Cardinals Spring Training Tracker: Which players are getting opportunities as opening day nears?

Joel Auerbach

The opportunity tracker is a recurring series in which we check in to see which players the Cardinals are giving plate appearances and innings pitched in an attempt to discern who will round out the 25-man roster come opening day.

Veb_-_jupiter_opportunity_tracker

It's March 18. The Cardinals have nine Florida exhibition games remaining and one in Memphis against the Triple-A Redbirds. Opening day is less than two weeks away. Which players are the Cardinals giving spring opportunities to as the regular season takes shape on the horizon?

The Cards have reassigned quite a few players from major-league to minor-league camp of late. As a result, the players who are all but certain to make the opening-day MLB roster and those with a legitimate shot at being one of the final 25 Cardinals at the close of spring are receiving a larger share of the opportunities.

The Final Bench Spot

The fight for the last bench spot has become interesting. While we've viewed this as a contest between Shane Robinson and Pete Kozma, the Cardinals aren't giving them as many opportunities as right-handed minor-leaguers Randal Grichuk, Xavier Scruggs, and Stephen Piscotty. The organization made rumblings earlier this spring about Grichuk having a shot to make the big-league roster as the last bench bat and Scruggs is providing some righthanded pop of his own. Grichuk is on the 40-man roster at present while Scruggs is not. And it seems like a stronger possibility with each passing game that either might unseat both Kozma and Robinson for that last MLB bench spot in the role they signed WIG to fill one a year ago (and will pay him not to fill this season). Top-prospect Piscotty, on the other hand, might very well be destined for St. Louis, just not on opening day this year.

Spring Training PA Tracker (thru 3/17)

Player

PA

G

H

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Kolten Wong

37

12

13

.394

.459

.727

1.187

Jon Jay

36

11

6

.176

.222

.206

.428

Randal Grichuk

35

13

8

.267

.343

.467

.810

Matt Adams

33

12

9

.281

.303

.406

.709

Xavier Scruggs

33

15

6

.250

.455

.500

.955

Stephen Piscotty

32

16

9

.346

.438

.615

1.053

Allen Craig

30

10

11

.379

.400

.483

.883

Jhonny Peralta

30

10

7

.233

.233

.500

.733

Daniel Descalso

29

10

10

.370

.414

.444

.858

Yadier Molina

29

10

8

.308

.379

.346

.725

Scott Moore

28

16

6

.231

.286

.462

.747

Matt Carpenter

27

9

6

.261

.370

.348

.718

Matt Holliday

27

10

9

.391

.444

.522

.966

Pete Komza

27

12

6

.231

.259

.308

.567

Shane Robinson

27

12

8

.308

.333

.346

.679

Peter Bourjos

24

8

6

.300

.364

.400

.764

Tony Cruz

21

7

3

.150

.190

.150

.340

Mark Ellis

21

8

6

.300

.333

.300

.633

Joey Butler

19

10

4

.235

.316

.294

.610

Greg Garcia

17

13

5

.385

.529

.385

.914

Luis Mateo

14

11

4

.286

.286

.357

.643


The Two Bullpen Spots

As with the bench, the bullpen derby is heating up. The Cardinals have relegated a handful of would-be relievers to minor-league camp. All that currently remain are:

It's becoming increasingly likely that manager Mike Matheny selects the ROOGY Neshek to pair with his LOOGY of choice Randy Choate in the less-than-one-inning-per-appearance category of relievers. With such limited skill sets occupying two of the seven relief corps slots, the final spot becomes all the more interesting. It seems unlikely that the club would carry three lefties, yet it's apparently grooming Lyons for relief work. If Matheny selects a righty to round out the pen, the contest appears to be between Butler and Rondon (at least, going by IP).

Spring Training IP Tracker (thru 3/17)

Player

IP

TBF

K

K%

BB

BB%

ERA

Carlos Martinez

10.0

36

5

13.9%

2

5.6%

1.80

Adam Wainwright

9.2

37

5

13.5%

1

2.7%

3.72

Joe Kelly

9.1

45

6

13.3%

4

8.9%

7.71

Shelby Miller

8.2

38

9

23.7%

3

7.9%

6.23

Michael Wacha

8.1

33

9

27.3%

3

9.1%

1.08

Tyler Lyons

8.0

42

6

14.3%

4

9.5%

14.63

Seth Maness

7.2

39

7

17.9%

3

7.7%

9.39

Keith Butler

7.1

38

5

13.2%

5

13.2%

9.82

Lance Lynn

7.1

32

14

43.8%

1

3.2%

6.14

Jorge Rondon

6.1

27

6

22.2%

2

7.4%

0.00

Pat Neshek

6.0

24

7

29.2%

1

4.2%

3.00

Randy Choate

5.2

20

6

30.0%

2

10.0%

0.00

Sam Freeman

5.2

25

6

24.0%

3

12.0%

3.18

Trevor Rosenthal

5.0

18

5

27.8%

3

16.7%

1.80

Kevin Siegrist

5.0

21

5

23.8%

2

9.5%

1.80

Scott McGregor

2.0

10

1

10.0%

1

10.0%

9.00

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly stated Scruggs is on the Cardinals 40-man roster. Scruggs is not currently on the Cardinals 40-man roster.

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