On Friday we made our first prediction for what the 30-man roster for the St. Louis Cardinals might look like. However, we missed two names.
We are now less than two weeks away from the start of the St. Louis Cardinals season. That alone is enough to get excited about, but the constant threat of an immediate plug being pulled has kept expectations low.
However, we must act like the season will start as scheduled for now until something else changes.
After I made my first stab at the 30-man roster on Friday, I felt something was off. Other than the 16 pitchers I predicted, there were really only two other pitchers that were on the 40-man roster that were anywhere near the major leagues. The two I had listed were Jake Woodford and Genesis Cabrera, a scary proposition for such an unknown season.
While I didn’t predict either of them to make the 30-man roster, they are two names who I would guess are the first ones up should any pitcher get hurt or get sick.
This was too short-sighted though. I completely missed two names.
Enter Johan Oviedo and Kodi Whitley
Oviedo was one name that we heard a lot about in the spring as a guy that the Cardinals really liked. He got a lot of looks then, and now, the Cardinals used Oviedo as one team’s starter in just their second intrasquad game of summer camp. We can see that the Cardinals are really excited about him.
Last year, Oviedo pitched at High-A Palm Beach and Springfield as a starter. While his on-paper numbers weren’t great, there’s stuff to like when you look past just his 5.65 ERA he had at AA. First, the 6-6 righty had 123 strikeouts in just 113 innings at AA. Where Oviedo’s troubles come in is with his control. To go along with those strikeouts, he walked 64 batters, putting his BB/9 to 5.1 at Springfield. Oviedo did show plenty of improvement by the end of 2020 though.
For Kodi Whitley, he threw at three different levels last season, finishing the year at AAA. Even though the 24-year-old only threw 23.2 innings at AAA, his 1.60 ERA and 1.056 WHIP on the season suggests that the reliever is ready for the big leagues.
The Cardinals are not a team that hides their cards well in terms of who they think will make it at the next level, and both Whitley and Oviedo got a lot of spring innings this year. The only issue is again, they aren’t on the 40-man roster. However, in a year where the bullpen is going to be more important than ever, both of these pitchers could easily make the jump up and contribute from the bullpen.
Oviedo has been strictly a starter in the minors and projects to be able to stay there longterm but in his age 22 season, taking the route Carlos Martinez and Ryan Helsley (among others) did to make it to the big leagues through the bullpen is no worry.
Neither of these guys is super likely to start the year on the 30-man roster, but when injuries (and hopefully not sickness) hits, they will be on the shortlist of guys to get called up.
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We could probably make a whole series of articles on mistakes I’ve made, but I wanted to make sure to give Oviedo and Whitley the love they deserve. I would bet good money that both of these guys make their debuts in 2020 at some point, so get ready and get excited.