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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Candidates to replace Taveras in the Futures Game

In an earlier article, I considered why the St. Louis Cardinals may have chosen as their 2013 All-Star Futures Game representatives second baseman Kolten Wong (US squad) and Oscar Taveras (World).

With Taveras battling an high ankle sprain that has been lingering for a month, it leads to the question – who might replace Oscar if he cannot play?

One would assume the Cardinals would get the first choice as in 2008 when then-Double-A reliever Fernando Salas replaced left-hander Jaime Garcia on the World squad when the latter was called up to St. Louis.

While the Cardinals drafting and player development have received heaping amounts of praise from outsiders, could the current prominence of Taveras and Carlos Martinez be masking an area of weakness?

Who is the next-best international player in the system behind those two?

A number of such once-highly-touted players have either fizzled out or have been given up on in recent years. In fact, relievers Francisco Samuel (2009 Futures Game) and Eduardo Sanchez (2010 Futures Game) immediately come to mind.  The former was released during spring training 2012 and the latter was recently claimed off outright waivers by the Chicago Cubs.

Though he never appeared in the Futures Game, second baseman Donovan Solano was once one of the most prominent middle infield prospects in the Cardinals system. However, when it came time to place Solano on the 40-man roster, the Cards let him walk away as a free agent instead. Solano had been the starting second baseman for the Miami Marlins for much of 2012 and is currently in Triple-A.

So, who remains?

Putting aside Salas, who was on the upswing when he played in the Futures Game five years ago, and 32-year-old Victor Marte, the Memphis Redbirds have just one other candidate. 40-man roster pitcher Jorge Rondon seems on the Samuel/Sanchez career path – a hard-thrower unable to consistently throw strikes. (30 walks in 35 2/3 innings this season)

The Springfield roster features two pitching candidates – Haitian reliever Jose Almarante and Venezuelan pitcher Richard Castillo. With a 5.25 ERA this season, Almarante lacks the success of Castillo, who has participated in international competitions for Spain.

Yet short of a brief trial at Memphis earlier this season, Castillo has been stalled at Springfield for almost four seasons. Further, in his most recent start on Wednesday night, Castillo was pounded for 10 runs in just 2 2/3 innings, inflating his Springfield ERA from 2.93 to 4.28.

On the position player side, the Double-A Cards feature a former major leaguer playing below level in 30-year-old Ruben Gotay, reserve middle infielder Luis Mateo and struggling catcher Audry Perez.

At Palm Beach, second baseman Starlin Rodriguez would have been a good candidate had he not just been demoted from Springfield. Catcher Juan Castillo and shortstop Ronny Gil are other World potentials, but not 2013 standouts.

Perhaps the two best A-Advanced candidates would be outfielder Anthony Garcia and first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez. The latter is a 2013 Florida State League All-Star while the former has been ranked among the better hitting prospects in the system before hitting a bump in performance in the first half. Garcia has been coming on lately, however, with a 1.392 OPS in June.

Faced with making the decision, my top candidates in priority order to replace Taveras (after Martinez) would be Richard Castillo, Garcia than Rodriguez.

What do you think?

Who would you select if a Taveras replacement is needed?

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15 Responses to “Candidates to replace Taveras in the Futures Game”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Great job by Joe Kelly last night. Helps him prepare to become 5th starter.

    Nice to see the lineup juggle, Molina batting second.

    Too much Bartolo Colon last night, all 265 pounds or more of him. He is having a great year and has reestablishing a career once on the rocks. Fascinating how doctors, trainers, and molecules have brought him back.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Way too much of Wainwright and Big Matt today for the As. The Slippery Rock Slammer struck twice.
      Nice to see Matheny put Descalso at SS. He drove in first run and got the game headed in the right direction.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    After our fizzle at home against the Rangers, its good to attack the As in their park with a 3 run first. Matheny is pulling out all the stops for this game, unearthing Old Wiggy against a left hander. We will have to hope the fate of this game will NOT hinge on Wiggy’s wet noodle bat.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    So what can Mo do to strengthen the team for the second half? There is one obvious crowd pleaser. Replace Old Wiggy with Jackson. Its time for a three player platoon at SS: Kozma, Descalso, and Jackson.
    The starting pitching is a concern, with Westbrook looking iffy. We have Carlos Martinez, Wacha, and Tyler Lyons at AAA. It would be nifty if Chris Carpenter could crank it up for one glorious finale.
    If Oscar could get healthy, he could give competition to Jon Jay, who is having an off year.

    Mo will be looking to orchestrate a trade. We could use a veteran starter and a vet right reliever.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Poo poo Jumbo…………by what definition can you use the name surplus now? ………… Molina is fine under certain conditions………… The 2 slot was a joke for his speed……….. now he is styling so hard….. he isn’t even in it………. if they let him hit 2nd against the Angels……. he will be consumed by AP who will steal his Mojo………….. Love the A’s hitting approach……… Westbrooke has been using so much body, to protect his elbow, his game is coming apart………….he had too much sink to control today…..
      Chris is finished ………….. Jay if feeling threatened….. ad Pete K. to that list……… Bottom line, DeWitt is going to use enough EGG to get rid of Wiggy……….question is, he getting any thing in return? The two independents…. Mcarp and CB are loving life…….. David Freese is trapped in his own agenda …………………… Molina’s body language is so bad, you might think he was going home to Albert……… You may not like this………….but MM’s methods are costing us right now…………..

  4. Bw52 says:

    Jeez………………………and all this time I thought it was the Cards having a bad stretch and the Pirates playing very well.

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    The Bernie articles are absolute crap …………………….. Bernie, I know you read here…….what is it that you think Pujols was telling DeWitt on the phone in the end……… “come on Billy, your killing me here, you said lets see what the market is. Well we did. It just a measly 20 million to the median. Common baby, I’m worth it.”……………………………. Do you know what his condition was for resigning for the 200million???……………….. Lets put it this way……..if Tony would have announced some indecision about his retirement……….the whole sequence of events would have been dramatically changed…..endangering the smooth transition of AP to his new home…….if at any time AP would have said, “I’ll take the 5/135″ DeWitt would have been forced to “start cutting some head”……he never had too. Pujols went quietly. TLR’s picture was on wall in record time……..him being paid by MLB….Dave by the Cardinal partners……….. I didn’t like TLR……I absolutely didn’t like AP……… but your entire story is BS……….. The Fox contract with the Angels was still unfinished during those negotiations………… The very conservative Arte Moreno spent no money that wasn’t earmarked for that task ………. Dan Lozano called CB after the WS concluded, with a opportunity to play in St Louis……he fired Boras Nov. 1 2011 ……….. give that some though……. Billy put that idea in his head?
    He made 4% on the 26 plus the 240……… Danny is a straight up guy……..

    • Brian Walton says:

      Bernie has his own message board. Better to take your discussion there.

    • blingboy says:

      I just considered Bernie’s articles nicely done Pujols themed filler. The sort of stuff the P-D would want the sports guys to churn out for the occassion. I doubt he ever expected anybody to pour over it with a fine tooth comb. You might say it was about making a living, not about baseball.

      The notion that, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, what we know about the goings on is essentially all there was is preposterous, IMO. But you don’t get into that kind of stuff in a puff piece.

      I bet Bernie likes to read Brian’s articles, who wouldn’t, but I doubt he looks at comments much, if at all. If he does though, he has a thick skin. He’s one to cancel his twitter account in a huff because social media isn’t all nice and straight up . . . . like mega-contract negotiations.

      • blingboy says:

        edit: he’s not one to cancel

      • crdswmn says:

        Bernie writes whatever he thinks the prevailing winds dictate—-he’s an opportunist. And he isn’t above shading the truth if he thinks it will get him something he wants. I’m not a fan. But I will take him any day over Strauss.

        I generally will read Goold or Hummel, that’s it. Bernie I will read if it’s a subject I am interested in, but I read it with a jaundiced eye-always. Strauss I wouldn’t give the page views if you held a gun to my head.

  6. Brian Walton says:

    Here is one for you, WC. BHSC is suing Lozano for $40 MM for taking his clients (including Albert) away from the firm.

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