Memphis Redbirds Announce Opening Night Roster


The St. Louis Cardinals’ Triple-A team, the Memphis Redbirds, announced their Opening Night roster on Monday afternoon. While players like Marco Gonzales and Sam Tuivailala have been exceptions and soared through the system in recent years, it’s likely that this group will fully comprise the pool of players who have a chance of being brought up to the majors this season in the event of an injury or poor performance on the big-league squad. Here’s the group that will be on the roster for the Redbirds when they open their season on Thursday evening:

Starting Pitchers (5): LHP Marco Gonzales, LHP Tyler Lyons, LHP Tim Cooney, RHP Zach Petrick, LHP John Gast

Relief Pitchers (8): LHP Nick Greenwood, RHP Mitch Harris, RHP Marcus Hatley, LHP Dean Kiekhefer, RHP Miguel Socolovich, RHP Sam Tuivailala, RHP Tyler Waldron, RHP Boone Whiting

Catchers (3): Ed Easley, Cody Stanley, Travis Tartamella

Infielders (6): Dean Anna, Greg Garcia, Ty Kelly, Scott Moore, Xavier Scruggs, Matt Williams

Outfielders (4): Gary Brown, Mike O’Neill, Rafael Ortega, Stephen Piscotty

A few notes about the composition of the team:

  • As can be expected with an organization that has a successful minor-league system but very few openings on the big-league roster, there’s not much fresh talent on the Memphis roster this season. Infielder Matt Williams is the only player on the entire roster that’s making his first appearance in Triple-A this season. With that said, reliever Mitch Harris is effectively making his Triple-A debut, as he got just one outing under his belt at Memphis last season.

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  • It’s somewhat surprising to see that Williams made the Redbirds’ roster over three guys that were invited to major-league camp: Jacob Wilson, Breyvic Valera, and Aledmys Diaz. Wilson was one of the Cardinals’ hottest hitters during spring training, while the Cardinals made a significant investment last year in Diaz, a Cuban defector, by giving him a four-year, $8 million-dollar contract and a spot on the 40-man roster. Seeing as Valera and Wilson vastly outperformed Williams last year at Double-A Springfield and the clock is ticking on Diaz, the logic seems to be that Wilson, Valera, and Diaz will be better off getting consistent at-bats at Springfield, while Williams, a lesser prospect, is more equipped to fill the role of backing up the primary infielders at Memphis. It seemed possible that the Redbirds could find enough at-bats to go around with the DH spot and left field position to give a real chance to a player like Wilson, but instead the Cardinals will guarantee them everyday at-bats by having them all repeat Double-A.
  • The roster provided has 26 players, though that problem will presumably be fixed by the placement of Tartamella on the “phantom” disabled list. Tartamella has frequently spent time on the disabled list while catching bullpens and taking batting practice, and he picks up at-bats if and when a roster spot becomes available.
  • Sooner or later, outfielder Tommy Pham will likely be demoted to Memphis after beginning the season on the big-league disabled list. Pham projects as the Redbirds’ third starting outfielder alongside Brown and Piscotty, but until then look for the third outfield spot to be split among Ortega, O’Neill, and infielders Kelly and Scruggs.

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