St. Louis Cardinals: The Cards make cuts and are down to one spot left

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Yairo Munoz
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Yairo Munoz /

The St. Louis Cardinals made their announcement that the final bench role has been satisfied and selected leaving only one roster spot left up for grabs.

The St. Louis Cardinals released on Friday the news that Yairo Munoz has been alerted that he has indeed earned his way onto the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals. Munoz is a super-utility player who has very much impressed this spring.

In the wake of his insertion, the St. Louis Cardinals sent Harrison Bader to the Memphis roster to begin the 2018 campaign.

On the pitching side of things, the St. Louis Cardinals also optioned Josh Lucas to the Memphis roster leaving only one bullpen spot up for grabs. This one spot is being heavily contested between John Brebbia and Mike Mayers.

Let’s take a look at the these final decisions.

First, let’s look at Harrison Bader. The promising, young outfielder produced this spring but not with the flash and flare that was Munoz. Also, Munoz showed that he can command a spot in the infield where Bader cannot. These were Bader’s offensive numbers this spring:

2018 Spring Training

And these were Munoz’s offensive numbers:

2018 Spring Training

Note that both produced at a rate that impressed but Munoz produced greater numbers in the same amount of at-bats. Bader played in a greater number of games, but Munoz produced the same amount of at-bats (albeit seemingly a greater number due to the lesser amount of games played) in fewer games.

Oh, and there is the promise of pop in Munoz’s bat. In Spring, Munoz smacked three home runs to Bader’s zero home runs. Bader did steal one base more than Munoz but the speed factor was not enough to usurp Munoz’s numbers. End game: Munoz cracks the roster and Bader moves to Memphis.

To the pitching side of the coin, these are John Brebbia’s numbers:

2018 Spring Training

And these are Mike Mayer’s numbers:

2018 Spring Training

So, what do you think? To me, if we are looking at innings-pitched and the impact on ERA, then Mayers has the advantage with his 11 IP and 0.00 ERA. If, however, we look at projections, then Brebbia has the advantage with his 51 IP and 3.71 ERA (to Mayers’ 5.34 ERA in 32 IP).

Adding to the complexity of the decision lies both pitchers’ history. These are Brebbia’s historical numbers:

Standard Pitching
201121NYY-minA-01.0000.005000008.05301008000300.6255. NYPL
201222NYY-minA31.7502.962901400251.25517174181532002221.4139. SALL
201323NYY-minA,A+05.0004.063401200168.27335314161493012981.2969.,TAM SALL,FLOR
201424SXFInd32.6003.31345800165.16328242222762162841.3018. AA
201525LARInd72.7780.9851042001964.1341272152794022470.7624. AA
201626STL-minAA,AAA55.5005.034301200268.08239389190687023071.48510.,MEM TL,PCL
201727STL-minAAA11.5001.69151500326.21655250291011010.7885. PCL
1 Yr002.445001300051.23715148113515022091764.130.9296.
162 Game Avg.002.44680180007050201911154697032841764.130.9296.

And these are Mayer’s historical numbers:

Standard Pitching
201321STL-minA,Rk13.2502.97108000036.13514123111271131491.2668.,CDS MIDW,GULF
201422STL-minAA,A+,AAA812.4003.3926260100154.0174695893701176146551.37010.,PLM,MEM TL,FLOR,PCL
201523STL-minAA,Rk24.3335.871212011053.25940358210435172361.4919.,CDS TL,GULF
201624STL-minAAA,AA910.4743.1925250100144.01346151124821276156031.2648.,SPD PCL,TL
201725STL-minAAA56.4553.2831153000109.2117444012321974014771.3599. PCL
2 Yrs11.50019.8071100010.02424225715100602211.053.10021.
162 Game Avg.99.50019.8060990008520420418743609439005102211.053.10021.

Noting these, then Brebbia surely have the MLB advantage but the minor league advantage is basically a wash. If we are going solely off the competition of numbers, then it would suggest that Brebbia should take the spot. But it is Spring Training and the St. Louis Cardinals just aren’t sure yet because of Mayers’ great spring.

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Here’s my take on both of these decisions: I’m happy for Munoz because I do believe that he earned the spot. I am frustrated for Bader because I’m worried now that- like Carson Kelly before him- the St. Louis Cardinals have lost value in Bader simply by his being overshadowed. Perhaps his performance in Memphis will maintain his value as a trade chip.

Or, Munoz’s abilities with the MLB club will add even greater value to his name as a trade piece and then afford Bader his time and place.

As it relates to the pitchers, I would send Brebbia to the minors until Mayers explodes again. Then I would immediately pull Brebbia up and send Mayers packing. And speaking of packing, I would immediately start shopping Mayers’ name as a trade piece to see what the St. Louis Cardinals might land in return while the getting is good.

Next: 10 bold predictions

Shop or keep, the St. Louis Cardinals now have their Opening Day roster almost complete. Stay with us to hear more when the final spot has been decided.