This coming weekend, the St. Louis Cardinals minor league staff will be welcoming 48 prospects to their Instructional League camp in Jupiter, Florida. The crop includes 23 pitchers and 25 position players, allowing both individual instruction as well as organized game play.
34 members of the 2008 draft class will see fall action, headlined by supplemental first rounder, pitcher Lance Lynn, followed by every other signed Cardinals draftee through round 24. The group is supplemented by two from the 2007 draft with the rest having been signed as free agents.
The Cardinals growing
international program is represented by six players that finished in the
Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues this season as well as several other
graduates. The roster includes two exciting young Latin American players,
infielder Yunier Castillo and outfielder Ryde Rodriguez, both promoted to
|Pitchers (23)||Bradford, Jared||Quad Cities||2008||18|
|Bravo, Jon||Johnson City||2008||23|
|Flores, Miguel||Johnson City||2008||16|
|Fornataro, Eric||Johnson City||2008||6|
|Freeman, Samuel||Palm Beach||2008||32|
|Frevert, Matt||Quad Cities||2008||28|
|Kulik, Ryan*||Quad Cities||2008||8|
|Lynn, Lance||Quad Cities||2008||1a|
|McGregor, Scott||Quad Cities||2008||15|
|Thomas, Kevin||Johnson City||2008||33|
|Catchers (6)||Cawley, Jack||Johnson City||2008||34|
|Murphy, Blake||Quad Cities||2008||42|
|Noland, Ricky||Johnson City||FA|
|1B (3)||Arburr, Matt||Palm Beach||2007||17|
|Rigoli, Matt||Johnson City||2008||21|
|Infielders (9)||Castellanos, Alex||Batavia||2008||10|
|Castillo, Yunier||Johnson City||FA|
|Mateo, Luis||Johnson City||2008||20|
|Vasquez, Niko||Quad Cities||2008||3|
|Outfielders (7)||Bogany, Jarred||Johnson City||FA|
|Kingrey, Charlie*||Palm Beach||2007||22|
|Luna, Aaron||Palm Beach||2008||9|
|Rodriguez, Ryde||Johnson City||FA|
Speaking a few days prior to rosters being finalized, camp coordinator Mike Shildt explains how the players were chosen.
"Mostly first-year guys from the
draft or ones from
Most of the players not on the roster but were perhaps expected to be there had other conflicts that precluded their participation.
"We have been working to finalize the list of players to be invited, to make sure they are healthy and that it would make sense for them to go, checking for school conflicts and things along those lines," Shildt explained.
There were other tradeoffs in
deciding how many Latin Americans to invite to what should already be a very
busy camp. Most will remain in the
"There will be a small handful invited. We're going to let a lot of the guys stay at their respective academies and play their fall and winter season there," Shildt explained.
From an experience level, the 48
players invited include 11 that finished the year on the full-season Class A
|2008 Club||# Players|
|Dominican Summer League||2|
|Venezuelan Summer League||4|
|Gulf Coast League||7|
A number of the members of the
Cardinals player development and minor league coaching staffs will be
participating, with the overall camp activities coordinated by Shildt. Having
The fundamentals of the Instructional League camp were established some time ago. Along with what looks like a solid draft, Extended Spring Training held from April until the start of short-season play in June seems to have translated into good results.
Shildt reflects the organization's pride in their preparation and team records that ensued.
"It was a good year. The year's not over, but considering everything in terms of how the organization has done, how well we did in Extended… You know, it was very unofficial as it is not about winning or losing games, but we had two teams down there and our more advanced guys, the White team, went 30-6 against other advanced competition.
"We had good success there and were able to extend it to the New York-Penn League and the Appalachian League… The Gulf Coast League players were just young and inexperienced. That eventually catches up with you," Shildt acknowledged.
Johnson City posted their first winning record since 1996 with the best record in their division and third best in the league (but missed the playoffs) while Batavia won their division in the New York-Penn League and are still playing in the post-season. The GCL club started ok but struggled much of the rest of the season.
Shildt focuses on the big picture.
"The organization is in really good shape right now. There are a lot of exciting kids, pretty good prospects. Jeff Luhnow has done a good job putting them in the right positions, elevating them when they are ready and they've rewarded the confidence. In fact, our entire player development department has done a superb job of instruction," he said.
In Instructional League play, the
Cardinals will face their eastern
With the Los Angeles Dodgers
having moved to
"It (the schedule) may have some benefit in that it might force you to… not that we don't do it anyway… but have a day or two extra to really just emphasize some hands-on stuff individually with guys. But it is a two-edged sword," Shildt acknowledged.
|Fri||19-Sep||FLA @ STL|
|Sat||20-Sep||STL @ NYM|
|Sun||21-Sep||STL @ FLA|
|Mon||22-Sep||STL @ NYM|
|Tue||23-Sep||FLA @ STL|
|Wed||24-Sep||STL @ NYM|
|Thu||25-Sep||STL @ FLA|
|Fri||26-Sep||STL @ NYM|
|Sat||27-Sep||FLA @ STL|
|Sun||28-Sep||STL @ FLA|
|Mon||29-Sep||STL @ NYM|
|Wed||1-Oct||NYM @ STL|
|Fri||3-Oct||STL @ NYM|
|Mon||6-Oct||NYM @ STL|
All in all, Shildt likely reflects the enthusiasm of all the Cardinals coaches and players heading to Jupiter this coming weekend.
"It will be a good opportunity for a lot of these guys. Last fall, a lot of guys benefited from the program and were able to carry over into this season – make that jump to the next club or in some cases, two clubs and be successful.
"It's the same plan with this group," said Shildt in closing.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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