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
A part of last season's
opening day roster, Freese was sent down to
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.
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
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.
MLB debut Albert Pujols
4/2/2001 Yadier Molina
6/3/2004 Joe Mather
5/30/2008 Skip Schumaker
6/8/2005 Blake Hawksworth
6/6/2009 Kyle McClellan
4/1/2008 Brendan Ryan
6/2/2007 Jason Motte
9/3/2008 Colby Rasmus
4/7/2009 Mitchell Boggs
6/6/2008 Nick Stavinoha
6/22/2008 Jaime Garcia
7/11/2008 Allen Craig
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.
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