Cardinals Prospects and the 40-Man Roster

A look back at prospects added to the St. Louis Cardinals' 40-man roster over the last seven years.

In my recent article, "Cardinals Roster Roulette", I looked at a number of possible changes to the St. Louis Cardinals 40-man roster this winter. A central part of that analysis was which prospects might be added this time around. This would be done in most cases to ensure the youngsters are not taken by another organization in December's Rule 5 Draft or in isolated situations earlier in the fall to ensure a valued player does not leave via six-year minor league free agency.

While the fall 2007 decisions have not yet been made, one individual who could be labeled as a prospect has been added to the Cardinals' 40-man since Spring Training. Infielder Brian Barden was claimed via waivers from Arizona in mid-August.

In the above "Roulette" article, I declared four prospects who I forecasted might also be protected by the Cardinals in the upcoming days. They are infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir, first baseman/outfielder Joe Mather, along with pitchers Jason Motte and Stuart Pomeranz.

Predictably, this generated some very interesting discussion on our premium message board. At least six readers offered their own specific projections, which are shown in tabular form on page two of the thread.

The members of the group are unanimous in their view that Hoffpauir, Mather and Motte should join the 40-man. While five other prospects were cited by at least one individual, none received support from as many as half of the seven of us.

Several of the readers thought six players should be added to the 40-man. Others felt protecting so many would not be necessary as the other players were probably not at risk to be lost via Rule 5. That group includes pitchers Pomeranz, Kyle McClellan, Mark Worrell, Eric Haberer and Mike Parisi.

Another data point discussed that may be relevant or at least interesting is to compare the volume of this year's projected roster plusses to prospects added in other recent years. While this data was not readily available, I accepted the intellectual challenge to collect and analyze it.

First, some ground rules need to be defined. I started by taking a snapshot of the 40-man roster at the same time each year starting in 2001, prior to Spring Training. I extracted the names of the first-year additions, and noted the number of subsequent years they spent on the roster. Further drill-down on the roster "staying power" of these prospects is worthy side project for another day.

Naturally, I excluded veteran free agents signed, like Jason Isringhausen, but also former MLB'ers with less experience, such as Brian Falkenborg. I also made the decision to leave off previously-released players and six-year minor league free agents, based on the black-and-white contention that by that point, these players are not really considered serious prospects any longer. At least I am declaring that in the context of this article.

As a result, reclamation projects like Ryan Ludwick, John Rodriguez, Kelvin Jimenez, Troy Cate, Randy Flores, Scott Seabol, Kiko Calero and Jason Simontacchi are not listed. I know it can be debated whether or not these players should be included, but I chose to draw the line where I did. I may do another article in the future on these players culled from the scrap heap, only to become first-time major leaguers with the Cardinals. Prospects traded into the organization and those claimed off waivers are listed here.

Of course, there are many factors that could affect these counts, including the strength of the recent drafts preceding any given season as well as trade activity, where prospects may have been moved for veterans prior to the youngsters reaching the 40-man. Another major variable is the quantity of major leaguers filling up the remainder of the roster. Analysis of those possibilities is not the focus here.

First of all, here is the raw number of changes year-to-year. It is interesting to note the every-other-year variance from eight-to-ten adds one year dropping to five or fewer the next. If one had any belief in this pattern, it would indicate a larger number of 40-man additions this fall. I doubt that, though.

New 40-man additions (prospects)

Pre-'08

Spring '07

Spr '06

Spr '05

Spr '04

Spr '03

Spr '02

1+4?

5

8

3

8

1

10

Next are the details themselves by player. Again, the number of seasons spent on the roster is shown in parenthesis behind the players' names. A plus sign (+) denotes the player remains on the roster today.

Pre-2008
Pitchers Pomeranz? Motte?
Catchers
Infielders Barden (<1+) Hoffpauir?
Outfielders Mather?
Spr. 2007
Pitchers Hawksworth (1+) Dove (1+) Cavazos (1+) Kinney (1+)
Catchers
Infielders
Outfielders Haerther (1+)
Spr. 2006
Pitchers Reyes, An (2+) Johnson (2+) Narveson (2+)* Mateo (<1)
Catchers
Infielders Duncan (2+) Hanson (2) Ryan, B (2+)
Outfielders Schumaker (2+)
* second time
Spr. 2005
Pitchers Cali (2)
Catchers Molina, Y (3+)
Infielders
Outfielders Gorecki (2)
Spr. 2004
Pitchers Wainwright (4+) Narveson (1) Haren (1) Parrott (2)
Pitchers Rust (2)
Catchers
Infielders Gall (3) Hart (2) Luna (3)
Outfielders
Spr. 2003
Pitchers Duff (1)
Catchers
Infielders
Outfielders
Spr. 2002
Pitchers Caple (2) Crudale (2) Joseph (1) Journell (4)
Pitchers Lambert, J (2) Layfield (2) Pearce (3) Smith, B (1)
Catchers
Infielders Garcia, L (1) Pujols (7+)
Outfielders

Now, let's look at each season in brief.

2002. Few remember first baseman Luis Garcia, who came to the Cards in the Dustin Hermanson trade with Boston. He departed the next trade deadline as the forgotten "other player" sent along with player-to-be-named later Coco Crisp to Cleveland in the Chuck Finley trade.

A whopping eight young pitchers had been added to the Cardinals 40-man in the year between spring 2001 and 2002. Bud Smith had his moment of glory before injury and trade ended his Cardinals career. Jimmy Journell seemingly held forever the title Chris Perez has today as the club's "closer in waiting". While he hung around for four years, it never came together for Journell.

Then there is that Pujols guy. As most know, he was first put on the 40-man roster at the start of the 2001 regular season. So, for this work, he was an addition following the start of 2001 Spring Training.

2003. Perhaps it is coincidence, but the disastrous 2003 season stands out here with only one new player having been added up through the system. Many remember the awful veteran additions during the season such as infamous bullpenners Estaban Yan and Pedro Borbon Jr. With the obvious exception of Pujols, few of the numerous additions held over from 2002 were difference-makers.

2004. Homegrown Danny Haren and trade acquisition Adam Wainwright led the group of five promising pitchers who had been placed on the 40-man since spring 2003. Rule 5 pick up Hector Luna joined fan favorite Bo Hart and power-hitting prospect John Gall. Of the eight, only Wainwright remains today.

2005. Another down year in terms of quantity, but Yadier Molina's arrival is certainly noteworthy.

2006. The start of the second tour of duty for Chris Narveson and the short, ill-fated Rule 5 claim of single-A pitcher Juan Mateo from the Cubs stand out. Current contributors Anthony Reyes, Tyler Johnson, Chris Duncan, Brendan Ryan and Skip Schumaker arrived on the 40-man as did disappointing Travis Hanson, removed from the roster following this season. Johnson had been left unprotected in the December, 2004 Rule 5 draft, then selected by Oakland, but returned to the Cardinals near the end of spring training 2005.

2007. Four players were added last fall coming into this season, along with Troy Cate, who was filtered out of this work due to the fact he was previously released. The four are pitchers Andy Cavazos, Dennis Dove and Blake Hawksworth plus outfielder Cody Haerther. Having joined the team during 2006, reliever Josh Kinney also made his first appearance on the roster.

Have you own views of who should the Cardinals should add to their 40-man roster? Of course, you do! So, tell us about it. Join the discussion on our premium message board today!



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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