The Cardinals announced Tuesday afternoon the players they will be sending to the Arizona Fall League (AFL), a post-season prospect league. The AFL is considered a showcase for top prospects for 2 reasons: teams can get a final look at players that need to be added to the 40-man roster in the off-season, and teams can show potential trade chips play against the best in the minors.
Current Cardinals Matt Adams, Tony Cruz, Dan Descalso, Sam Freeman, Matt Holliday, Lance Lynn, Tyler Lyons, Jason Motte, Shane Robinson, Kevin Siegrist, Oscar Taveras, Adam Wainwright, and Kolten Wong have all played in the league in the past. Albert Pujols, Troy Percival and Chris Carpenter have all been inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame, with Holliday joining as part of this year’s class.
The Cardinals will be aligned with the Peoria Javelinas, along with players from the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays.
Here are the Cardinal players for this season:
Mitch Harris, RHP – Harris was drafted out of the Naval Academy in 2008, but needed to serve a 5 year commitment before he could start his professional baseball career. Harris made it to Springfield’s bullpen this year and looks promising, but as a 28 year old in Double A, he’ll need to prove the Cardinals have something here before he’s too old.
Tyrell Jenkins, RHP – The former first round pick has not been able to put everything together yet. He’ll head to the AFL to get some extra innings in, since he started the season on the disabled list recovering from last season’s lat surgery; his shoulder looked better this season at Palm Beach (Hi A) and he’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter.
Chris Perry, RHP – The Cardinals’ Pitcher of the Month in May has had a pretty good season and will get to showcase his stuff in the AFL. The reliever, who came from Division III Methodist College, it looking to get some additional work in this season; he’s looking like he could end up in Springfield next year and the Cardinals are trying to push him.
Cody Stanley, C – Stanley shows the depth the Cardinals have at backup catcher. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster, which today has Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz, A.J. Pierzynski, and Audry Perez. Pierzynski won’t be back next year, so it comes down to two of Cruz, Perez, and Stanley to be the backup options for Yadi. Cruz brings nothing to the team, so the team might be better off using Perez as the backup and Stanley as the understudy in Memphis. Depending on what Stanley does, this could be the scenario for next year.
Charlie Tilson, OF – Tilson is one of the most promising outfielders in the system; he’s part of the reason the team was willing to part with James Ramsey. Like most of the list, he made it to Springfield, but struggles to hit for average in his first taste of Double A. He’s going to the AFL to get extra at bat; he’s missed quite a bit of time before this season, where he finally stayed healthy. Tilson will stick at centerfield defensively, and has the speed and contact ability to be a good lead off threat.
Sam Tuivailala, RHP – Tuilvailala was drafted as a shortstop and hasn’t been pitching full time for very long. He made it to Springfield this year as well, and like Harris, needs to prove that the Cardinals have something. Tuivailala throw his fastball at 100 MPH, but needs to work more on secondary pitches. He’s a solid prospect and could be a nice addition to the Cardinals bullpen in a year or 2.
Jacob Wilson, 2B – Wilson was drafted as a third baseman, but moved to second last season. He’s progressed through the system at a good pace, making it to Springfield this season. The problem is he’s blocked at second (Kolten Wong) and third (Matt Carpenter) for the foreseeable future. Wilson will be in the AFL as a trade showcase and to make up time he missed with a back injury.
The Cardinals are sending some talent to the league this year; only the Royals are bringing better prospects on the Javelinas.
The season starts October 7. Many games will be on MiLB.com’s audio-cast, while a few games do get televised on the MLB Network. It’s a good chance to see some of baseball’s next wave of stars play before they make it to the Majors.