On Tuesday night, after the final
out of the Memphis Redbirds' disappointing 11-inning loss in the Triple-A
Championship Game, word surfaced that four players would be heading to join the
major league St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in
They are infielders Tyler Greene and David Freese, right-handed reliever Josh Kinney and catcher Matt Pagnozzi. The former three have major league experience while the latter player must first be placed onto the organization's 40-man roster. With only 38 players on the roster coming in, the addition of Pagnozzi is easy, at least for the short-term.
In numerology, Greene and Kinney get back their old numbers 27 and 52, respectively. Freese's former 12 is now worn by Julio Lugo, so the third baseman will instead be sporting Brian Barden's and Anthony Reyes' old 23. Pagnozzi will don number 19 for his MLB debut, the number last worn by Nick Stavinoha.
I will discuss Garcia and Walters later. Hoffpauir has the ability to get on base, but the Cardinals are already crowded in the middle infield. Tyler Greene is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order. Same for Craig and Freese. Ring had already been removed once from the 40-man roster. His hopes of a comeback were totally hinged on the Cardinals wanting a third left-hander. That didn't happen.
Over six weeks ago, back on August
8-11, I ran a two-part series here entitled "Projecting Cards September
Call-Ups". At that point,
Based on past years, for the entire month of September, I projected as many as four position players and five pitchers might be added. Instead, the Cardinals made the wise (non-)move to leave the Triple-A Redbirds' roster intact through their post-season.
As such, as September opened, the
Cardinals only re-added three players to the expanded active roster, two
pitchers and a position player – Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse and
Because it was September, these established major leaguers did not bump others off the active roster that might otherwise have been at risk for demotion had it been prior to September 1. In all three cases, the Cardinals needed to see what they have in the three as October nears.
Now, let's see how I did in my earlier predictions.
Call-Ups Mitchell Boggs
already with St. Louis P.J. Walters
miss Blake Hawksworth
already with St. Louis Josh Kinney
correct Jaime Garcia
returning from TJ surgery Matt Pagnozzi
correct Tyler Greene
correct David Freese
correct Nick Stavinoha
injured, out for the
Of the nine call-ups I predicted, I had six correct for a 66.7% accuracy rating. No players were promoted that were not on my list of nine. Given I made my cut six weeks early with no knowledge that Memphis would play on this long, I submit that is a pretty good score.
Two pitchers, Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth, were already in
I correctly named all four of the additions this week – Kinney, Pagnozzi, Tyler Greene and Freese.
Though one major media Cardinals watcher did not include Pagnozzi among his projected call-ups as recently as last week, the catcher's omission must have been an oversight. For as long as I can remember, the Cardinals bring up a third catcher to give the starter rest and the back-up work to get sharp heading into the playoffs.
I missed my predictions on the following three players.
Nick Stavinoha lost his chance on August 28 for
a return to
Had that unfortunate injury not occurred, I believe the power-hitting outfielder would have been back with the Cardinals. In fact, in my earlier projection article, I featured Stavi in the photo. Here is hoping there is no Sports Illustrated-like cover jinx here!
P.J. Walters was another miss. The
right-hander had three separate stints in the majors this season, his rookie
year, but was stung by inconsistency down the stretch with
In his nine regular-season starts
P.J. then allowed five earned runs
in 8 2/3 post-season innings. All told, the 24-year-old tossed a career-high 145
2/3 innings in 2009 after having also pitched in winter ball in
Left-hander Jaime Garcia returned from Tommy John surgery even stronger than I expected, and remember that I projected him as a September call-up while he was still back in A-ball in the early stages of his rehab stint.
In nine regular games across three levels beginning on July 23, Garcia was nothing short of spectacular. The 23-year-old logged a 2.87 ERA in 37 2/3 innings, during which he fanned 41 and walked just 14.
In the post-season, Garcia was
even better. Winning game one of both the
There are rumblings that Garcia was pulled from the start in the Triple-A Championship Game Tuesday night due to soreness brought on by his considerable workload – roughly 50 innings over just his first 60 days back.
With the full benefit of
hindsight, bringing who I see as their top prospect to
In a subsequent article, I will share my post-season roster predictions, but in a preparatory comment, among the six, I would assign the highest odds to Hawksworth and Freese.
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