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Matt Adams, 1B
In his first season in Double-A with the Cardinals in 2011, Adams, a physically strong left-handed hitter, batted .300/.357/.566 with 32 home runs in 115 games.
The 24-year-old followed his monster campaign by posting a .986 OPS with 18 home runs in 67 games for Triple-A Memphis last season before ultimately receiving a promotion to the major leagues. Seeing occasional playing time with Cardinals, Adams batted .244/.286/.384 with two home runs in 27 games before season-ending surgery was required to remove bone chips in his throwing elbow.
Finally healthy, the 24-year-old has posted an .899 OPS this spring with three bombs. He appears to have secured a spot on the Cardinals’ 25-man roster, albeit on the bench.
Projected Opening Day Role: Bench/pinch-hitter
Shelby Miller, RHP
Miller entered spring training as one of three in-house candidates vying for the final spot in the Cardinals' starting rotation after a strong showing in the major leagues as a September call-up. Although he’s been up-and-down this spring, the 22-year-old right-hander has pitched well overall, highlighted by a one-hitter over four innings in his latest start against the Marlins.
Considering Joe Kelly’s struggles and the fact that the organization has already relegated Trevor Rosenthal to the bullpen, Miller is poised to break camp as Cardinals’ fifth starter.
Projected Opening Day Role: Fifth starter
Trevor Rosenthal, RHP
Although he hasn’t come with the hype of Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal has the chance to be every bit as good.
The 22-year-old entered camp in competition for the final spot in the team’s starting rotation after dominating out of the bullpen during the second half of the 2012 season—especially during both the NLDS and NLCS, when he was virtually unhittable.
However, after some early struggles, the organization recently decided to move him back to the bullpen. Since then, the hard-throwing right-hander has resumed his domination of opposing hitters, as he’s allowed only one baserunner with seven strikeouts over his last 5.1 frames.
Rosenthal will likely serve as the Cardinals' seventh- or eighth-inning option this season. But expect him to receive his share of save opportunities when Jason Motte needs a day off.
Projected Opening Day Role: Late-inning reliever/occasional closer