The Johnson City Cardinals enter their 33rd consecutive season as an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals (51st year overall as the Johnson City Cardinals) and will begin play in the Appalachian League (founded 1937) on the road against the Greeneville Astros on Tuesday night June 19 @ 7 PM.
Shawn Kerrick will be attending many of the games in person and will file regular reports and updates throughout the season – available exclusively to Scout.com subscribers. Enjoy this free preview, but subscribe now to catch all our Cardinals minor league coverage.
Manager and Pitching Coach
Replacing 2006 Johnson City Manager Dan Radison,
who is now a roving minor league hitting instructor with the Cardinals, will be
last year's assistant coach Joe Almaraz.
Almaraz has managed in the minor leagues before in both the Cincinnati Reds (
The new pitching coach will be Sid Monge, who
replaces Al Holland.
Schedule Changes and Features
The 2007 Appalachian League schedule will have a much different look with the loss of the Pulaski Blue Jays (added a team to the Gulf Coast League) and the resulting decrease in teams from ten to nine. The schedule used to have almost exclusively three-game series with several league wide off-days however; the 2007 schedule features nothing but two-game series with four scheduled doubleheaders (three games in two days) and four scheduled two-day-off periods.
· 68 scheduled games
· Starts June 19
· Ends August 29
Two division winners
· Nine games each against the East Division (Kingsport Mets, Bristol White Sox, Greeneville Astros, and Elizabethton Twins)
5 road games @ Greeneville and Elizabethton
5 home games vs.
· Eight games each against the West Division (Bluefield Orioles, Burlington Royals, Danville Braves, and Princeton Devil Rays) - 4 on road and 4 at home.
· Four scheduled doubleheaders
Thu. Jul 19 - Day/Night 2-City - in Greeneville @ and in JC @
Fri. Jul 27 - in
Thu. Aug 9 - in Elizabethton @ TBD (probably )
Sat. Aug 18 - Day/Night 2-City - in JC @ and in
· Four scheduled 2-day-off periods
Jun 29-30 (Fri and Sat)
Jul 13-14 (Fri and Sat)
Aug 4-5 (Sat and Sun)
Aug 22-23 (Wed and Thu)
Possible Returning Players
Since this article is preceding the 2007 June amateur draft and since there is no way to know for sure how many of those draftees will be signed, it is difficult to know if all the players currently in extended spring training (EST) will be assigned to a short-season roster. One thing in their favor this year is the addition of a Gulf Coast League team in Jupiter, FL that will likely be staffed predominantly with Latin American prospects and high school draftees. For the purposes of this article, I will assume that there will be roster spots available for all the players discussed but the term "possibly released" will be used for those players likely to be last at their position on the pre-draft depth chart.
The 2006 roster had eight players return from 2005
but three of those were pitchers stuck on the 60-day DL due to arm injuries
(Tyler Leach, Josh Wilson, and Shaun Garceau). There are currently seventeen players
not yet assigned to a full season roster that ended the 2006 season on the
Kris Bakey: The
RH relief pitcher finished the 2006 season as the closer after Luke Gregerson
was promoted to the NYPL. Bakey
finished with a record of 2-5 with four saves, a 3.38 ERA, a .288 BAA, 40 H (no
HR), 13 BB, and 30 K in 34.2 IP.
The 22-yr-old, 6-foot-3, 225 pound, 2006 undrafted free agent from Stony
Brook University (NY) is reported to be in extended spring training (EST)
recovering from an unknown injury however, he has no stats through the April 30
update. Bakey could be assigned to
Garrett Bussiere: The
regular starting catcher through June and July posted a .156 AVG, .270 OBP, .313
SLG, and .583 OPS (3 HR) in 22 G and 64 AB before suffering a concussion in a
Ranked as the #15 Cardinal prospect by the Birdhouse and the #27 prospect
by Baseball America, Edwards has the Cardinal organization's "Best
Outfield Arm" and was ranked as the #9 prospect in the Appalachian League in
2006 per BA. Edwards started
out the 2006 season very well but hamstring and wrist injuries limited his
playing time toward the end of the season.
The 6-foot-5, 230 pound right fielder was a 14th round pick in
2006 out of Keller HS (TX). The now
19-yr-old posted an impressive line, considering his injuries, of .266 AVG, .360
OBP, .461 SLG, and .821 OPS in 154 AB.
Edwards has been reportedly striking-out-looking at an alarmingly high
rate (19 K in 40 AB) but has also taken an extended spring training high 11
BB. Edwards is in the top five in
at-bats in extended spring training and
Brandon Garner: The
2005 2B/SS with a .181 AVG in 94 AB joined Jason Motte and Jon Mikrut as former
position players turned relief pitchers.
Garner is reportedly being groomed as a possible 2007 starting
pitcher. Garner appeared in 20 G in
2006 and started two of those at the end of the year after Tyler Herron was
Missed the entire 2006 season due to "Tommy John",
elbow-ligament-replacement surgery after being drafted in the 39th
round of the 2005 draft out of Kings Mountain HS (NC). Leach started eight games in 2005 and
posted a record of 3-3 with 6.31 ERA and 47 H (5 HR) in 35.2 IP. Leach is now healthy but has been wild
and has been hit really hard in extended spring training having given up 14 H,
14 ER, and 17 BB in just 7.1 IP. A
return assignment to
Fabian Marquez: The
right handed relief pitcher from
Travis Mitchell: The
speedy, starting outfielder was a 13th round pick out of
Proved to be versatile starter by splitting time between 3B and C. Mulligan demonstrated an accurate and
strong arm in both positions but struggled a bit in fielding at 3B. Received a $150,000 signing bonus as a
22nd round pick out of Valencia HS (CA) in 2006. Like Mitchell, Mulligan really
struggled at the plate with a .201 AVG, .273 OBP, .249 SLG, and .521 OPS in 189
AB. Unlike Mitchell however, extra
time at 2006 Winter Instructs and extended spring training has resulted in no
improvement so far for Mulligan:
.189 AVG, .302 OBP, .243 SLG, and .545 OPS in 37 AB. A return trip to
Matt North: Was
the highest draft pick to play in
Senger Peralta: The
only LH starting pitcher for
Ranked as the #39 Cardinal prospect by the Birdhouse and the #22 prospect
by Baseball America, Pham started out like house of fire in June as the
starting SS but soon fizzled (after returning from a groin injury) both at the
plate and even more-so in the field.
A highly touted pitcher who reportedly had a strong desire to play as an
infielder, Pham was thought to be unsignable but was drafted in the
16th round out of Durango HS in
Frank Pol: A
late-July, free agent signee out of New York City, the 6-foot-6, 245 pound,
19-year-old RH relief pitcher posted a 4.91 ERA and .154 BAA in only 3.2 IP and
3 G giving up 2 H, 2 BB, and 3 K.
Pol has an unknown injury and is "rehabbing at home". Starting the season on the
Melvin Puello: Took
over the starting SS position from Pham in July and after a cold start at the
plate, posted a .235 AVG, .257 OBP, .301 SLG, and .559 OPS in 136 AB. The free swinging Puello (2 BB with 41
K) had an extensive hitting streak in the middle of the season to help avoid the
Latin American cuts in late 2006 and to earn a trip to the Dominican Winter
Instructs, where he posted a .259 AVG in only 27 AB. Puello frequently showed signs of
fielding brilliance despite committing 18 errors in 45 G. Puello was reported to have a "minor injury" on March 15
but he still has no stats at extended spring training. A return trip to
Albert's cousin has struggled for two consecutive years in
Jose Ramirez: The
22-year-old Venezuelan was 0-for-18 in 6 G as an outfielder before a season
ending arm/shoulder injury sent him home. Healthy again and getting a close look in
extended spring training (second-most ABs of all position players), Ramirez has
posted a .222 AVG, .300 OBP, .333 SLG (1 3B, 1 HR), and .633 OPS in 45 AB. A return to
Yeury Valera: A
Venezuelan-born, late-July addition to the bullpen,
Shawn Kerrick can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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