The St. Louis Cardinals will get a player pool of 60 players to choose from in the 2020 season. Don’t be surprised to see top prospects included there.
The St. Louis Cardinals will have a very odd set up in 2020. Beginning with a 30-man roster that will shrink to 26 in a month, the team will have a total pool of 60 players with which they can pull from, both to trade or play. If a player is not included in the 60-player pool, they are in limbo for this season.
All signs point to no Minor League baseball this year, and for this reason, if clubs want their top prospects to keep their guys developing, they are going to have to include them in the pool. This is where there will have to be a delicate balance.
In any given season, teams don’t use 60 players. In 2019, the Cardinals utilized 43 different players and looking around the rest of the NL Central, the Pirates set the high water mark with 54 different players seeing MLB time.
All the players that aren’t on the active roster will be playing at AA Springfield. While they won’t be playing games against other clubs, this is time that young players will still be able to use for development.
The Cardinals (as well as plenty other teams) are likely going to include their 40-man roster and other top prospects that they don’t want to have miss a year of development.
This confirms that Ivan Herrera will be in that player pool, which awesome. It’s likely that along with Herrera, Nolan Gorman, Matthew Liberatore, Jhon Torres, and more of the Cards’ top prospects will be in that player pool.
That does not mean that any of them will see MLB time this year. Young guys like Herrera are still a year+ away and this year won’t wind their clocks forward. It’s easy to get excited, but they will be on there for their own development.
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The players in the pool aren’t set though. For different reasons, players can be added or subtracted, but when they are taken off the 60-man pool roster, they can’t be added again.
On each road trip, three of these pool players will make up a “taxi squad” of substitutes. They won’t be active on the roster but will be there in case the live roster does end up needing substitutes on the road.
The balance will come when trying to get as many of these young prospects instruction and development in 2020 without damaging the MLB team. While teams like the Pirates did use 54 players in 2019, that was over 162 games. With just 60 games on the schedule, it’ll be hard to use that many players.
Sure, players will still get hurt, they’ll still need reinforcements, but it’s not outlandish to think that the team could at least use 10 of those pool spots for guys they have no intention of calling up to St. Louis.
The team may go through roster spots quickly if anyone gets the virus, but there is a grey area in there where teams will be able to cover themselves while still getting their top guys playing time. Just don’t think that because some of these guys are in the pool, they will be playing in games in 2020.