Spring Training Notebook - NRI Report Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals invited 19 non-roster players to spring training this season. Some of them like the minor league catchers who were in camp early to help work with the pitchers and some minor league prospects have very little or no chance to make the club's roster out of spring training, but others can make the most of the opportunity, like Josh Hancock and Scott Spiezio did last season.

2007 Non-Roster Invitee Report Cards

Last season relief pitcher Josh Hancock and super sub Scott Spiezio, both made the St. Louis Cardinals ballclub out of spring training as non-roster invitees, this year 19 players are hoping they can do the same thing.


#87  Bryan Anderson, C,  Recently ranked by the staff at www.thestlcardinals.com as the Cardinals #4 prospect, only appeared in one game for the Cardinals before being reassigned to the minor league camp.  GRADE: Incomplete

#49  Rick Ankiel, OF, The Cardinals signed the pitcher-turned-outfielder to a minor league contract this winter, to include an invitation to spring training. Ankiel, who missed last season because of a patellar tendon injury suffered in spring training. He didn't have much of a chance to make the club. He played in 14 games for the Cardinals before being reassigned to the minor league camp, hitting .276 with 1 HR and 5 RBI in 29 at-bats.   GRADE: C


#70  Tagg Bozied, 1B/OF, The former San Diego Padres top 20 prospect played very well in camp and finished second to Miguel Negron, appearing in 16 straight games before pulling up lame with a hamstring problem. Bozied was hitting .323 while playing stellar defense.  GRADE: A

#19  Jolbert Cabrera, INF, Injuries to infielders Adam Kennedy and David Eckstein opened the door to more playing time for Cabrera.  Early in camp he was playing Gold Glove type of defense, he never started hitting and in 16 Grapefruit League games with 35 at-bats, the shortstop hit just .143 and even his defense was suspect at times.  Grade: C-

#82  Ryan Christianson, C, The 25-year-old catcher spent the 2006 season in the Tampa Bay organization with Double-A Montgomery, where he hit a paltry .195 in 328 at-bats, though he did set a new personal career high with 14 home runs. He's a solid guy to have behind the plate, with a good arm and handles the young pitchers very well. He only appeared in one game for St. Louis, going hitless in just one at-bat before being sent to the minor league camp.  GRADE: C

#81  Brian Esposito, C, In camp early primarily to help with the pitching staff, Esposito appeared in five games for the Cardinals going 0-for-5 at the plate.  GRADE: C

#68  Edgar Gonzalez, INF, The utility infielder made the most of his opportunity this spring, hitting .333 with three home runs and with eight RBI in 12 games.  He made two errors at second in 27 chances.  GRADE: A-

#74  Michael Hernandez, C, Not originally on the non-roster invitee sheet, Hernandez was dropped off the 40-man roster this winter.  He didn't see any playing time in Grapefruit League action.  GRADE: Incomplete

#78  Kelvin Jimenez, RP, The first pitcher this spring to catch the eye of St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa after the exhibition game against the Florida Atlantic University Owls, Jimenez survived a series of cuts from the major league club this spring.

Going into Tuesday's game, Jimenez had appeared in six games, six innings pitched and has not given up an earned run. He has walked two batters and struck out five.  A dark horse to make the club, but at least he's still playing.  GRADE: A+


#64  Chris Lambert, SP, The Boston College star appeared in only one game for St. Louis before being reassigned to the minor league camp. I wouldn't be surprise to see this starter being assigned to the bullpen at some point this season.  GRADE: Incomplete


#63  Ryan Ludwick, OF, Injuries to outfielders Jim Edmonds and Juan Encarnacion gave Ludwick opportunity to get more at-bats than he probably expected.  Ludwick hit a team leading .435, playing in 15 games before being reassigned to Triple-A Memphis on Monday.  Last season Ludwick hit .266 with 26 home runs and 82 RBI for the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate.  GRADE: A+

#35  Eli Marrero, UTL, Signed to a minor league contract in November, Marrero was/is considered a long shot to make the club. Marrero is still with the club because of his versatility. He's hitting just .235 prior to Tuesday's action.  GRADE: C-

#88  Miguel Negron, OF, Reassigned to Triple-A Memphis, Miguel Negron was the last man standing in the Cardinals Iron Man competition.  In 19 games though, he hit only .167.  A former first round draft pick, Negron never has developed into the player that everyone expected, with his tools.  GRADE: D+

#65  Mike Parisi, RP, Control problems plagued Parisi early in the major league camp.  He appeared in only one game, pitched one inning, giving up three hits, one of them being a home run.  He was one of the first players reassigned to the minor league camp.  He's a smart player who seems to have a handle the problem he had with his mechanics.  GRADE: C

#84  Colby Rasmus, OF, There are worst things than being an organization's top prospect, but the expectations for the young outfielder is very high and it will be almost impossible for him to live up to the hype.  He only got seven at-bats with the major league club, but his two hits in seven at-bats were doubles.  GRADE: Top Prospect

#83  Danilo Sanchez, C,  In camp to work with the Cardinals pitching staff, Sanchez  didn't get a chance to play in a game before being reassigned to the minor league camp.  GRADE: Incomplete

#66  Mike Sillman, RP, Another player who made the most of his playing time with the big club, appeared in two games for the Cardinals, giving up only one hit and struck out one batter before being reassigned to the minor league camp.  GRADE: A-

#62  Mike Smith, RP, Signed as a minor league free agent, in five games, Smith pitched five innings, giving up five hits and just one earned run.  He was reassigned to the minor league camp on March 12th.  GRADE: B

#67  Mark Worrell, RP, No relation to former St. Louis Cardinals closer Todd Worrell, pitched one perfect inning in relief for the major league club before being sent down.  GRADE: A




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