St. Louis Cardinals: Non-roster invites include exciting top prospects
Spring training is almost here for the St. Louis Cardinals and this year’s group of non-roster invites includes a lot of exciting names to watch.
As they do every year, the St. Louis Cardinals won’t just have the 40 names on the 40-man roster in spring training.
Normally, there are minor league journeymen as well as minor leaguers who have earned some playing time with the major league team and this year’s list is especially exciting.
Last year, fans got to see Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman for the first time. At that time, they were both in the team’s top-five prospects, this year, they are still at the top of the list and we get to see them again, but a year later in their development.
Last year brought a taste of the future with Carlson and Gorman both showing off their pop.
Not that it’s a competition, but Gorman hit his homer off of Max Scherzer, which is something that may never happen for him again.
These visions of the future are always fun and every spring we get excited to see these guys, this year we will see Carlson in the MLB at some point though.
Carlson and Gorman aren’t the only NRIs to watch though as the newly acquired Matthew Liberatore will spend time in Cardinals camp as well. The #58 prospect in baseball will look to impress his new team as he and Gorman have the chance to both make it to AA this season.
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Another NRI to watch is the Cardinals’ #7 prospect, catcher Ivan Herrera. Herrera was included in the “just missed” section of MLB’s top 100 list and for good reason after the 19-year-old batted .284 with a .779 OPS between Low-A Peoria and High-A Palm Beach last year. He then went on to impress with a .324/.439/.382 slash line in the Arizona Fall League setting himself up as one of the most exciting young prospects to watch.
Those four players are probably going to be the most exciting guys to watch prospect-wise but in all, there are a lot of players who will be part of the future of this team being invited.
As far as names from the past, former #3 prospect in the system, Rob Kaminsky, is back on a minor league deal after the team traded him for Brandon Moss at the trade deadline during the 2015 season.
Kaminsky was rated as the #88 prospect in baseball at that time but sadly has seen his career path stalled by injury and lack of performance. The lefty was ranked once as the “best pitcher in the Cardinals organization” by Scout and is just 25 still. He definitely fits in as a dark horse for a bullpen spot at some point this season.
Coming off of a suspension for marijuana, former 2018 first-rounder Griffin Roberts will get a taste of spring training as well. Roberts did not have a great season last year with a 6.44 ERA at High-A Palm Beach but rebounded with a 3.07 ERA in the AFL over four starts.
These are the names who stick out to me that I am going to be excited to watch, for the full list, TCN did a good job breaking it down with their own prospect rankings here.
It’s often difficult for NRIs to make the final roster that will head north for the season but during spring training, impressions can be made that can influence roster decisions down the line. Either way, it’s always fun to see a glimpse at prospects that could someday lead the team.