2017 is going to be the year of the pitcher for the Springfield Cardinals. Many higher level offensive prospects like Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader have moved onto the Memphis Redbirds. There are a few prospects at the lower levels that might make an impact in Springfield in 2017, but as you will see, I am not predicting that to happen at the beginning of the season. If you missed it, here is my Memphis Redbirds prediction.
Here is a look at the 25 players I think begin the year in Springfield.
The starting rotation will feature four of our top 12 prospects, and I am pretty sure they will all start in Springfield. The one that may not is Alcantara as he could return to Palm Beach, but all signs point for him heading to the Texas League. The 5th starter is a big question for me. I put Matt Pearce there as I think Daniel Poncedeleon will likely head to the bullpen and now is a good time, but those could be switched. The bullpen will likely be wrong as you have guys like Corey Baker and Trey Neilsen who have started before, but I cannot find a better spot for them.
The release of former first round pick Steve Bean clears up the logjam slightly, but there are still a couple other options that could find themselves behind the plate in Springfield. Jenner saw slightly over 100 plate appearances for Springfield last year and fared pretty well so he seems like a lock. Lino has about 200 Double-A plate appearances so he fits right in here as well. Luis Cruz and Chris Rivera are the other options for one of these spots.
As you will notice, you won’t find Eliezer Alvarez or Edmundo Sosa on my projected roster. I think there is a pretty good chance that one of them will start in Springfield and if I were to guess, it would be Alvarez. That said, I am keeping them off my roster because I keep going back and forth. This group consists of veteran minor leaguers who probably won’t have major league careers but will help Springfield win a lot of games.
Again, you will notice that I do not have Magneuris Sierra starting the season in Springfield. This has been brought up and many think it will happen. I think that more harm than good could come out of this if it did happen. He was rushed to Low-A in 2015 and really struggled. I understand that Palm Beach and the Florida State League are not the places you want to be as a hitter, but it’s where he should be. Of the current group, Adolis Garcia is the one to watch. It will be interesting to see how he transitions to professional ball in the states.
While the pitching staff is loaded, it’s a transition year offensively. If the Cardinals do start Eli Alvarez or Magneuris Sierra or Edmundo Sosa in Springfield, this team will be fun to watch.