St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Countdown: One Day

Mar 5, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; A general view of baseballs on the field at Roger Dean Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; A general view of baseballs on the field at Roger Dean Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Today was the FINAL day until pitchers and catchers report to St. Louis Cardinals’ Spring Training; can we fast forward until umpires report and “play ball” is yelled?

As promised, this post will be a quick recap of the players I have reviewed in this countdown and an ordered one at that.  We can all use this post a reference of my genius or ignorance once the minor league season begins as to whether these mentioned players start 2016 with Memphis and whether my order of favorites will stand true as the season progresses.

Let’s dive in!  As a quick recap, these were the names that I reviewed over these past weeks: Tim Cooney, John Church, Dean Kiekhefer, Patrick Widsom, Carlos Peguero, Dean Anna, Jacob Wilson, Aledmys Diaz, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Mike Ohlman, and Marco Gonzales.  I will now rank these eleven players in countdown style based on my favorites and who I am most excited about for 2016.

#11- John Church

Church is the newest to the organization so it might not be the most fair but he is the player I am least excited to watch.  As a quick recap, these are Church’s stats of note:

AA (2013, 2014)- 59.2 innings, 4 wins, 4 losses, 3.32 ERA

AAA (2013, 2014, 2015)- 133.0 innings, 11 wins, 6 losses, 3.92 ERA

I’m most excited to see if Church can add to his repertoire and add something to Memphis’ bullpen.

#10- Dean Kiekhefer

As I have admitted, I have watched Kiekhefer in person and I haven’t yet been too impressed.  Do I think he can be the LOOGY heir?  Sure, but I think he needs 2016 to secure this.  His stats of note:

AA (2013, 2014)- 31.0 innings, 0 wins, 4 losses, 4.06 ERA

AAA (2014, 2015)- 116.1 innings, 4 wins, 4 losses, 2.48 ERA

Before passing ultimate judgement, I feel we need to afford some time in 2016 for Kiekhefer to “command” the mound with his material and his demeanor better than I had witnessed in the past.

#9- Dean Anna

I want to like Anna and I want him to impress me but I’m just not sold yet.  When the St. Louis Cardinals landed him, I wanted to be excited but I’m just not sure yet.  His quick stats:

AAA batting average- .277, .786 OPS; and .983 2B fielding percentage, .971 LF fielding percentage

As I said in the post, I believe 2016 will allow Anna time to build his value as a super utility player for either the Cardinals organization or via trade.

#8- Mike Ohlman

I love catchers and want the organization to find the heir to Yadier Molina.  I hope that Ohlman will join this battle.  Some quick stats for him:

AA batting average- .273 batting average, .418 slugging; .986 fielding percentage as catcher.

Let’s hope that 2016 is his break-out year and that the organization has found a solid future catcher.

#7- Patrick Wisdom

Wisdom presents as a very exciting player and I have watched him patrol the infield so I am excited to watch his trajectory increase in 2016.  Some of his quick stats of note:

AA Offensive numbers (2014, 2015)- 866 at-bats, .225 average (39 doubles, 28 home runs, 114 RBI), .671 OPS

AA Defensive numbers (2015; 1B)- 3 games, 22 putouts, 2 assists, .960 fielding percentage

Largest question facing Wisdom is whether he lands at first or plays other positions to raise worth.

More from St Louis Cardinals Prospects

#6- Aledmys Diaz

Diaz, if he can stay healthy, is a very exciting player.  In addition, this one player could spell a solution to the middle infield in St. Louis.  Here are his quick stats:

8 seasons (foreign and minor) batting average .303; fielding percentages of .947 at third, .966 at second, and .944 at short stop.

I want Diaz to have a great season and hope to watch some stellar at-bats and highlight plays up the middle.

#5- Jeremy Hazelbaker

Like Wisdom before him, I too have watched Hazelbaker in action.  This player can play and I cannot wait to watch him swing the bat this season for Memphis.  His quick stats:

AAA batting average- .333 and .998 OPS.

The big question or Hazelbaker in 2016 is whether he plays only right field or if he appears at first base too.

#4- Carlos Peguero

Choosing a pole position for Hazelbaker and Peguero was tough.  In truth, I could swap these two and not be too disappointed about their finishing position.  I place Peguero a touch higher just because I think he might have a better year than Hazelbaker.  His quick stats:

AAA batting average- .273 and .847 OPS.

One of the major differences in Peguero and Hazelbaker is years of service (Peguero has a greater number of minor league at-bats).  I believe that 2016 could really be a breakout year for Peguero.

#3- Marco Gonzales

Number 3 and number 2 on this list are also a toss-up but I placed Marco at number three.  I like him and Cooney but I feel that Gonzales might fit with Memphis the best this season.  I look forward to watching Gonzales take the number one spot in the Memphis rotation.  His quick stats:

In 2015, Gonzales tossed 69.1 innings for Memphis with an ERA of 5.45 (45.2 innings for Memphis in 2014 with an ERA of 3.35).

Marco, Memphis’ 2016 top of order starter.  What more can be said?

#2- Tim Cooney

Like I said, Gonzales vs. Cooney is a tough gambit to choose between.  Is Cooney or Gonzales the faster to reach the majors this season?  Is Cooney or Gonzales the right fit to make it to the majors this season?  Cooney’s quick stats:

AAA (2014, 2015)- 246.2 innings, 20 wins, 10 losses, 3.21 ERA

MLB (2015)- 31.1 innings, 1 win, 0 losses, 3.16 ERA

Cooney and Gonzales are both left-handed and should Jaime Garcia‘s arm literally fly off in mid-pitch, then either or both could easily rise to the top and take his place.  And, let’s be honest, with Garcia’s history, an arm-fly-off isn’t that far off from a reality!

#1- Patrick Wilson

Okay, okay, if you read my previous posts you know why I put Wilson at number one: I live where he originated from and I love his style of play.  Is he the absolute best player on this list?  Maybe not, but he is an amazing utility player and his command at third is outstanding.  Wilson’s stats:

Career .258 batting average, .758 OPS, .977 fielding percentage at 2B, .947 fielding percentage at 3B

2016 will be Wilson’s best season to-date; mark my words!

Next: St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Countdown: Two Days

So, what are your thoughts?  Are you ready for games to begin too?  Follow me on twitter and look for other awesome writers and articles here on Redbird Rants!