Spring Training Update – Week 2

Spring Training is a time for players at both the Major and minor league levels to show their skills in a team setting prior to the season. Some players are looking to just make the team, while others are vying to reach a specific level of the organization. Below is an update after two weeks of competition.

Oscar Taveras: Rated the #3 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America entering the year, Taveras has done everything to back that up. In nine games, Taveras has gone 9-for-30 (.300) with two doubles, two home runs, and nine RBIs. One of his home runs was a grand slam in the 1st inning off of Miami prospect Jacob Turner on February 28. Taveras’ play has garnered cries from fans and media for him to play with the big league club this season, but it is still expected that he will start the year with the Redbirds.

Trevor Rosenthal: Rosenthal  started camp fighting for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation, but was recently switched to the bullpen, where it seems likely he will end up to start the year. Rosenthal has allowed five runs in 7.0 innings this Spring, although four of those came in a 2.0-inning start on February 23 against Miami. His most recent outing was scoreless over 2.0 innings of relief, also against Miami.

Pete Kozma: Kozma seems to be slated as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop after an injury to Rafael Furcal, and has done enough this Spring to seemingly earn that right. He has gone 8-for-15 (.533) since March 1st and 12-for-28 (.429)  in nine games overall, including a 3-for-3 game on March 3 against Washington and a 2-for-5 game with a home run and a double on February 25 against Houston.

Ryan Jackson: Rafael Furcal’s injury could have forced a shortstop competition at the big league level, but Jackson is probably looking to start Opening Day in Memphis. He has played in 10 games this Spring and recorded two hits in 16 at-bats (.125).

Michael Wacha: Wacha has impressed teammates, coaches, and fans with his performance so far this Spring. He has allowed one unearned run on four hits in 7.2 innings so far while striking out a team-high 11 batters. Originally expected to start at Double-A because of his lack of professional experience (21.0 career innings), Wacha has made a case for him to begin the season in the Memphis rotation.

Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller throwing a bullpen in Jupiter, FL (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Michael Wacha and Shelby Miller throwing a bullpen in Jupiter, FL (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly: With Rosenthal subjected to the bullpen, the battle for the fifth spot in the Cardinals’ rotation is between Miller and Kelly. With no real favorite heading into Spring Training, both have been given the opportunity to impress in Grapefruit League play. Miller has allowed three runs over 5.0 innings in the two games he’s pitched, while Kelly has allowed two runs (one earned) in 4.0 innings over two games. St. Louis fans may be a couple weeks away from finding out who their #5 starter is.

Sam Freeman: Entering camp competing for a bullpen spot with the big league club, Freeman allowed two runs on two hits in 1.0 innings on February 24 against Boston, his only outing of the Spring thus far. He then felt a renewed soreness in his left bicep while warming up on Friday, March 1 and has been sidelined ever since.

Seth Maness: Last season’s Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year has continued to make a name for himself. Maness struck out three of the four batters he faced on February 25 against Houston, and followed that by throwing 3.0 scoreless innings on Thursday against the Yankees. A spot in the Redbirds rotation should be waiting for him this year.

Victor Marte: Having spent the past three seasons back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors, Marte entered 2013 Spring Training looking to win a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. He has allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits over 3.2 innings in the four games.

Matt Adams: Adams has done more than enough to prove himself at both the minor and Major League levels, but is blocked at first base by Allen Craig. Adams has not let that phase him in Grapefruit League play, batting .400 (8-for-20) with two home runs and seven RBIs, including a pinch-hit home run on Wednesday, March 6 off of Miami’s Ryan Webb.

Barret Browning:  Browning has allowed an unearned run in an inning of work on February 25 against Houston and two runs on three hits in 1.0 inning against Washington on March 3.

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