Getting to Know the Cards Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

As Spring Training is right around the corner it’s time to get to know some of our key non-roster invitees. As all of these players are here for a reason there are some that have more attraction than others. To get a full list of non-roster invites visit the Cardinals Official Site. If you’re lucky enough to be a Spring Training this year make sure to take the time to not only focus on our MLB stars but also keep an eye on some of these guys. Sometimes it’s all about the lesser known players playing a big role throughout the season that pushes a team over the edge to stardom.

Key Pitchers:
Miguel Batista – We picked up the soon to be 40 yr old on a minor league deal this offseason. So what does he bring to the table? At this point in his career is no more than a middle reliever/swingman. If the old rubber arm still has anything left he has the arsenal to provide value as a middle reliever and spot starter when needed. If he doesn’t show anything in ST then no harm no foul.
Ian Snell – Once a solid prospect with the Pirates he only had 1 solid season in ’07. He is looking to get resurgence with the Cards like so many pitchers before. Can Dunc turn him around? If so he is almost certainly going to be our #6 starter and will put a lot of pressure on Lohse to perform out of the gate. If not just another minor league deal that won’t cost us anything.
Adam Ottavino – A 1st Rd pick of the Cards in ’06 he has never quite lived up to his potential. But he showed signs of the tools that the Cards saw with him at out Northeastern University. He still has some potential as a starter but I think for him to stick in the bigs his ticket will be in relief. His FB and SL could provide an upside of a SU reliever. If the Cards feel he can still start then it would be wise to have him in the AAA rotation. He will also need to work on his CB and CH and most importantly his control.
Lance Lynn – A 1st Supp pick of the Cards from the 2008 Lynn moved very quickly in his first full year. He started in Palm Beach (A+) and pitched at 3 levels ending up in Memphis (AAA). In 2010 he struggled the 1st half of the year in AAA but turned it around in the 2nd half. He projects as no better than a #3 SP but has the makeup to be in the bigs for years as a workhorse. Seeing FA contacts for #3/#4 type SP’s the last few yrs and you know a guy like Lynn has value. He will be in the hunt for the #6 SP for the Cards in 2011 but most likely starts in AAA.
Shelby Miller/Joe Kelly – 2 guys that are still a few years away from the bigs but both have promise. Most know the story of our 1st Rd pick from the 2009. Miller is an ace in the making and considered by all analyst to be one of the top pitching prospects in the game. Kelly is a lesser known commodity from ’09 draft as a 3rd Rd pick. He has the potential as a #3/#4 but a college closer turned starter will take some time.
Key Hitters:
Steven Hill – A Catcher with potential to be an everyday regular due to his hit tool. Problem is I don’t see him sticking at catcher unless he improves significantly. But definitely a player of interest so keep an eye on him in ST…could be a big opportunity to show the Cards coaches that he belongs
Matt Carpenter – The 2010 Cards Minor League Position Player of the Year had a great year spending most of it in Springfield (AA). As a 3B keep an eye on him if Freese gets injured again or is ineffective come mid-year. Carpenter is not your typical power hitting 3B but he has a great eye at the plate and will hit plenty of doubles and draw plenty of walks while playing solid D.
Audry Perez – The best catching prospect in our system but many years away. He has all the tools to be a solid defensive catcher while being an above avg or better hitter. This will be a showcase of the future at catcher. I am extremely high on this kid so I will be excited to see him in action against older and superior talent.
Jim Edmonds – Our old friend Jimmy Edmonds! I am very skeptical he will be healthy enough to contribute and make the team out of ST. In fact as of today he still hasn’t taken his physical to finalize the deal since he isn’t healthy enough to do so. But we all know there is sentimental value in STL with Jimmy E so there is a part of me that is rooting for him.