Consistent with their new approach of not waiting until major cut days to release minor leaguers not considered competitive for either full-season rosters or extended spring training, the St. Louis Cardinals released six players on Thursday.
They are outfielders Antonio DeJesus and C.J. Beatty, infielders Jose Martinez and Devin Goodwin and pitchers Nick McCully and Charllan Jimenez. On the latest spring working rosters, DeJesus and Martinez were with Springfield, Beatty and Goodwin were with Palm Beach while McCully and Jimenez were with Quad Cities.
Martinez is the biggest name among this group. Originally signed in December 2004 from Venezuela, the second baseman peaked at number eight on our Cardinals top prospect list heading into the 2008 season and was considered at the time to be the best middle infield prospect in the entire Cardinals’ system.
His career stalled as he dealt with the after-effects of a very difficult family tragedy and several serious injuries, including a broken bone in his left foot and surgery on his right shoulder. Martinez missed almost all of the last two seasons in the process. He is now 25 and was trying to restart his career where he left off - with Double-A Springfield.
DeJesus, also 25, reached Springfield last season. The former 16th-round pick in 2007 from the University of Kentucky had been left unprotected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December but was not selected. While a good outfielder and baserunner, the left-handed batter couldn’t hit well enough to survive. DeJesus averaged just .217 over the last two full seasons with Springfield and OPS’ed well under .700.
Beatty, a 22 year-old switch-hitter, joined the Cardnials in the 26th round of the 2009 draft from North Carolina A&T. As The Cardinal Nation subscribers learned recently, Beatty had been held out of early action due to an irregular heartbeat discovered during his camp physical. The player later reported he had been cleared to play following an EKG.
Beatty reached full-season A-Advanced Palm Beach last summer after spending much of the season with Quad Cities. He ends his two years in the system with a combined line of .244/.327/.415 in 405 plate appearances over 105 games.
24-year-old Devin Goodwin joined the Cardinals system when selected in the 33rd round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft from Delta State. The shortstop began with short-season Batavia after signing. He made his full-season debut in June 2010 after starting last season in extended spring training camp. The right-handed hitter had a brief fill-in period with Palm Beach, but spent most of 2010 with Quad Cities. Overall, he finished with a .256/.344/.406 line in 527 plate appearances over 119 career games.
McCully, 22, became a Cardinal via his selection in the ninth round of the 2009 Draft. The right-handed pitcher played college ball at Coastal Carolina and received a $100,000 bonus upon signing.
He joined full-season Quad Cities in 2009 but logged a 7.20 ERA in 16 games, all in relief. McCully had control issues as he fanned 19 but walked 14 in 20 innings. He was pushed back to short-season Batavia in 2010, where he started 13 games. McCully’s ERA was 4.19 while his strikeout to walk ratio was an improved 44-to-17 in 68 2/3 New York-Penn League innings.
Jimenez is a 21-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic who signed with the Cardinals three years ago. In his second season in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, he was an All-Star and we named him the top starting pitcher on the DSL club.
Jimenez began 2010 in extended spring training before joining the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and then the Johnson City club at the end of June. Between the two USA stops last season, Jimenez made six starts and six relief appearances, posting a 4.23 ERA. He fanned 29 and walked seven in 38 1/3 innings.
With the moves, the Cardinals have 151 players active in minor league camp with another 13 on the injury list. They are competing for roughly 100 jobs with the four full-season minor league affiliates. 42 more players are set to arrive for extended spring training camp in less than two weeks so the crunch will continue. Nine minor leaguers have been released since camp began.
Opening spring camp rosters with cuts noted, both major and minor league versions, can be seen at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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