A Primer On The Cardinals Alternate Site Camp Prospects
The Cardinals have had 18 members of their organization test positive for COVID-19, including 10 players. C Yadier Molina, SS Paul DeJong, INF Edmundo Sosa, 1B Rangel Ravelo, OFs Lane Thomas and Austin Dean and RHPs Ryan Helsley, Junior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley have all publicly announced their positive tests, while RHP Carlos Martinez was placed on the 10-day injured list but has not officially been identified as having tested positive.
Those positive tests, combined with the fact the Cardinals will now have to play 55 games in 44 days to complete a 60-game season, means the team will have to dip heavily into its alternate training site roster. Between replacing the players on the COVID-19-related injured list and the 29th roster spot that will open up during the Cardinals’ six scheduled doubleheaders, the organization figures to have lots of roster churn in the coming days and weeks.
Here is a primer on some of the notable players the Cardinals have had at the alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., many of whom are now in line to make their major league debut.
Top prospects who have yet to play above the Class A levels, such as LHP Matthew Liberatore, 3B Nolan Gorman and C Ivan Herrera, are not listed because of their youth and the number of upper-level players the Cardinals are likely to call upon ahead of them.
(Update: LHP Ricardo Sanchez and RHP Nabil Crismatt have been added to the list of pitchers. Sanchez's report has been updated with new information).
C Jose Godoy—The Cardinals already added the 25-year-old minor league veteran to their big league taxi squad. He is an average defender with an average arm and has good on-base skills as a hitter, although he doesn’t have much power. He plays with energy and earns plaudits for his “blue collar” work ethic.
C Julio Rodriguez—Rodriguez is the best defensive catcher in the Cardinals system and finished last season at Double-A. He is an excellent receiver and blocker with solid arm strength and has decent contact skills as a hitter, although he tends to fall off after starting hot.
1B John Nogowski—The 27-year-old minor league veteran is an extraordinarily patient hitter with tons of raw power to his pull side, although his approach is more geared for contact up the middle. He makes the routine plays at first base but isn’t particularly fleet of foot.
2B/3B Max Schrock—Schrock is an undersized utilityman with a feel for contact who hit .275 at Triple-A last year. The Cardinals have already recalled him and placed him on their active roster. Schrock controls the strike zone and shoots the ball the other way for a lot of opposite-field singles and doubles. He is a below-average defender at second base and his arm strength is questionable at third base.
SS Kramer Robertson—Robertson is a utility type who makes all the routine plays at shortstop, second base and third base. He is a patient, pesky hitter who works counts and draws plenty of walks, but he doesn’t make much impact on contact. He hit .231/.360/.365 between Double-A and Triple-A last season. His mother is Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who has guided the Lady Bears to three national championships.
3B Elehuris Montero—Montero is a power-hitting third baseman who missed most of last season with injuries and tested positive for COVID-19 at summer camp. He shows feel to hit and projects to be a solid player in the future, but right now he's still young with a very raw approach and will chase bad pitches. He has a big arm at third base but is seen as most likely to end up at first base or in the outfield.
3B/1B Evan Mendoza—Mendoza spent most of last season at Double-A and finished the year with six games at Triple-A. He has a strong arm and can play both infield corners, but he swings and misses a lot at the plate—with a particularly big hole inside—and doesn't offer much power, either.
OF Dylan Carlson—Carlson is the No. 1 prospect in the Cardinals system and will be recalled to make his major league debut on Saturday, according to BA correspondent Derrick Goold. The-21-year-old is a well-rounded player who projects to hit for average and power, steal bases and play above-average outfield defense in both corners. He is the son of a legendary high school coach and has mature instincts and feel for the game are beyond his years.
OF Justin Williams—Williams was acquired from the Rays as part of the Tommy Pham trade in 2018. He is a divisive prospect who is big and strong and shows power from the left side, but his overall performance in games has been inconsistent. He is a free swinger who hits too many ground balls, although when he squares balls up they go a long way. Williams gets good jumps and reads in right field to make up for a lack of speed and has a plus, accurate arm.
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RHP Alex Reyes—The four-time Cardinals No. 1 prospect has dominant stuff but has struggled to throw strikes or stay healthy in his career. He has had a different season-ending injury three years in a row and struggled to a 6.03 ERA at Triple-A Memphis last season. With his injuries and control issues, his 96-100 mph fastball and power slider fit best in the bullpen. He has already been added to the Cardinals active roster.
RHP Roel Ramirez—The third player acquired from the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade, Ramirez is a hard-throwing reliever who sits 95-97 mph and touches 100 mph on his fastball. He also has a slider he can alter the length and break of and a hard split-change. The Cardinals have already added him to their active roster.
RHP Jake Woodford—Woodford finished third in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in ERA (4.15) and strikeouts (131) last season, but he also led the league in walks (75). He is a burly righthander whose fastball sits 94-96 mph early before dropping off and has an array of solid secondaries. Woodford is best in short bursts and fits best as a reliever or spot starter for now. The Cardinals already recalled him to the majors on July 28, but he did not get into a game before the team was forced to quarantine.
LHP Genesis Cabrera—Acquired in the Tommy Pham trade in 2018, Cabrera made his major league debut last season and was a contender for the Opening Day roster before he tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving at summer camp. He has since recovered and been added to the Cardinals active roster. Cabrera has electric stuff with a 96-98 mph fastball, effective upper-80s changeup and a power curveball, but he’s wild and is prone to walking batters. Like Reyes, his powerful arm will fit in the Cardinals bullpen.
RHP Johan Oviedo—Oviedo is an intimidating 6-foot-6, 245-pound Cuban righthander with big stuff who finished last year in Double-A. His fastball sits 93-96 mph and will brush 98, and his slider and changeup are both swing-and-miss pitches at their best. He tends to struggle in his first couple innings before finding his form in the middle innings, which makes him best suited to be a starter rather than a reliever. He is still learning to control his long limbs in his delivery and consistently throw strikes, but he is making progress.
RHP Angel Rondon—Rondon was named the Cardinals minor league pitcher of the year last season after he won the Double-A Texas League ERA title. He has a funky delivery and fastball he can dial up and down anywhere from 90-97 mph, as well as a hard slider that drops under barrels. He is tough for batters to time up, but his command is often scattered and most scouts think he’ll end up in the bullpen.
RHP Ryan Meisinger—Meisinger made his major league debut with 18 appearances for the Orioles in 2018 and was selected off waivers by the Cardinals in December 2018. He’s a low-leverage reliever who pitches mostly off his low-80s slider and uses his low-90s fastball as his second option.
RHP Jesus Cruz—Cruz is a thick, heavyset reliever with a big arm who spent most of last year in Triple-A. His fastball sits 96-97 mph and his slider reaches 87 mph with tilt, but his big body negatively affects his delivery and his ability to consistently throw strikes. He has an aggressive mentality on the mound and fits as a potential middle reliever.
RHP Seth Elledge—The Cardinals No. 29 prospect averaged more than a strikeout per inning last year between Double-A and Triple-A. He hides the ball behind his big frame and generates deception with a cross-body delivery, helping his 91-93 mph fastball and hard, downer curveball play up. He struggles to throw strikes at times and is generally seen as a future middle reliever.
RHP Bryan Dobzanski—Dobzanski is a big 6-foot-5, 240-pound righthander who was a two-time New Jersey state wrestling champion in high school. His fastball sits 90-92 mph on bad days and 93-96 mph with downward angle on good days. He is an aggressive competitor who is able to change eye levels and shows good feel for a changeup.
LHP Rob Kaminsky—The Cardinals drafted Kaminsky in the first round in 2013. They traded him to the Indians for 1B Brandon Moss in 2015 but re-signed him as a minor league free agent last offseason. He reached Triple-A last year as a reliever and was nearly equally as effective against righties (.232/.319/.373) as he was against lefties (.214/.286/.357).
LHP Ricardo Sanchez—Sanchez reached Double-A in the Mariners system last year and was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals in February. He tested positive for COVID-19 during summer camp but has since recovered. Sanchez is a ground-ball pitcher who relies on an 89-93 mph two-seamer to get batters to hit the ball into the ground. He changes speeds effectively with a solid changeup and is at his best when he keeps the ball down.
RHP Nabil Crismatt—Crismatt reached Triple-A in the Mariners system last year and signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent last November. The 25-year-old keeps batters guessing with a four-pitch mix and has solid fastball command. None of his stuff is overpowering, so he has little margin for error and is dependent on hitting his spots.