Low A Squad Has A Core Of Cardinals

Fifteen players from 2009 draft on River Bandits roster





ST. LOUIS—With a throng of recent draft picks and young prospects populating his roster, low Class A Quad Cities manager Johnny Rodriguez has many more titles than skipper.

He needs a lot of slashes, a Cardinals official said.

"Johnny was a good choice for Quad Cities because he's that baseball instructor slash coach," Cardinals director of scouting and player development Jeff Luhnow said. "But he can also be that father figure slash disciplinarian slash guidance counselor. This is new for most of them . . . and he's got to be a lot of things."

Somewhat by design and somewhat by opportunity, the Cardinals have collected many of their 2009 draft picks at their lowest level full-season affiliate. Fifteen picks from the 2009 draft, including eight pitchers, have been with Quad Cities this season. And the picks range from first-rounder Shelby Miller and second-round pick Robert Stock to 20th-rounder Scott Schneider and 48th-rounder Jason Novak. Stock, Miller and third-round pick Joe Kelly have often been discussed as a trio, a battery of 2009 picks that could move together.

The past two seasons, the Cardinals have made aggressive promotion the rule, in part to fill the perceived gaps in the rosters at the upper levels. Luhnow said they've jammed the brakes on that plan this season, recognizing the need to, if possible, hold rosters together.

Call it a core approach.

"I think you see guys like (Jon) Jay, (Allen) Craig and (Bryan) Anderson come up together and have success together, and there is a lot of value in that, not just when or if they reach the (majors)," Luhnow said. "Stock, Kelly, Miller, a few others from last year's draft—you can see those guys moving as a group . . . We didn't put anybody there in Quad Cities just to be part of the group. You do get some benefits."

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• Outfielder Shane Robinson had season-ending shoulder surgery after dislocating the joint during a game. Robinson, a sparkplug lefthanded hitter for Triple-A Memphis, was hitting .279/.330/.407.

• Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2007, was named the Texas League player of the week ending May 9 after batting .355. Kozma used the week to pull his average above .200 and sat at .242/.301/.409 through May 19.