Somehow I missed this news today. I heard rumblings of Pete Kozma getting the call, but hadn’t seen anything on it. However, here it is.
Nick Punto is headed to the DL for the second time this season. This time for what the Post-Dispatch describes as a “strain near his right elbow.” That’s trouble for the infield defense because Punto is the best fielding infielder this team has.
In his place, the Cardinals have recalled 2007′s first round draft pick Pete Kozma up from Memphis. Kozma, 23, is a shortstop by trade and has played there pretty much his entire minor league career. He was one of the last picks under the Cardinals’ old system where drafting was a mix of signability and talent.
Four years into his professional career and he is still searching for sustained success. Many saw glimpses last year of what Kozma could do in Springfield when he hit .243 with 13 HR and 72 RBI, doubling his previous power outputs. However, he has not had an easy go of it in Memphis where he is hitting just .220 and has yet to hit a home run. If you want a bright side to his start in Memphis, he may just be off to the best defensive season of his pro career.
Many are already calling this callup a function of the Cardinals having their hands tied by the 40 man roster. Otherwise, it would likely be spring training phenom Matt Carpenter getting the call.
How much will we see Kozma? I doubt it will be very often, though I would hope that Tony would at least give him one game to show what he’s got (who am I kidding right?). I expect this call-up to only remain for just a few days until Skip Schumaker gets a few rehabilitation games under his belt and returns to the major league club. Punto’s injury just delays the roster calisthenics that the Cardinals will have to do once everyone gets back to healthy.
Exciting news for prospect geeks like myself came out semi-recently that the Quad City River Bandits (Cards Low A affiliate) were playing Kane County Cougars (Royals Low A affiliate) at Busch Stadium on Thursday, May 26th. Tickets are all GA and are $10 and all concessions are half price. The more exciting news is Carlos Martinez is scheduled to pitch in that outing. That alone makes it worth paying $10 to get an early glimpse of the star to be in the Cards system. If you decide to go here are some key Cards prospects to keep an eye on:
Carlos Martinez – RHP
– As mentioned above he will be the highlight of the night. He has Shelby Miller
upside and to me is the 2nd best prospect in our system. He supports a mid-upper 90s FB with movement and very good control at only 19! His secondary stuff is underrated as he flashes a potential plus CH and CB and his SL will be at least avg long term. The word dynamite comes to mind!
Oscar Taveras – OF
– He has been hit by the injury bug this year so hopefully he will be back in the lineup by the time they play next week. He has kind of an awkward stance and swing but don’t let that fool you. At worst he will have great gap power but I see more power to come as he grows. Definitely one of those exciting players that puts butts in the seats. BTW – in his limited time this year (just over 50 AB’s) he is hitting .500 with a 1.228 OPS!
Cody Stanley/Juan Castillo – C
– Both of these guys are fairly exciting offensively which is a nice bonus for a C. Stanley is provides solid D both from a catch and throw perspective. Honestly I don’t know much about Castillo’s D…but hopefully I get to see him behind the plate next week.
Nick Longmire – OF - A favorite of mine from the 2010 draft he is currently playing CF but I project as more of a RF. He is struggling this year as he needs to improve on cutting down his swing and not striking out as often and show better plate discipline to take a walk more often. But the tools are there and he is definitely an exciting player.
Other Pitchers –
You may or may not see depending on if they try to get some of there guys to pitch on the big stage or just play it like a normal game: Trevor Rosenthal (#3 SP in our system on upside), Justin Wright (he almost has 2K/IP) and Seth Blair (struggling mightily with his command this year).
The moral of the story is if you like to see who you might see in STL in a few years then go to the Cardinal’s website and get some tickets. Needless to say I already have my tickets and will post a recap after the game!