Cardinals Release Three Minor Leaguers

The St. Louis Cardinals released three Latin American players, including one who reached Quad Cities in 2007.

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to trim their ranks, releasing right-handed pitcher Angel Cruz and shortstop Juan Mosquera. In addition, catcher Wilmer Alvarado was reinstated from the inactive list only to be released as well.

Cruz, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander, just completed his third year in the Cardinals system. The now-21-year-old was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent on June 7, 2007.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Cruz began his career immediately with the 2007 Dominican Summer League Cardinals, where he posted a 3.76 ERA in 13 appearances. In nine starts in 2008, Cruz was sharp, striking out 47 in 50 innings and registering a 1.62 ERA.

Cruz earned a spot in the DSL All-Star Game and was named our DSL Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2008. He could not sustain the success, however. Cruz received a late-season promotion to the Gulf Coast League, where he struggled in three appearances (11.05 ERA).

Cruz returned to the GCL Cardinals this summer and had a 6.86 ERA in 10 appearances, including three starts. He fanned 21 but walked ten in 19 2/3 innings.

Mosquera, 21, is a native of Panama City, signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in June 2006. After hitting just .152 in his first summer in the Dominican Summer League, the switch-hitter batted .299 in his 2007 DSL repeat season and was named our DSL Player of the Year.

Making the step to the USA proved to be a challenge, as Mosquera managed just nine singles in 74 at-bats, though he drew 13 walks (.162/292/.162) with the 2008 Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

The slight-of-build (5-foot-10, 165-pound) shortstop returned to the GCL in 2009, where he struggled to reach a .600 OPS, posting a line of .232/.329/.272 in 125 at-bats over 43 games.

Hopes were once high for Alvarado, a potential power bat signed as a non-drafted free agent on April 15, 2005. The switch-hitter hit .225 in 54 games for the Dominican Summer League Cardinals that summer. Alvarado split the 2006 season between the VSL and DSL clubs. He hit just .116 in 14 DSL games, but .299 in 28 VSL contests.

In 2007, Alvarado started the season playing third base and catcher for Quad Cities after being added from extended spring training at the end of May, but batted just .200 in 27 Midwest League games. By mid-July, he was bumped down to Rookie-level Johnson City.

The then-19-year-old hit just .130 in 46 at-bats with Johnson City and committed eight errors in fourteen games while playing third base. In early August 2007, the Venezuelan native was suspended indefinitely due to off-field issues and was sent home. He spent the last two seasons on the restricted, then inactive list.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation blog.

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