Odds of St. Louis Cardinals' Top 5 Non-Roster Invitees Making the 2014 Roster

Corey Noles@@coreynolesCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2014

Odds of St. Louis Cardinals' Top 5 Non-Roster Invitees Making the 2014 Roster

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    With the Super Bowl now in the past and trucks already being shipped to Florida and Arizona filled with baseball gear, it’s time to officially start thinking about baseball season again.

    While spring training will be filled with all of the usual suspects—Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright to name a few—there will also be a number of new faces.

    On Jan. 21, 2014, the Cardinals announced a total of 18 non-roster invitees that would be joining the squad at its camp in Jupiter, Fla.

    Non-roster invitees can be either players already within the organization, or individuals outside the organization given a spring training invitation in an effort to allow them a chance to prove themselves to the front office. At that point, the hope would be to earn a major league contract.

    While the Cardinals have a number of full positions, they also have several positions where they could possibly bring in backup assistance. It’s likely an additional pitcher or two will make their way into the roster, and a backup fielder, whether infield or outfield, could also find themselves in the mix for a position.

    Will those lucky players be NRIs? The answer to that question can’t yet be known.

    For the sake of this piece, I selected who I believe to be the five NRIs with a chance at making the major league team. Following are their odds for making the 25-man active roster from spring training.

    Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and Fangraphs.com unless otherwise noted.

5. Patrick Wisdom, IF

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    Highest Level: A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals

    2013 Stats: .235/.313/.401, 15 HR, 73 RBI, 24 2B

    Patrick Wisdom, a 23-year-old third baseman drafted in 2012, has shown promise since leaving St. Mary’s College in California to find his home in professional baseball.

    While he is still new to the program, Wisdom was drafted higher than even he expected. He struggled a bit with the transition to professional baseball, but should find himself taking at least one more step up the organizational ladder this spring.

    As a result, odds are slim that he would make an impression significant enough to find himself on either the active or even the 40-man roster. In 2015, that story could quickly change.


4. Marco Gonzales, LHP

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    Highest Level: A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals

    2013 Stats: 2.70 ERA, 23.1 IP, 23 K, .212 BAA

    Marco Gonzales, a left-handed pitcher drafted by the Cardinals early in 2013, has the potential to be a selection with great upside.

    Gonzales pitched and played first base for Gonzaga University before joining the Cardinals.

    While he has never pitched above High-A ball, he’s shown promise at the level. Thanks to his college career, he has a leg up on some of the younger pitchers, but a roster spot out of spring training is still a longshot in 2014.

    There’s an off chance he could have an impact late in the season, but even the odds of that are slim.


3. Xavier Scruggs, IF

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    Highest Level: Double-A Springfield Cardinals

    2013 Stats: .248/.376/.487, 29 HR, 81 RBI, 11 SB

    While Xavier Scruggs has been a bit off the radar for many Cardinals fans, his invite to spring training is much deserved.

    His 2013 performance in Springfield showed the makings of a power hitter who could be of value to the big league club if there was a need either at first base or in right field.

    While that’s unlikely on Opening Day, Scruggs could be a legitimate possibility for the Cardinals if injuries became an issue or if Matt Adams struggles as an everyday player.


2. James Ramsey, RF

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    Ted Kirk/Associated Press

    Highest Level: Triple-A Memphis Redbirds

    2013 Stats: .265/.373/.440, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 9 SB

    James Ramsey, a first-round draft pick in 2012 chosen 23rd overall by the Cardinals, is a solid offensive outfielder ready to make an impact at the major league level.

    Despite the logjam at the position, Ramsey could possibly find a home as a bat off the bench. He doesn’t hit for high average but is capable of giving the Cardinals the late-inning bench power they needed so badly during the 2013 postseason.

    Given the current makeup of the Cardinals bench, there’s a good chance that they will be looking to add a bat before the season. There’s an off chance that Ramsey could be that guy.


1. Stephen Piscotty, OF

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Highest Level: Double-A Springfield Cardinals

    2013 Stats: .295/.355/.464, 15 HR, 59 RBI, 11 SB

    Stephen Piscotty might have started the Arizona Fall League as a relative unknown, but he sure didn’t finish it that way.

    He broke records all over the league and shifted his persona within the organization from an intriguing prospect to a player with great potential offensively.

    When the Cardinals go searching for a new bat off the bench, in all likelihood Stephen Piscotty will be the first place they look.