Meet the NRIs: C Cody Stanley

Back from a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, Cody Stanley received an invite to Spring Training thanks to being a catcher. Stanley, 24, was a fourth round pick out of the 2010 MLB Draft out of UNC-Wilmington. Scout.com lists him as the Cardinals’ #26 prospect.

He played last year mostly in Palm Beach where he put up a .280/.300/.401 line in 45 games after returning from suspension. His plate discipline seems to be questionable as he walked just six times in 180 plate appearances last year. He’s said to have average tools with athleticism being his best attribute. He’s also been called very raw and an eager learner.

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Meet the NRIs: 2B Starlin Rodriguez

Starlin Rodriguez is a switch hitting second baseman from the Dominican Republic. He actually originally signed for the 2009 season with the Tampa Bay Rays and played 8 games for them in the Dominican Summer League before he failed a physical and the team voided his contract. That led to him being signed that fall by the Cardinals.

Last year in Palm Beach for the Cardinals he hit .300/.373/.442 with 8 HR and 48 RBI in 114 games. Over his four seasons in the minors he’s hit .293/.364/.419. It’s probably good enough to get the jump to Double-A ball. The team obviously thinks enough of him to bring him to major league camp, perhaps in the hopes that it’ll help his learning curve being around veteran players.

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Meet the NRIs: C Jesus Montero

No, not the Jesus Montero who was a Baseball America top-10 prosect for the Yankees and then traded to the Mariners. That’s his older brother. No, really. We’ve got the little brother. This Jesus Montero, 21, signed with the Cardinals in 2007 as a free agent out of Venezuela.

Being just 21, Montero still has plenty time to develop his tools. Last year he split time between Quad Cities and Batavia and put together a combined line of .287/.360/.434, 4 HR, and 25 RBI in 43 games. Though he struggled in his 10 games in Quad Cities. He shows some defensive ability, throwing out 37% of base stealers in his minor league career. He was also a New York Penn league All Star last year.

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Meet the NRIs: C Adam Ehrlich

The Cardinals’ 6th round pick of the 2011 MLB Draft was catcher Adam Ehrlich. Ehrlich, who turned 20 in December, has yet to jump above rookie ball. He put up impressive numbers last season though, posting a line of .329/.404/.409 with 1 HR and 14 RBI in 42 games.

Now that can mean a few things from he is highly skilled to him simply being more advanced than the pitchers he was facing. All that is possible, but some still say that he may be the best catching prospect in the Cardinals’ system. Scout.com ranked him as the #34 prospect for the organization.

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Meet the NRIs: LHP Tyler Lyons

The next stop on this tour is left handed pitcher Tyler Lyons. Lyons was selected by the Yankees in the 10th round of the 2009 Major League draft out of Oklahoma State University, but elected not to sign. When he was selected by the Cardinals in the 9th round of the 2010 draft, he would sign though wouldn’t play for the organization in 2010.

He began the 2011 season in the Palm Beach rotation. After 21 relief appearances, he slid into the starting rotation where he has stayed since. Last year he posted a 4.13 ERA and a 9-13 record over 27 starts between Springfield and Memphis. He may have been moved through the system a little faster than beneficial for him, but he will be 25 by the time this season starts, so he is fast aging himself out of prospect status.

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