roth fits best position-wise, he said that Roth told him during the playoffs that he is going to work on his catching over the offseason. He will still play first, third and outfield as well, however.

• When I asked him about the possibility of Troy Cate starting next season after his success as a starter in winter ball, Luhnow said that it would be one of those "pop-up during spring training calls" and that "it's a possibility".

• I asked Vuch about the injury status of Josh Wilson, Kenny Maiques, Phillip Andersen, Shaun Garceau, Mark Michael, Mike Cooper and Mike Schellinger. He said that all should be 100% going into spring training. He said the only players that will be behind this year are Mark McCormick (shoulder surgery), Tyler Leach and maybe Jason Cairns (knee injury). Garrett Bussiere who suffered a concussion is apparently suffering from post-concussion syndrome and his status is still up in the air as well.

Vuch said that McCormick is not expected to throw off a mound until mid-to-late May and will be out the longest. Cairns will be throwing in 2-3 weeks and he could be ready by spring training, but he's just not 100% yet. He was happy to report, however, that there is currently nobody expected to miss the entire season.


For coverage of Saturday's Q&A session with John Mozeliak please check out bccran's thread on our message board.

Jason Scott can be reached via email at

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