13 Home-Grown Cardinals on Opening Day Roster

Outfielder Allen Craig heads the list of who is new on the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals opening day roster.

From the St. Louis Cardinals opening day roster:


  • One player will make his MLB debut
  • Two will make their Cardinals debut
  • Three are rookies
  • Six made their first MLB opening day roster
  • 13 players are home-grown


The player who has every right to be most excited is outfielder Allen Craig, who will make his major league debut with his first appearance this season. The reigning Player of the Year in the Cardinals minor league system was added to the 40-man roster in November after registering an OPS of .921 with Triple-A Memphis.


Along with Craig, the other player soon to make his Cardinals debut is starting pitcher Brad Penny, signed as a free agent from San Francisco in the off-season.


The other Cardinals in addition to Craig who have not yet exhausted their rookie eligibility are third baseman David Freese and pitcher Jaime Garcia.


A part of last season's opening day roster, Freese was sent down to Memphis on April 21. He was recovering from ankle surgery through much of the middle of the season before returning to the major leagues at the end of September. In between, he posted an .894 OPS in 56 games for the Redbirds.


Despite having made his major league debut in 2008, new fifth starting pitcher Garcia missed the entire 2009 season other than a late season minor league rehab. With just 16 innings coming into the season, the 23-year-old lefty had not yet reached rookie qualification level of 50 innings or more than 45 qualifying days.


Those players looking forward to their first opening day as a major leaguer include Craig, Garcia, relievers Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth and outfielders Nick Stavinoha and Joe Mather.


The six immediately above plus Penny, Felipe Lopez and Matt Holliday should be participating in their first Busch Stadium motorcade for the home opener on Monday, April 12 against Houston.


13 of the 25 opening day players came up through the Cardinals farm system. The total would swell to 15 if Adam Wainwright and David Freese were included. Each was acquired via trade while still a minor leaguer.


Craig is the only one drafted after 2005. The baker's dozen of fully home-grown Cardinals follows, listed by year originally selected and round. Their major league debut date is also included.


Players Pos Draft year Round MLB debut
Albert Pujols 1B 1999 13 4/2/2001
Yadier Molina C 2000 4 6/3/2004
Joe Mather OF 2001 3 5/30/2008
Skip Schumaker 2B 2001 5 6/8/2005
Blake Hawksworth RP 2001 28 6/6/2009
Kyle McClellan RP 2002 25 4/1/2008
Brendan Ryan SS 2003 7 6/2/2007
Jason Motte RP 2003 19 9/3/2008
Colby Rasmus OF 2005 1 4/7/2009
Mitchell Boggs RP 2005 5 6/6/2008
Nick Stavinoha OF 2005 7 6/22/2008
Jaime Garcia SP 2005 22 7/11/2008
Allen Craig OF 2006 8 TBD


The gray beards


With the departure of pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel via free agency, drafted in 1997, the longest-tenured Cardinals organization player now becomes first baseman Albert Pujols, who joined the system in the 1999 draft.


Pujols is also the Cardinal with the most service time with the club at nine full seasons, but is only seventh on the team in total MLB time.


The Cardinal with the most major league service in total is ace Chris Carpenter with 12 years, 80 days. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the 1993 draft. The right-hander made his MLB debut in 1997 and signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in December, 2002.


You might be a bit surprised that next after Carp in terms of MLB service is left-handed reliever Dennys Reyes with 11 years, 39 days. Next is the newcomer Penny at ten years even.


The other three Cardinals with more MLB time than Pujols are catcher Jason LaRue (9.150) and relievers Trever Miller (9.095) and Ryan Franklin (9.022).



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

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