It’s the most wonderful time of the year and no, that has nothing to do with the below freezing temps in much of the Cardinals’ listening area today. Four more St. Louis baseball teams are prepped and ready for the run to the postseason as the Prospect Preacher has you covered from Opening Day across each level.
The Birds on the Bat enjoyed a very successful 2017 campaign, but turnover was inevitable given the high profile trades made over the winter and carrying over into last weekend. The 40-man roster has been filled once again so now is the time to analyze where each of the clubs has both strengths as well as weaknesses before the games officially kick off tomorrow.
Before the attention can be turned to any of the Top 30 prospects or diamonds in the rough, however, all eyes will be on Palm Beach for a very different start to the organization for one prized late addition. Greg Holland was signed to throw the 9th inning under the Arch, but he first has to show readiness against Jupiter in what is sure to be a highly covered event.
Memphis smoked the Pacific Coast League a summer ago and returns a stacked roster in hopes of securing back-to-back titles for Stubby Clapp. The Redbirds will rely on many contributors from the big league club as well, something that surely will be fun to watch unfold. Springfield and Peoria are also both in enviable positions, given that the leagues they play in always boast some of the top talent in the Minors.
One nice schedule quirk that helps both of the top affiliates also should keep the two teams away from potential weather issues. Memphis and Springfield are on the road to begin their seasons, both in Texas should a roster move or three be needed to accommodate a certain long-time Cardinal starter or possibly a fresh reliever.
There are plenty of new faces to learn as well, so that will be the main goal here as the games progress this month. Talent from top to bottom makes some aggressive promotions something to track as well as how much the front office utilizes the options on the 40-man.
Alex Reyes also will be added to the mix later than originally scheduled, but his stay in Memphis would be considered a shock if the calendar hits June without a promotion. Plenty of other story lines have already raised a few eyebrows by glancing at the just-released rosters, and there are four more posts to come before the first Play Ball of 2018 is heard.
Thanks for stopping by and hoping you are just as excited as I am to see how the Cardinals utilize all the depth that has been building over the last few years!