Cardinals Release Eight Minor Leaguers

Deemed not competitive enough to make short-season clubs, eight players are now former Cardinals.

As the end of extended spring training camp is upon us and players are being assigned to their short-season clubs, the St. Louis Cardinals are also preparing for the arrival of a number of their new draftees to join them.

 

Unfortunately, caught in the numbers game are a group of players deemed not competitive enough to make the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League, the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League or the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

 

The Cardinals recently released eight players, as reported by Baseball America. They are six pitchers and two infielders: right-handers Jose Calero, Luis Orozco, Alejandro Pinard, and Michael Thompson, lefties John Durham and Kyle Heim, first baseman Roberto Perez and second baseman Gerardo Mambell.

 

Five came from the Cardinals overseas academies while three were late-round draftees from last year's class.

 

Jose Calero, a 20-year-old Venezuelan, had been in the organization almost four years, having first signed as non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2006. The right-hander had two years of play in the US, but took an apparent step backward in his second season with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. In 2009, Calero went 0-4 with a 9.95 ERA in 19 innings over 15 games. He fanned and walked seven each.

 

Luis Orozco, 19, hails from Colombia. After signing in November 2008, the right-hander made his professional debut with the 2009 Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He had control problems, walking 13 in 22 innings. Orozco posted a 5.32 ERA but did strike out 21 opposing batters.

 

Alejandro Pinard, 21 years of age, posted a 6-3 record with a 3.65 ERA in 15 games, including seven starts, for the 2009 DSL Cardinals. He did not appear in any US-based league action and was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic on March 19, 2007.

 

Michael Thompson, 23, joined the Gulf Coast League Cardinals after being selected in the 47th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. The opposition touched him for a .360 average and a 7.25 ERA. Thompson fanned 44 and walked 10 in his 36-inning professional debut with Johnson City.

 

John Durham, a 22-year-old left-hander, became a Cardinal after being taken in the 38th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. In his pro debut with Johnson City, he struggled, finishing with an ERA just south of 10. In 27 1/3 innings, Appy League hitters torched him for a .373 batting average against.

 

Kyle Heim, 22, was selected in the 44th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and like his fellow lefty Durham, debuted at the highest level of this group, Johnson City. There, Heim labored. In 18 2/3 innings of work, he managed 21 strikeouts but opponents hit .303 against him leading to a 7.71 ERA.

 

Roberto Perez, a 21-year old Venezuelan, was hoped to become a power prospect, but did not develop enough to reach the US after three years of academy play. Last season, Perez posted a .262/.378/.438 line in 210 at-bats for the VSL Cardinals and won a league Gold Glove for his defensive play at first base.

 

Gerardo Mambell, 20, also hails from Venezuela. The second baseman was first signed as a non-drafted free agent on February 17, 2007 and played well enough to become our VSL Cardinals Co-Player of the Year in 2008. Last season, in his US debut, Mambell posted an unusual .222/.343/.250 line in 173 plate appearances over 45 games with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

 

 

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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