Every year about this time, I put
together my annual forecast of which players the St. Louis Cardinals might call
up in September when rosters expand beyond the normal limit of 25 to as many as
I am certainly not the only one to
make such predictions, but I believe I am one of the few to take into account a
wide variety of interrelated factors. These factors include player performances,
the Cardinals’ 40-man roster situation, roster needs of the MLB club as well as
past history in September additions.
Let’s start by looking back at
recent Septembers. Tony La Russa has often said that he doesn’t want too many
extra players with the team in September, but what does that mean? Well, the
club added eight last season and nine the year prior.
Four of the 2008 call-ups had to be added to
the 40-man roster first:
1B/OF Josh Phelps
IF Brian Barden
C Mark Johnson
RHR Josh Kinney (on the 60-day DL
coming off a rehab)
None of the four had appeared in
the majors that season prior to September, though all had seen MLB time
The other 2008
RHR Kelvin Jimenez
LHR Randy Flores
IF Brendan Ryan
RHS Chris Carpenter (activated off
a rehab assignment)
All four had been in St. Louis at some point
during the season. Of the eight, only four remain with the organization today,
less than 12 months later – Barden, Kinney, Ryan and Carpenter. In terms of timing, Phelps
came up with five days remaining in August, while the rest arrived on September
1 or 2.
At least six other candidates did
not receive the call in 2008:
RHS Mitchell Boggs (shut
LHS Jaime Garcia (Tommy John
RHS Mike Parisi (TJ
RHR Mark Worrell
C Bryan Anderson (not on
3B David Freese (not on
Not to revisit all the details,
but to add the three to the 40-man and bring Kinney off the 60-day DL, three
players were put on the 60-day (Mark Mulder, Jason Isringhausen and Chris
Duncan) and another was dropped (Rico Washington).
In 2007, there
were two waves, totaling nine players. Three of them were not on the 40-man
September 1, the club added:
Miguel Cairo (purchased from Memphis and added to 40-man)
Mike Maroth (activated off 15-day DL and rehab assignment)
wave two occurred at the conclusion of Memphis’ season:
and Falkenborg, while having seen Major League time with the Cardinals that
season, were not on the 40-man.
So what can we glean from
The Cardinals may add about eight
players for the final month in an approximate balance of position players and
pitchers. Up to three or four of them may not currently be on the 40-man.
Pitchers – three righties and one
In terms of timing, Memphis’ regular season
schedule runs through September 7. There is also a reasonable chance the club
could make the post-season. As such, the 2009 call-ups may arrive in several
waves to ensure Memphis would have a viable roster to complete
the regular season and compete in the playoffs, if they make it.
The Cardinals have a
large group of players that will require addition to the roster this winter
to avoid being at risk of being lost in December’s Rule 5 draft. As such, the
Cardinals may decide to avoid adding any other players prematurely.
An example of this was Freese, who
was our 2008 Scout.com
Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year, yet did not receive a call up
that September. That was perhaps due in a large part to the fact he was not yet
on the 40-man and was not required to be added at that time.
Currently, the Cardinals have 37
players on the 40-man. That means three can be added without any immediate
damage. To go beyond, an injured player such as Troy Glaus could be moved to the
60-day DL to open up a fourth spot. Another alternative is to remove a player
from the 40-man that does not seem a part of the club’s short-term plans, such
as reliever Matt Scherer.
In Part Two of this report,
exclusively for Scout.com subscribers, we will handicap the chances of a number
of potential September call ups and end with the ones most likely of making it
to St. Louis for
the final month.
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Brian Walton can be reached via
email at email@example.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The
Cardinal Nation blog.
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