The Cardinals announced a round of high-profile cuts to their big league camp roster after Sunday's 10-0 Spring Training win over the Nationals, optioning top prospects Carson Kelly and Jack Flaherty to Triple-A Memphis alongside outfielder Oscar Mercado, left-hander Ryan Sherriff, second baseman Breyvic Valera and right-hander John Gant.
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The hard-throwing Mike Mayers has been one of the revelations of Cardinals camp, pushing triple digits with his fastball and holding opponents scoreless over nine total innings. Armed with two fewer pitches and a newfound intensity, the 26-year-old is pitching his way into St. Louis' long-term late-inning plans. Simply put, he's been lights out. And he credits a fire now burning from within.
Mike Matheny can't help but keep track. Few former catchers can. When one of his backstops gets down and makes a big block, he notes it. When a pitch isn't received correctly, he notes that, too. Matheny is hard-wired to catalogue the little things, and in this category, catcher Francisco Pena continues to impress.
The Cardinals' bullpen split up on Friday, and for the first time in nearly a week, it blinked. Ryan Sherriff struggled in a four-run sixth against the Nationals in West Palm Beach, Fla., while Tyler Lyons allowed a run in St. Louis' 4-2 win over the Marlins in Jupiter.
Cardinals outfielder Randy Arozarena was among top prospect performers in Spring Training on Saturday.
For Bader, one game, two diving catches
Though he continues to progress without any physical hiccups, Alex Reyes will not have his rehab program accelerated by the Cardinals just to allow the right-hander to appear in Grapefruit League games. Reyes will not pitch in a game before the regular season starts, pitching coach Mike Maddux said on Friday.
Who do the Cardinals have in the pipeline? Get scouting reports, video, stats, projected ETAs and more for St. Louis' Top 30 Prospects on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Watch.
It's a matter of if, not when Jack Flaherty will start in the big leagues. Barring injury to another arm, the 22-year chances to crack the Opening Day roster are slim, despite the swing-and-miss stuff he has flashed this spring. But Cardinals officials view him as the next man up, often interchanging him in conversations with the recovering Alex Reyes.
A collaborative circle formed in a corner of the Cardinals clubhouse Thursday morning. Such congregations aren't rare around Yadier Molina's locker, where veteran players often gravitate while the eight-time All-Star holds court.
Whatever this story says, good or bad, Adam Wainwright won't read it. The 36-year-old righty elevated a desire to avoid "distractions" to the top of his lengthy priority list this spring, in which he's hoping to prove that he's poised to bounce back from a career-worst season.
From baseball's brightest stars to the next great fantasy steal lurking on the Cardinals' depth chart, everything you need to know is one click away.
Jack Flaherty looked to be in midseason form as he cruised through a dominant start in the Cardinals 1-0 loss to the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. Flaherty fired five innings of one-run ball, giving up just three hits while striking out eight.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny read the list of names in a businesnesslike tone, one after another, each a promising prospect, but none of them much of a surprise. Good young players flood big league camp each and every spring, and each and every spring, most eventually need to be reassigned.
John Mozeliak's Cardinals have played two World Series in the last five years and won one of them, but sometimes you get the idea that their fans have waited as long to win again as Indians fans have.
Matt Carpenter's slow, circuitous spring took a positive turn on Tuesday, out of the trainer's room, through the back alleys of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium and into the batter's box. There, he game-tested a balky back while showing an eye in midseason form, walking twice in a Grapefruit League debut weeks in the making.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny knew admittedly little about Yairo Munoz when the club acquired him from the A's this offseason as part of the deal that sent Stephen Piscotty to Oakland. So Matheny consulted one of his most trusted scouting confidants: his son, Tate, an outfielder in the Red Sox's organization who played against Munoz in the Minors.
The spring's second round of cuts hit Cardinals camp Sunday, bringing further into focus what the club's 25-man roster could look like come Opening Day.
By the end of last season, Luke Weaver says, opposing hitters began to figure him out. Few starting pitchers were more spin-averse than the 23-year-old righty, who navigated most of the 60 1/3-innings of his rookie season with just two distinct pitches, adding and subtracting from them all the way.
There won't be any grand announcement, because Mike Matheny considers his choice for Opening Day starter something of a given. Of course it'll be Carlos Martinez on the mound when St. Louis opens the regular season in New York against the Mets on March 29. Who else?
With Opening Day less than three weeks away and Spring Training more than halfway complete, let's tackle a few burning questions that Cardinals fans have looking ahead to the 2018 season.
Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly was among top prospect performers on Saturday.
Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is looking to get back in the Major Leagues. If he continues to throw like he did in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Astros, it won't be long before he makes that much anticipated return.
Cardinals right-hander Bud Norris is hoping the back end of the bullpen is where he continues his Major League career. The 33-year-old, who has 188 starts under his belt, had 19 saves in 23 opportunities last season with the Angels. It was a very different role that seemed to suit the nine-year veteran.
Back on the hill, Carlos Martinez tried out a new pitch. The Cardinals ace is tinkering with a cutter this spring, and the few he introduced to Marlins hitters Thursday highlighted his return to game action following a one-start absence.
Somehow, Delvin Perez wasn't the youngest player to make his Grapefruit League debut Thursday. That distinction goes to 18-year-old Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who did so for the Blue Jays on the other side of the state.
When the Cardinals named Luke Gregerson their closer prior to Spring Training, they were expecting the Grapefruit League schedule to help determine whether he'd remain in that role. Now a sizeable chunk of Gregerson's spring is threatened after an MRI revealed irritation in his oblique.
When Cardinals left-hander Brett Cecil started a "B" game against the Marlins on Wednesday, his wife and children were watching from the bleachers on back field No. 1 at St. Louis' spring complex. It was the left-hander's first time throwing to hitters after a long offseason, as Cecil reported to camp a week late due to a family matter he's declined to disclose.
His future in St. Louis now secured, Paul DeJong is eyeing what's next. He has a vision of the type of player he can become, for what the next six, maybe seven, maybe eight years look like in red and white. And it hinges, well, on his vision, both in a literal and metaphorical sense. What he sees. How he recognizes. What he's looking for going forward, and at the plate.
In the most recent episode of the Statcast™ Podcast, hosts Mike Petriello and Matt Meyers discuss the Paul DeJong contract extension, wonder why a useful player like Neil Walker hasn't yet found a home, investigate the data behind an interesting Billy Hamilton theoretical and discuss the new Statcast™ metrics to be unveiled at the upcoming SABR Analytics conference.
Top prospects from around the game made a big impact in Spring Training action on Tuesday.
A year ago, Paul DeJong spent Spring Training relearning shortstop after rising through the Cardinals' system as predominately a third baseman. Now, his status as the club's shortstop is cemented for the foreseeable future.
The Cardinals announced Monday that they renewed the contract of star center fielder Tommy Pham for the 2018 season, meaning they dictated his salary without an agreement from both sides.