The St. Louis Cardinals released the first 44 names of their 60-man player pool for the 2020 season. What did we learn from this first release?
For the first time in a while, we have St. Louis Cardinals news that has absolutely nothing to do with negotiations of any sort.
On Sunday evening, the Cardinals (along with the majority of the league) released their first round of players that would be the beginning group to play at Busch Stadium for Summer Camp (spring training 2.0).
For this first round of players, the team released just 44 names. For the other 16 players, they will be announced soon but will begin Summer Camp at AA Springfield rather than at Busch.
The biggest thing that this shows me is that the Cardinals are going to use the vast majority of the rest of the 16 spots for prospects they have no intention of calling up in 2020. With 22 pitchers, five catchers, seven outfielders, and 10 infielders listed, the Cardinals probably hope that they won’t need to use any more than these 44 players.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a name or two outside of these 44 that is already in the organization that ends up making the active roster at some point, but the Cardinals are showing their hand here with who they see contributing in 2020.
Looking at this list, there are a few players that I don’t expect to make the team at any point in 2020 though. Especially with the catchers, I wouldn’t expect Ivan Herrera or Jose Godoy to see time. Herrera’s name was leaked early and he just turned 20. He and Godoy probably going to be in St. Louis for camp strictly to spend as much time around Yadier Molina as possible.
As far as the other position players go, I’d be surprised if we see Justin Williams or Max Schrock as well. Based on how spring training 1.0 went, Austin Dean, John Nogowski, Rangel Ravelo, and Edmundo Sosa could all be among the first players up should reinforcements be needed.
Looking at Dylan Carlson, there is plenty of debate about whether or not he should start the season on the active roster, but if he somehow doesn’t, he is absolutely the first person up if anything goes wrong.
On the pitcher’s side, I think that this is where things get fun. Because of the way all of this is going to work, the Cardinals are going to need a lot of pitchers, especially at first.
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Before the season went down the loony bin, there was a limit for pitchers on the 26-man roster at 13. For the shortened season, that is lifted (at least at first). Because it takes way less time for position players to get into season-ready shape, the first 30-man roster won’t need any more than four or five guys on the bench.
Putting any more than 13 or 14 position players on the 30-man off the bat would just mean players are rotting on the bench. Even with the DH, there’s no reason to go anything over 14 position players.
The rest are going to be all the pitchers. Clearly, all 22 can’t start on the active roster, but starting with at least 16 pitchers is a reasonable expectation. Those 16 will definitely not be the only 16 pitchers all season though.
I think there is a world where 20 of the 22 pitchers there see at least one MLB inning in 2020. The biggest question marks are with the health of Jordan Hicks (we’ve missed this) and Brett Cecil. By all accounts, Miles Mikolas is good to go too.
Especially with John Brebbia out for the year after Tommy John surgery, players like Kodi Whitley, Genesis Cabrera, Jake Woodford, Austin Gomber, and Johan Oviedo could all carve out roles or at least make their debut.
As far as glaring omissions go from that list, I’m slightly surprised the Cardinals didn’t put guys like Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore on the Busch squad. I’d bet a lot of money they will be two of the next 16 names, but it seems that the most time they can get around the big league guys the better.
This is one of the first times that baseball is finally feeling real in 2020. The first workout is on Friday at Busch Stadium and from there, the hope is that cases can be managed enough to keep the season alive.