2014 Major League Stats: 2 G, 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 1 BB
2014 Minor League Stats: 0.84 ERA, 9 G, 10.2 IP, 0.94 WHIP in AAA
2015 Role: Rehabbing from Tommy John
Keith Butler was expected to be one of those guys that played a pivotal role as the 4th or 5th right handed reliever out of the bullpen this season for St. Louis, but that role never developed for him. He pitched well enough in Spring Training to earn a bullpen spot, but after getting blown out for five runs in his 2014 season debut, he only got one more opportunity before being demoted. He pitched well enough in Memphis though, posting an ERA and a WHIP below 1 until going down in with injury in May.
He underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL at the end of May. With the typical rehab time for a pitcher being about a year, it may be the middle of the season before we see Butler return to game action, even in the minor leagues. His chances of making any appearances with the big league club in 2015 will seem slim to impossible given the experiences of Adam Wainwright and Jason Motte upon their returns from Tommy John, struggling to be consistently effective and without their best stuff. [click to continue…]
2014 Major League Stats: .233/.351/.533, 3 HR, 5 RBI in 18 games
2014 Minor League Stats: .190/.284/.345, 4 HR, 13 RBI in 27 games in AAA
2015 Role: Backup catcher in the Majors
After the injury to Yadier Molina, the Cardinals claimed George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians to give themselves a veteran backup option for Tony Cruz. He would start just one game with St. Louis and catch a total off 11 innings in Cardinal red before being waived by the Cardinals when they signed A.J. Pierzynski.
Kottaras was a player that never really got an opportunity with the Cardinals to show them what he could do. On a team with little power, Kottaras could have provided that. A career backup, Kottaras’ home run rate over his career translates to 20+ homers if he were to play a full season behind the plate for a team. His batting average won’t be impressive, he hit just .180 in 2013 as the Royals’ primary backup, but his power would have offset that for a team desperate for hitting. [click to continue…]
John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny spoke to the media this afternoon to discuss a little bit about how the season ended, but mainly where the club goes from here to prepare for the 2015 season. As a result of today’s discussion we now have begun to get a clearer picture of where Mozeliak intends to take the club over the offseason and what it’s goals are.
We heard from Bill DeWitt Jr earlier this week about payroll and their expectation that it will escalate in future years to accommodate rising salaries of their young players. He also made note that the team has the means to add another core player via free agency or trade if an opportunity presented itself. While he declined to say exactly how much he foresees payroll rising, it is confidence inspiring that the team will attempt to identify and retain some of its young players going forward.
Going into 2015, all of the coaching staff is expected to return. Mike Aldrete may be approached by at least one other team for an open position with them, but they have yet to ask permission to interview Aldrete. Personally, I’d like to see Aldrete move on and the Cardinals hire a veteran bench coach who can help Matheny manage the pitching staff better. Aldrete has been a hitting coach and a base coach and doesn’t have the background to really provide Matheny with experienced strategic advice when it comes to managing a bullpen. The combination of inexperience in both positions has hurt the Cardinals, in my opinion. [click to continue…]
2014 Major League Stats: 2 G, 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 2 BB
2014 Minor League Stats: 3.15 ERA, 48 G, 60.0 IP, 1.25 WHIP in A/AA/AAA
2015 Role: Reliever for Triple-A Memphis
A fast riser this season, Samuel Tuivailala started his season with High A Palm Beach. He got promoted in July to Double-A Springfield and then briefly to Triple-A Memphis at the end of the season. Once Memphis’ season completed, Tuivailala and his triple digit fastball made the trip to St. Louis.
His results in St. Louis weren’t that impressive as he may have proved himself not quite ready for the big leagues. He made his debut September 9th against Cincinnati and collected two outs and was charged with two earned runs, unable to escape the inning. His next opportunity was a tough situation for a guy without even an inning of Major League experience. Mike Matheny called on him with two on and none out, but Tuivailala was unable to pull through, getting just a single out, allowing both inherited base runners to score, and being tagged with two earned runs of his own in the process. That would be his last appearance of the year. [click to continue…]
2014 Major League stats: 0-for-2, 2 K
2014 Minor League stats: .324/.395/.491, 10 HR, 44 RBI in 104 games in AAA
2015 Role: Outfield for Triple-A Memphis
Tommy Pham parlayed a career minor league season into a September call-up this year. After hitting .286 between Springfield and Memphis last season, he broke out this year in a crowded Memphis outfield that included at times Oscar Taveras, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty. Not to mention Shane Robinson, who hit well in Memphis, on occasion as well. His St. Louis stint was short, but did manage to log four innings of solid work in the outfield.
He also played his way onto the 40 man roster just in time for protection from the Rule 5 Draft this winter. A formerly highly viewed prospect, Pham was a star in high school that fell to the 16th round of the 2006 draft. He struggled at the plate early on but it was discovered that he has an eye disorder that he has had surgery to repair in 2009. Since then he had a broken wrist, shoulder problems, and a litany of other issues that prevented him from staying on the field. But he rewarded the Cardinals’ faith this season and was tagged to keep, for at least one more year. [click to continue…]