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Sometimes I think it's easy to lose track of just how skilled at baseball the players who make it to the majors are. In major-league camp, there are two groups of players: those on the 40-man roster and non-roster invitees. Typically, players move from major-league camp to minor-league camp after the club decides they've seen enough of them and demote them.
Now there are 52 players in the MLB camp and it's time to fire up the good ol' spring training roster matrix. Pitchers and catchers reported last week to get a head start on throwing programs, but the remaining position players were not required to check in until yesterday.
Here at Viva El Birdos, we have tried to keep you abreast of the roster moves during the long winter. There are still just 39 players on the 40-man roster so the Cardinals could add another player during the spring, which could be necessary if Yadier Molina is not ready to start the season and the team does not want Mike Ohlman as the backup catcher or Yadi is ready to start the season, but the team is cautious and brings three catchers and chooses someone else over Ohlman.
The team could also choose to put Alex Reyes on the 40-man roster if it decides it is more important for his development to pitch in some games and end his minor league suspension early. We might have already had our first casualty as Tyler Waldron has been shut down from throwing. As the spring moves along and players are cut and moved into minor league camp, we will continue to make adjustments. Former closer Jason Isringhausen is expected to increase his role next season according to Jennifer Langosch.
Mozeliak also will not rule out restructuring John Lackey‘s contract for next season. Since the last post about predictions for the Redbirds roster concerning the 2014 season, St. Tyler Lyons (pictured above) and Scott McGregor are projected to fill the final two spots in the rotation. Tags: Angel Castro, Boone Whiting, Carlos Martinez, Eric Fornataro, Jaime Garcia, James Ramsey, Jason Motte, Joe Kelly, Jorge Rondon, Jose Almarante, Keith Butler, Lee Stoppelman, memphis redbirds, Nick Greenwood, Sam Freeman, Scott McGregor, St. Spring Training is the perfect time to see a majority of an organization’s top prospects on display. Baseball America released its Top 100 prospect list last week, and this week MLB is releasing each organization’s Top 20 list through the MLB Pipeline. The former 32nd round draft pick has some room for improvement to become a sharp middle reliever. Tags: Charlie Tilson, James Ramsey, Jordan Swagerty, Kolten Wong, Lee Stoppelman, Marco Gonzalez, memphis redbirds, Mike O'Neill, Oscar Taveras, Randal Grichuk, Sam Freeman, spring training, St.
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced 22 players on Minor League contracts will be invited to Major League Spring Training, including prospects Jose Berrios, Nick Burdi, Jake Reed, Stuart Turner and Engelb Vielma. Additionally, 10 of the 22 players invited have Major League experience, including lefty relievers Fernando Abad, Buddy Boshers, Dan Runzler and Aaron Thompson, right-handed reliever Brandon Kintzler, former Twins outfielders Joe Benson and Darin Mastroianni, catcher Juan Centeno, infielder Wilfredo Tovar and outfielder Ryan Sweeney. The Twins have been looking for left-handed relief help this offseason, and Abad, Boshers, Runzler and Thompson will all compete for a spot in Spring Training.
Sweeney, who played in the Majors from 2006-14, is also expected to compete for a spot as a fourth outfielder. The Twins also brought back Benson and Mastroianni on Minor League deals to compete for a backup outfield role, as Benson is a former top prospect who played with the Twins in 2011, while Mastroianni has four years of Major League experience, including parts of three seasons with the Twins from 2012-14.
The Twins have 62 players scheduled to report to Spring Training, with pitchers and catchers set to report Feb. At any given time, just 25 of those players can be on the active major-league roster (plus those on the disabled list). You've likely heard of clubs signing players to minor-league contracts with an invitation to spring training. I've included Randal Grichuk in navy even though I don't know how much of a competition he is actually in with the other position players in navy. The Cardinals have not made any changes to their 40-man roster since bringing in Seung Hwan Oh. Lance Lynn is currently taking up a spot on the 40-man roster, and he can now be transferred to the 60-day disabled list which would free up another spot. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak opened up about the Cardinals’ offseason activities and planning.
Louis bullpen does have some questions, which poses uncertainty to trickle down to Memphis. Louis is down to 34 roster players and seven non-roster invitees left in Major League camp.
Talented players get to show whether they have progressed or regressed during the offseason. The list for the Cardinals was revealed on Tuesday and we offer more information below on those that we project to spend some part of the season with Triple-A Memphis. Two encouraging signs from Freeman is that his strikeout-to-walk ratio has increased and WHIP has decreased during his rise to higher levels of play.

19 Mike O’Neill: Playing the outfield in every single game during his professional career, O’Neill has never had more strikeouts than walks at any level during his four year career.
17 Zach Petrick: Even through his college days, Petrick has been known for striking out hitters in excess. 13 Jordan Swagerty: Unfortunately for Swagerty, the injury bug has plagued him much of the past two seasons. 12 Randal Grichuk: Acquired from the Angels with Peter Boujos in the trade that sent David Freese and Fernando Salas to Los Angeles, Grichuk may be best known for being picked one spot ahead of superstar outfielder Mike Trout. 11 Charlie Tilson: Known best for his speed, Tilson has the makeup of a quick outfielder that covers lots of ground and hustles around the base pads.
10 Tim Cooney: Selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, Cooney progressed to Double-A in only his second professional season in 2013.
5 Marco Gonzalez: The second left-hander in the top 5, Gonzalez is known for coupling his quality control with steady off-speed pitches.
3 Stephen Piscotty: The organization is high, and should be, on Piscotty after an excellent 2013 season that was followed up by a first-class showing in the Arizona Fall League. Those who populate the active MLB roster are chosen from the 40-man roster's "other 15," who are playing in the minors at the time, awaiting a call-up to the show.
The Cardinals did this last year with Pat Neshek and this offseason with Carlos Villanueva. We are inching a bit closer to the Cardinals first exhibition game on March 2 against the Owls of Florida Atlantic, the first exhibition game against a major league team on March 3 against the Miami Marlins, and Opening Day, which is now just 40 days from today.
Every year, all major league teams invite a handful of other players to camp for varying reasons. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak in attendance before game two of the 2014 NLCS playoff baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. If the big league club has any injuries in the starting personnel, Lyons will more than likely be the first to see action with St. The key to pitching is keeping arms healthy, which is what the organization is focusing on heading into Opening Day. Prospect talk becomes a hot topic around this time of the year with players from low levels given the potential chance to go up against Major League veterans. With a career .435 on-base percentage, he is a player that relies on speed and plate discipline to reach base.
Not known for blowing the competition away with velocity, he relies on pitch movement and location to keep hitters off balance. Named the 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Cardinals’ organization, he posted a 1.99 ERA and 122 strikeouts through three different levels. A victim of Tommy John surgery that made him miss the 2012 season and a majority of the 2013 season, the right-hander started as a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training this year, but was sent to minor league camp after experiencing inflammation in his elbow.
The 22-year old has put up sturdy power numbers the past two seasons that include 114 extra-base hits, 40 of those home runs.
The defense is there and as he progresses through higher levels of play, his offense hopes to remain strong as well.
He has struggled to repeat that success at the professional level though, posting a .253 mark through his first two seasons. While he continues to pitch, look for a good strikeout-to-walk ratio as he consistently pounds the zone.
The now-outfielder began his career as a third baseman, but with past experience as a pitcher, the arm strength is not a problem.  Even with the ability to get around on inside pitches, Piscotty is more of a line drive hitter that can crack a home run from time to time.
Combining quick bat speed, good baseball instincts and a swift agility running the bases and tracking balls down, the former University of Hawaii Warrior has the tools to be an everyday starter on the right side of the infield.
Louis organization by Baseball America, has apparently been impressing many people in a short amount of time. Every other ballplayer in the organization's farm system is on the outside looking in, working to achieve that child's dream, which they have carried into adulthood due to their unique talent, of playing big-league baseball. 364 days ago, for example, the Cardinals moved righty Scott McGregor from minor- to major-league camp (apparently because the St. Sometimes the team just needs extra players for workouts--this is particularly true for catcher--but sometimes the team wants to take a closer look at a prospect before they head back to the minors.
Petrick was right behind Cooney in strikeouts (122), finishing third, but bested all others in ERA (1.99). Rondon had a good season as a Redbird in 2013 (51 G, 3.06 ERA), while Greenwood and Fornataro seek to bounce back from tough campaigns. Delivering from the left side the past two seasons with the Cardinals, Freeman actually saw better success when dealing with right-handers, holding them to a .179 clip. O’Neill has never hit more than five home runs in a season, but has yet to commit more than four errors also.
A season after holding hitters to a .150 average in 37 games at Double-A Springfield, Stoppelman will more than likely spend his first full season with Triple-A Memphis. Nonetheless, he notches the list because of plus stuff that includes a strong fastball with a solid curveball. He may be better known for a good glove though after earning the 2013 Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award at right field. While his average dipped in 2013, his power numbers surged, as he recorded 16 home runs and a total of 36 extra-base hits.

With velocity that will not blow any hitters away, Gonzalez never relies too much on one side of the plate and works in his secondary pitches smoothly. The former Stanford Cardinal will look for another strong showing coming off an impressive year. Already acquiring big league experience in his third season during 2013 puts Wong a step ahead in trying to secure a job with St.
With a smooth swing, good speed, strong arm and a lot of potential, the outfielder should see time with the big league club at sometime this year. Receiving a non-roster invite to Cardinals Spring Training, the former Wake Forest hurler is coming off a terrific 2013 campaign. Runzler last pitched in the Majors with the Giants in 2012 and spent last season in Triple-A with the D-backs. These players are called non-roster invitees (relatively self-explanatory) because they are not on the 40-man roster, but they are nonetheless invited to camp.
McGregor, the pitcher who tied Cooney with 10 wins last season, started eight games with Springfield and 17 with Memphis. Finally, after hurling a franchise-record 25.2 consecutive shutout innings by a reliever, Freeman found success in both Memphis and St. The former USC Trojan hits for average and hustles in the field, but it may be tough for him to become a regular at the Major League level. Still young, Petrick is entering only his third professional season and was one of eight pitchers that received a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training this year.  His future seems bright with a likely landing spot at Triple-A Memphis.
He committed two errors while throwing out 11 runners, five of those as part of double plays. His ability to strike batters out stem from his sinking changeup and strong location skills.
One thing some overlook is Ramsey’s speed that allows him good range in the outfield and the ability to leg out infield hits. The former Gonzaga Bulldog is expected to make a rapid expansion through the minor leagues, with a chance of seeing action at Triple-A.
The southpaw was named a Texas League Mid-Season All-Star, back-to-back Texas League Pitcher of the Week winner, and finished first in the entire St.
This enables the MLB coaching staff to get a look at the organization's farmhands so they have an idea of who the team might promote when injury strikes due to their having been in the system for long enough to have reached the high minors and near eligibility for the Rule 5 draft. While his combined ERA landed at 4.06 in 2013, McGregor will look to improve in his first full season at Triple-A.
With two plus pitches and past experience, Swagerty has the potential to turn heads if he can stay healthy. If Grichuk can find plate discipline and hit for a higher average, he will have the tools needed to make an impact at the Major League level.
He uses his fastball wisely, getting ahead of hitters through the ability to spot the pitch on both sides of the plate.
He has proven his ability at the minor league level and now things need to translate offensively with the big league club for Wong’s hope of earning a job in St. Cooney received a non-roster invite to Major League Spring Training this year and has already received buzz about the terrific job he has done. Entering his third professional season, Cooney still has yet to allow more than two walks in a single outing. If one of them is optioned to start with Double-A, then expect Boone Whiting to fill their spot. He will get the chance to prove his stuff at Triple-A this year, and could be a key starter from the left side for St. There is a lot of excitement and potential surrounding the young pitcher, as he looks to bust out in 2014. Castro was signed in the offseason after spending 2013 with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization. Berrios will compete for a spot in the rotation, while Burdi and Reed are relievers with power arms. Louis bullpen did not already have two lefties locked into it, Freeman would probably be on the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals, although he does still have a chance if St.
Turner, who played in the Arizona Fall League, is one of five catchers invited to Spring Training, while Vielma is a slick-fielding shortstop who has yet to reach Double-A.
The last spot in the Memphis ‘pen, an opening most thought Jose Almarante would fill before getting stuck in the Dominican with visa issues, seems to be a wait-and-see issue. If the Cardinals are looking internally to fill the void, it could be Heath Wyatt, simply because of the solid year he put together in 2013 between Advanced-A Palm Beach and Springfield. However, they do have a few players that could wind up on the trade block  and provide them with another arm.

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