According to MLB.com, the St. Louis Cardinals have invited 24 non-roster players to Major League spring training camp. This list, while perhaps not final, currently includes 11 pitchers, six catchers, four infielders and three outfielders.
The group of invitees includes eleven top organizational prospects not yet on the 40-man roster, featuring the Cardinals’ top five ranked players from our Top 40 Cardinals prospect list, headlined by outfielder Colby Rasmus, catcher Bryan Anderson and pitchers Jaime Garcia, Chris Perez and Adam Ottavino. P.J. Walters, the organization’s 2007 Pitcher of the Year and our Scout.com Cardinals Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, is also among the invited.
The players’ positions, rank on our prospect list and 2007 levels are listed below.
The only players in the top dozen from our top prospect list not in major league camp will be pitcher Tyler Herron (#6), middle infielder Jose Martinez (#7) and third baseman Allen Craig (#11). None of them have yet played above Double-A.
Three other Cardinals system catchers have likely been invited to camp to help out with the additional load required due to the sheer number of pitchers present. While considered solid players, the three are not considered near-term threats to crack the big-league roster.
Nine other players had been previously invited to big league camp when signed to minor league contracts for 2008. One addition is a returnee, catcher Gabe Johnson, who had been with in the Cardinals minor league system from 1998 through 2006, reaching as high as Memphis briefly before moving as a minor league free agent to the Detroit Tigers for spring training 2007.
I categorize these ten into two groups – Major League veterans trying to catch on and Minor League veterans given a perk when signing or re-signing. They are:
These invitees are in addition to the 40 players on their 40-man roster. Several of them, including outfielder Juan Encarnacion and pitchers Chris Carpenter should open the season on the 60-day disabled list while pitchers Josh Kinney (#23) and Mark Mulder are working toward an early-season return from surgeries.
Top prospects already on the roster and therefore slated to be in camp include outfielders Brian Barton (#7a), Joe Mather (#8) and Cody Haerther (#27), second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir (#14), along with pitchers Jason Motte (#22), Kyle McClellan (#31), Mike Parisi (#33) and Mark Worrell (#35).
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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