Several exciting prospects on deck for St. Louis with spring camp on horizon
By Jenifer Langosch
ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals will use their seven-week Spring Training stay to piece together the Major League roster and prepare for the season ahead, there will also be a bigger picture to ponder. Those weeks in Florida provide a unique setting for the organization to see potential future contributors, some of whom may ascend to the big league level before the end of the season.
As cardinals.com continues with a series of stories as part of its Spring Training preview package, here is a look at some of the prospects worth watching as they participate in Major League camp this spring:
LHP Marco Gonzales: Gonzales still ranks on the organization's prospect list (No. 3, according to MLB.com) even though he did get his first exposure at the Major League level in 2014. Gonzales has an outside shot at a rotation job, though it's more likely he'll slide into a lefty relief role or begin the year as starting depth in Triple-A.
OF Stephen Piscotty: Recently ranked by MLB.com as the No. 90 prospect in the Majors, Piscotty doesn't have an obvious fit on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster, but is someone the Cardinals believe can help at some point this year. A strong spring would push him closer to that debut.
RHP Sam Tuivailala: Tuivailala got his first taste of the Majors last September and then went on to participate in the Arizona Fall League, where he worked largely on refining his curveball and changeup. He's another power arm in the system that could help out of the bullpen this year.
C Carson Kelly: Kelly made the transition to catcher last year and fared well at the new defensive position. Placed 11th in MLB.com's end-of-the-year Cardinals prospect rankings, Kelly, 20, will look to make an impression this spring without being overwhelmed by another position change.
RHP Zach Petrick: Two years ago, Petrick put himself on the prospect map while winning the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors. His results regressed in 2014, but he was also challenged at the Triple-A level for the first time and will likely begin the year back in Memphis.
LHP Tim Cooney: Ranked No. 10 on MLB.com's Cardinals prospect list, Cooney is on the cusp of the Majors after pitching a full season in the Triple-A rotation. The lefty was knocked around in Grapefruit League play last spring but should be better prepared to face that level of competition now.
RHP Mitch Harris: A naval lieutenant who put his career on hold for five years to serve in the armed forces, Harris is seeking to become the first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to reach the Majors in almost a century. After a successful Arizona Fall League stint, Harris is a non-roster invitee to big league camp for the first time.