After the trade deadline passes each Major League Baseball season, the most common way for a team to add a spark to their club is through the roster expansion on the first of September. The September call ups expand the big league rosters to 40 players. For a team like the St. Louis Cardinals, who have a lauded minor league system, this expansion of the roster can add a number of very talented young players. It was just last year when Pete Kozma and Shelby Miller provided a spark and helped the Cards come within one game from the World Series. With September approaching, here is a look at some of the possible additions to the Cardinals.
The unique thing about the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals is that most of their valuable minor leaguers have been called up to the majors at some point already. The Cards’ highest ranked prospect, outfielder Oscar Taveras, has been sidelined with an injury in AAA, and will not play again in 2013. The franchise’s other prized prospect, second baseman Kolten Wong, was called up a few weeks ago to add to the Cardinals’ offense, but he has struggled thus far. Others to be called up will likely include shortstop Ryan Jackson, Jermaine Curtis, Brock Peterson, and outfielder Adron Chambers.
Chambers is especially intriguing as he has been in the middle of critical late-season and postseason games in each of the last two years, and has already made his mark this year in an earlier series against the Pirates. Chambers and Wong could both bring an element of speed on the base paths that the Cardinals’ regular 25-man roster does not have. The athletic Jackson could help as well, as there is an opportunity at short with Kozma struggling.
The pitchers who will fill out the 40 man roster also include a number of players who have already seen big league action this year. Relievers Michael Blazek, Keith Butler, and lefty Sam Freeman have all had positive moments for the Cardinals this year and will be expected to help the cause in September. Fruitless reliever Fernando Salas could give the team a boost if he returned to his 2011 form. Reliever Victor Marte also has experience to fall back on. Left-handed starter Tyler Lyons has been shuffled back and forth from the minors to the majors this year, and he could be a huge help in the rotation as the Cardinals continue to look for a fifth starter.
A pair of 25-year-old prospects could add to the bullpen as well. Jorge Rondon and Eric Fornataro have both shown promise in the minors this year. If either can summon the confidence and consistency required to make an impact at the big league level, they could become an asset because opposing clubs will not have completely comprehensive scouting on them due to their obscurity.
The Cardinals have room to add two more to their 40 man roster before the end of the month if they think a certain player can help the big league club. Mike O’Neill, a small outfielder who has been an on-base machine this year in both AA and AAA, is a possibility. Outfielder Jamie Romak has a powerful bat from the right side and may also be seen as a useful addition.