Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Since the 2019 free agent frenzy has died down, baseball fans count the days until "baseball" returns. For St. Louis Cardinals fans, soon Roger Dean Stadium will be opened for fans, finally, to enjoy their favorite summer sport. To see prospects, along with their favorite Major League players, in Spring Training games preparing for the upcoming season.
Day before Valentine's Day, February 13, 2019, MLB catchers and pitchers to officially report in with position players and invitees to follow. Usually within five days of C & P's. Cardinals first game scheduled for Saturday, February 23 'hosted' by the Marlins.
(Cardinals complete ST schedule, click here.)
Per Matt Graves at Fansided, the top 10 Prospect List was released - for the St. Louis Cardinals as follows. Just a few on the list will receive an invite to attend Spring Training camp (*Invite expected, **Invite secure):
#10 - OF Dylan Carson (19)
#9 - 3B Malcom Nunez (17)
#8 - C Andrew Kinzner (23)*
#7 - LF Lane Thomas (23)*
#6 - LHP Genesis Cabrera (22)*
#5 - 3B Elehuris Montero (20)
#4 - 3B Nolan Gorman (18)
#3 - RHP Dakota Hudson (24)**
#2 - OF Tyler O'Neill (23)**
#1 - RHP Alex Reyes (24)**
We are familiar with pitchers Alex Reyes and Dakota Hudson, along with Tyler O'Neill playing for the Cardinals being called-up from Memphis Triple-A.
RHP Alex Reyes excited fans in his debut season, 2016. He was called up early August, pitched in 12 games and as starter in five of those games. He closed his rookie season, 4-1/1 Save/1.57 ERA. However, he missed the 2017 due to Tommy Johns surgery. In 2018, May 8 against the Milwaukee Brewers, went four scoreless frames in his 'return' start, but was retired due to a shoulder issue. Thus, sidelined for the remaining portion of the season. Rehab has gone well and he will be among those to report February 13 to Roger Dean. He is expected to be a part of Cardinals pitching pool. In what capacity he will begin, the organization will determine during Spring Training.
RHP Dakota Hudson made his debut July 28, 2018, as part of the young arms brought up from Memphis Triple-A last season. 'Cardinals bull-pen overhaul'. Even though a starter for the Memphis Redbirds, he was placed in Cardinals relief pool. He earned his first win in his second appearance facing the Colorado Rockies - closer ~ 1 IP/1 Hit/No ER allowed in the Cardinals 5-4 win. In relief, he closed with 4-1/11 Holds in his 26 games played/27.1 IP for a 2.63 ERA. His first 8.2 innings, he held major league hitters to three hits and 'scoreless'. Area of improvement, BB/SO ratio. In his total IP he was 18/19 respectively.
OF Tyler O'Neill, also, made his debut in 2018. April 19 against the Chicago Cubs as pinch hitter. One at bat - one strikeout. However, he remained with the team through the end of April and brought back May 18. Once again, he was sent back to Memphis holding a slashline of .290/.313/.613/.925 in 31 AB in the majors for his half month with the team. He was recalled in July, twice. July 2-15, then brought back July 31. His versatility - being able to cover all three outfield positions. For the month of August, he still was holding a healthy .283 BA. September, he saw his average take a dive, .200 BA - overall, a .254 average. However, his claim to his rookie season fame, his walk-off homer against the San Francisco Giants in the tenth inning for the Cardinals 5-4 win. Celebrated at the plate and jersey ripped away by teammates. Yes, I was there. Extraordinary hit off Mark Melancon who had two outs on the board, a 2-2 count facing O'Neill. Next pitch served, O'Neill sent out a missile.
These aforementioned will be competing for a place on the 25 man roster.
Catcher Andrew Knizner was a part of the spring camp in 2018. Since Cardinals promising catcher and supposed back-up to Yadier Molina, Carson Kelly was traded this off-season to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now, Knizner will be appointed the every day catcher for the Memphis Redbirds in 2019. Last season as an invitee for spring training, he had 30 AB/7 Hits/2 HR/4 RBI and added four runs with a 5/10 BB/SO ratio for his .233 BA. Much like C Kelly, Knizner is proving to be a strong backstop, but still needs work at the plate. However, I do look for him to be back for his second Cardinals spring training camp.
It is presumed that another invitee, (Cardinals re-signed catcher Francisco Pena to the minors) F Pena will more than likely win the 'back-up' spot behind Molina for 2019, as he had done in 2018.
Pena did a solid job for the Cardinals last season and to date, no information linking the Cardinals to another catcher.
Per Graves: "Both Lane Thomas and Genesis Cabrera will probably have an effect on the major league squad this year as they both have electric potential. Thomas cracked 27 homers last year and Cabrera has dominated the Dominican Winter League. Both are on the short list of call up candidates the first time there is an injury."
The Cardinals 'every day players' we saw last season probably won't be a big part of the Spring line-up to begin the "pre-season". Here and there until March 10 - March 15. Then fans will begin to see C-Yadier Molina, 1B-Paul Goldschmidt, 2B-Kolten Wong, 3B-Matt Carpenter, SS-Paul DeJong, RF-Dexter Fowler, CF-Harrison Bader and LF-Marcell Ozuna on a regular basis for a few innings. However, will be good to see those above, along with Utility Yairo Munoz, OF Jose Martinez, and 3B Jedd Gyorko back on the field ~ should the latter two still be with the team.
CHECKING CARDINALS ROSTER 40 MAN ~ NOW 41 LISTED
Since I posted my blog "Cardinals pitching and Back-up Catcher to be Named" with listing our "22 pitchers on the roster". That has now increased to "23" with lefty Tyler Lyons (?) being added to the list which bumps the roster count to 41. Who will be taken off the 40 man? Or, is this an error on the part of ESPN?
*Cardinals roster shows Tyler Lyons ???? Cardinals former was signed to a minor league contract by the Pirates.
Check out a great post by Russ Robinson:
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