With eleven games remaining on the spring slate and the regular season opener about two weeks down the road, the Cardinals made their first roster changes earlier this week, reassigning fourteen players away from big-league camp.
Perhaps one of the team’s most exciting pitching prospects, right-hander Sandy Alcantara will start the year at High-A Palm Beach. Alcantara, who turned 21 years old in September, whiffed six batters in eight innings this spring and stood out with his high 90s (it even hit 100 MPH) heater.
In 23 games and starts last year, Alcantara punched out 153 in 122 2⁄3 innings and held his opposition to a collective .225 batting average. As Viva El Birdos’ ninth-ranked prospect, Alcantara will be fun to watch this summer.
Also reassigned was outfielder Magneuris Sierra, who, too, will be starting the year at Palm Beach. In 31 at-bats with the Cardinals this spring, the 20-year-old left-handed hitter batted .387 with three doubles and a pair of walks over fourteen spring contests.
Sierra is coming off a 2016 campaign that featured great improvement over a subpar 2015. Ranked as the fifteenth-best prospect by VEB, Sierra erased his previous struggles with a .307/.335/.395 slashline and 31 stolen bases in 122 games with Class-A Peoria.
Along with Alcantara and Sierra, pitchers Marco Gonzales, Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber, Ronnie Williams, Jordan Hicks, Robby Rowland, and Daniel Poncedeleon, infielders Eliezer Alvarez and Edmundo Sosa, and catchers Andrew Knizner, Jeremy Martinez, and Dennis Ortega have been reassigned to the minors.
After a rough, 16-2 rout in Port St. Lucie by the Mets on Friday, the Cardinals will host the same squad in Jupiter on Saturday and send right-hander Michael Wacha to the mound. In his last outing, Wacha, on the outskirts of an important 2017, went five innings of two-run ball against the Astros to lower his spring ERA to a pleasing mark of 1.38, the best on the club among those who have accumulated a minimum of ten innings.