The Cardinals are part of the Surprise Saguaros this season in the Arizona Fall League. The League consists of six teams and each team consists of players from five Major League clubs. Besides the Cardinals, the Surpise Saguaros will also have representatives from the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets and Texas Rangers. The Rangers and Royals in particular have excellent farm systems with the Royals having, arguably, the top overall system in baseball.
Each team can send around six players. Certain players are designated as everyday players by their team meaning that they'll have priority to start on a day in day out basis. This year, the Cardinals have seven representatives of the 34 players currently listed on the roster:
- Seth Blair, RHP
- Sam Freeman, LHP
- Kevin Siegrist, LHP
- Boone Whiting, RHP
- Cody Stanley, C
- Kolten Wong, 2B
- Mike O'Neill, OF
Colin Walsh was previously announced as part of the AFL contingent but he does not appear on the website roster as of this time. To read more about the Cardinals representatives, click here. Here are some noteworthy players from the other MLB clubs.
Cesar Puello, OF, New York Mets
An athletic Domincan who is still working to put it all together despite being signed in 2008. He's only 21 so there's still time on the aging curve. Puello's calling card is power but his questionable plate approach limits his eventual upside. He's a good enough defender to spend time in centerfield but isn't destined for that position long term.
Bryce Brentz, OF, Boston Red Sox
Brentz is a 2010 draftee in the first supplemental round. He's an undersized outfielder with good bat speed that translates to unexpected power. Brentz is likely slated for Boston's AAA affiliate Pawtucket in 2012.
J.C. Sulbaran, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Part of the Jonathan Broxton package received from the Reds, Sulbaran has strikeout stuff; he's punched out more batters than innings pitched every season dating back to 2009. The Achilles heel is command as his mechanics don't lend them selves to repeatability and, as a result, his walk rate can become excessive. Sulbaran is a three pitch pitcher who can touch the mid 90s with his fastball.
Hanser Alberto, SS, Texas Rangers
A young Dominican who won't turn 20 until October 17th, Alberto was having a breakout season in with Texas' Low A affiliate, the Hickory Crawdads. Showing the ability to hit for average (.337) with enough power (.126 ISO) to make things interesting, Alberto was promoted mid-season to High-A where he struggled to adjust. He's got enough glove to stick in the middle infield long term.
Despite having two of the best farm systems in the league, it's hard to argue that either Kansas City or Texas is sending premier prospects. Sulbaran may crack top 10 for Kansas City; he was a top 10 prospect entering the season for the Cincinnati Reds. Of all the prospects on the surprise, Kolten Wong is likely to be the highest ranked player on national lists despite an underwhelming season at Springfield.
The Cardinals will be using the AFL this year primarily to give additional time to individuals who had shortened seasons. Seth Blair, Boone Whiting and Cody Stanley all will look to accumulate additional time after missing portions of the seasons.