The Cardinals are shuffling the deck again down in the minors. This round of shuffling revolves mostly around pitchers and it is not done yet.
Ryan Sherriff was the first card to fall as it was announced early Friday morning that he was headed to Double-A Springfield from Palm Beach. Sherriff, the Cardinals 28th round pick in 2011, was 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 2 starts. Sherriff missed the first month of the season with an injury. In 2012, Sherriff was with Palm Beach and compiled a 10-3 record with a 3.25 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 97 innings. To fill Sherriff spot, the Cardinals transferred Juan Bautista from Extended Spring to Palm Beach. Bautista, 19, pitched with the Rookie level Johnson City Cardinals in 2012. An international signee out of the Dominican, Bautista made 11 starts and had a 2-5 record with a 5.60 ERA. Bautista was roughed up in his first Palm Beach start on Thursday night. I don’t believe Bautista will be with Palm Beach long.
The Springfield Cardinals made a couple of moves as well on Friday. Thomas Pham was activated from the 7-day DL. Pham, who was not in the lineup on Friday night, has been out of action since May 12th. Hopefully Pham will be able to continue the hot start to his season. Pham has a .314 average with 6 home runs, 26 runs batted in, 6 triples, and 4 stolen bases and was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month for April.
The Springfield Cardinals also lost a couple of key pitchers to Memphis. Lefty Kevin Siegrist and righty Richard Castillo were promoted on Friday. Castillo, who pitched for Spain in this year’s World Baseball Classic, was 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 9 starts. Castillo is also an international signee, out of Venezuela and has been in the Cardinals organization since 2007. Siegrist has been a strikeout machine this year for Springfield. In his first full year in the bullpen, Siegrist has struck out 35 batters in 20 innings and has a 2.25 ERA with a miniscule 0.75 WHIP. Siegrist is on the St. Louis Cardinals’ 40-man roster and I believe could see time in St. Louis late this season.
To make room for Siegrist and Castillo, the Cardinals released MLB veterans J.R. Towles and Barret Browning. Towles, who has 428 MLB at-bats, was hitting .237 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI’s. It is unclear if he asked for his release, but the Redbirds have 2 other catchers on the roster, Rob Johnson and Travis Tartamella. Browning, who has 19 MLB innings, was 1-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 19.2 innings this year for Memphis. I believe the pitching of Siegrist led to the dismissal of Browning, another lefty.
There should still be a couple of moves to be made as Springfield is short-handed in the bullpen. The Cardinals are down 1 or 2 pitchers and Nick Greenwood will be making a spot start on Saturday. Let’s take a look at some possible options for Springfield:
Lee Stoppelman – Stoppelman impressed last year with short-season Batavia and he is impressing this year with Palm Beach. His strikeouts are down but he could fill in for Siegrist as a lefty. It may be too early to be thinking Double-A for Stoppelman, but I think this is the most possible solution.
Ronnie Shaban – This is a stretch to me, but Shaban has a 0.48 ERA in 18+ innings for Palm Beach. Like Stoppelman, the strikeout numbers are down.
Dean Kiekhefer – Kiekhefer started the year at Springfield but was sent down when Tim Cooney made his way up. He is on the DL but could be activated and promoted. This also seems unlikely but we have to include him since he started there.
Zachary Petrick – This may be the longest shot out there, but he is intriguing. Petrick is currently with Peoria, so he would be making the Low-A to Double-A jump that has recently been accomplished by Kolten Wong, Oscar Taveras, and Trevor Rosenthal. Petrick is not their category of prospect but is having a remarkable season. Petrick is 1-0 with a 0.92 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 29 innings.
I’m sure I am missing some including the probable replacement, but there is a couple who could be looked at.
If any more roster moves are made on Saturday, I will update this post again.
Update – Saturday 2:08 PM EST - Lee Stoppelman has been promoted to Double-A Springfield. Stoppelman, a 24th round pick last year, began his professional career at short season Batavia and has pitched at High-A Palm Beach this year. Stoppelman is 4-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 58.1 professional innings. Double-A should be his first real challenge.