Two sources from Venezuela report ex-Cubs, Pirates and Mets infielder Ronny Cedeno is joining the St…
State of the Cardinals farm system: John Vuch
This past weekend during Winter Warm-Up, the head of the St. Louis Cardinals farm system was kind enough to sit down in a one-on-one session to answer a number of questions about 2013 plans and players. Several of these questions were posed by readers on our Insiders message board. If you haven't already checked out our subscriber-only forum, please do. Among the topics Vuch discussed are: • Expansion of the strength and conditioning program during the off-season • New coaching and developmental assignments • New minor league affiliates • Strategy in terms of budget and playing time for minor league free agent signees • Return of instructional league • Continuation of early camp for selected minor leaguers • Winter ball recap, specifically Oscar Taveras • Position changes and deployment plans • Key position backlogs in the infield: Matt Adams, Colin Walsh, Starlin Rodriguez, Breyvic Valera, Greg Garcia, Stephen Piscotty • Injury status of a number of players, including several already in Jupiter rehabbing: Sam Tuivailala, Sam Freeman, Tommy Pham, Alex Mejia, Charlie Tilson, Jordan Swagerty, Tyrell Jenkins, Cory Jones • Impact of player movement due to increased competition • Rotation structure plans for 2013 – five- and six-man rotations (36:45) Extra points: As part of Winter Warm-Up, Vuch also hosted a one-hour session for the general public. Because of the length and potential for some duplication, I am not posting the audio from the public session here. Instead, I will single out additional comments. They come from my notes so are not exact quotes. Player-specific comments • Robert Stock: 2013 is his big year. First off-season to prepare as pitcher. • Adam Ehrlich: Offensive-oriented catcher. Had back issue two years ago. Improving defensively. Despite not playing full-season ball, he is under consideration for one of six catching NRI spots in spring camp. • Jay Voss: On Memphis roster. Rehabbing elbow after Tommy John. ETA is May. • Justin Christian: Could compete for a job with St. Louis. • John Gast: Of left-handed starters close to MLB, he projects most as a starting pitcher. Change-up is very good. Breaking pitch not as strong. • Tyler Lyons: Has a better breaking pitch. Could be reliever. • Kevin Siegrist: Has ¾ delivery, tough on left-handed hitters. Could be reliever. • Tim Cooney: 2012 draftee going to Peoria or maybe even Palm Beach. Like Gast, projects as starter. • Vance Albitz: Outstanding defensively so could play at any level. Likely in Springfield mix. • Mike O'Neill: Sleeper prospect last year. Working on his speed in off-season. Average MLB runner now. Probably starts at Springfield. General comments • Early MLB call-ups: You have to consider the player's age as well as his point in the development process. Would you rather have a player's age 21 season now or age 28 season later, when he is at the peak of his career? • Player progress: Coaches write player progress reports and share them with players. Organization scouts its own players. • Timing of releases: Doing releases more at end of season. Don't bring players to spring camp if not competitive. Give player more time to find new job elsewhere. • 2013 sleepers: Won't name them as every player has a chance or he would not be there. • Rule 5: Only protect those that they do not think would be retained if selected. • Peoria roster: Infield competition strong so there is no need to push players. Outfield not as strong, so 2013 draftees can better compete for jobs there. • Winter ball: Rarely discourage position players from participating. Winter crowds more robust than some minor league locales. Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter. © 2013 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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