Furnish Heads List of Ten Cards Released

St. Louis Cardinals 2006 second-round draft pick Brad Furnish and 2009 New York-Penn League All-Star Santo Maertz were among ten minor leaguers cut loose on Friday.

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced their second group of minor league player releases for the spring. The most prominent of the ten now ex-Cardinals is former second-round draft pick Brad Furnish. The others are pitchers Tyler Lavigne, Randy Santos, Adam Veres, Santo Maertz, Charlie Zink, Pedro Rodriguez and Yoffri Martinez along with outfielders Travis Mitchell and Edwin Gomez.

Five of the players were originally drafted by the Cardinals and two were selected by the organization as non-draft eligible free agents from overseas (NDFA). The other three joined the Cardinals over the winter as minor league free agents (MIFA).

Name Position Round Year Age 2009 level
Brad Furnish LHP 2 2006 24 Spr/PB
Tyler Lavigne RHP 50 2009 21 Batavia
Randy Santos RHP NDFA 2007 21 Johnson City
Adam Veres RHP 49 2008 22 Quad Cities
Santo Maertz RHP 44 2008 23 Batavia
Charlie Zink RHP MIFA 2010 30 AAA Boston
Pedro Rodriguez RHP MIFA 2009 22 DNP
Yoffri Martinez RHP MIFA 2010 24 A Pittsburgh
Travis Mitchell OF 13 2006 22 QC/Batavia
Edwin Gomez OF NDFA 2005 22 Bat/GCL

Furnish was selected with the 54th pick overall in 2006, the second compensation pick awarded the Cardinals for the loss of free agent Matt Morris. (The other was since-traded closer Chris Perez.) Like so many early organization picks, the left-hander came from a prominent college program, Texas Christian. He received a signing bonus of $600,000.

Furnish had a rough year in 2009, first being removed from the Springfield rotation a month into the season and two months later, found himself back down in Palm Beach. In Double-A, his control was his undoing, having walked 40 in just 42 1/3 innings and posting an ERA over nine.

He ended his Cardinals career with an aggregate 21-24 record with a 4.46 ERA. Furnish struck out 308, but walked 187 in 406 innings from 2006-09.

Maertz was a 2009 New York-Penn League All-Star for the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League. He appeared in 26 games, posting a 3-1 record with three saves and a 1.45 ERA. Maertz fanned 36 and walked 11 in 31 innings. He led all Cardinals minor leaguers with a 0.84 WHIP and did not allow a home run in 119 batters faced last year.

The Clark, New Jersey native ends his two-year Cardinals stint with a 7-1 record and a 2.12 ERA. He fanned 61 in 51 innings and walked 23.

Mitchell, a Chesterfield, MO resident, joined the Cardinals in the same 2006 draft as Furnish, in the 13th round. The right-handed hitter spent his first three seasons in short-season ball before reaching Quad Cities during 2009.

Mitchell joined Quad Cities out of extended spring training in mid-May before being sent down to Batavia for the final month of the 2009 season. Between the two stops, he combined for a .232/.256/.281 line and stole 12 bases in 14 attempts.

For his Cardinals career, Mitchell's line was .256/.272/.301 in 831 at-bats over 252 games. He was 49-for-61 in stolen base attempts.

Zink had prior major league experience with the Boston Red Sox and was the International League Pitcher of the Year in 2008, but the knuckleballer had problems in his brief time in the Cardinals uniform.

The only one of the ten released players to have received an invitation to major league camp this spring, Zink was sent down on March 7 after yielding the same number of runs, five, as outs he collected. He only fared slightly better in minor league camp.

Gomez, a native of the Dominican Republic, appeared in just six games between the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and Batavia in 2009 after suffering a broken hamate bone in his left hand. His career line is .253/.349/.352 in 601 at-bats in 202 games from 2005-09.

Lavigne appeared in 16 games including four starts in his professional debut with the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League in 2009. He posted a 2-2 record with a 4.71 ERA, fanning 34 and walking 15 in 28 2/3 innings.

Santos excelled in the 2007 Dominican Summer League but did not progress in his second full season in the Johnson City rotation last summer. He went 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA in 12 games, including eight starts. Santos struck out 40 but also walked 20 in 48 1/3 innings.

Veres spent his entire second professional season in the Quad Cities rotation, going 3-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 games including ten starts. He struck out 75 and walked 33 in 81 innings.

Rodriguez signed last October after previously being under contract with the Boston Red Sox from July 2004 until May 2009. He missed the entire 2007 and 2008 seasons following Tommy John surgery. Over the winter, Rodriguez pitched for Caribes in Venezuelan winter ball, going 5-3 with a 2.31 in 28 games, all in relief. He fanned 28 and walked seven in 35 innings.

Martinez spent his first five years as a professional in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, never reaching Double-A. Prior to joining the Cardinals in January, he had an 8-14 career record with three saves and a 5.10 ERA in 107 games.

With the moves, the Cardinals now have 157 players in minor league camp.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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