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Bird Watching: “Very interesting, indeed…”

UPDATE! It was pointed out that the depth chart available on the Cards’ website is most likely maintained by an MLB.com staffer and not the Cards’ organization (therefore making the “official” status of the chart not so “official). I should point out – of course that is true and known/suspected at the time of my post. The point of this post (below) was simply to discuss interesting points on the depth chart. Much of it (as I mention below) will change during Spring Training. Also, I noticed today that the “Last Updated” date changed to today’s date…yet nothing seems to have changed. In other words, we really have no idea when the depth chart was actually last changed. Of course, all of that being said…I still find the points below very interesting, indeed…

Upon creating my own depth chart (based on my wildly fantastic opinions), I thought to consult the official depth chart available on the official St. Louis Cardinals website (click the link at the end of this post). I was surprised to see a “Last Updated” date of today (January 13th, 2009)…along with some very interesting player names and positions to say the least. I’ve listed a few of those interesting player notes below. Take it all with a grain of salt…Spring Training hasn’t even started and the front office spin-job makes guessing games difficult at best. Enjoy!

  • Pete Kozma – The former number 1 draft pick for the Cardinals is listed as the backup shortstop to Kahlil Greene.
  • Tyler Greene – Greene reclaimed his “prospect” status last season and spent the offseason in Arizona Fall ball…but he appears to have lost a bit of traction. The young shortstop isn’t even listed on the Cards’ depth chart – an omission that suggests the infielder is Memphis bound.
  • Brendan Ryan – I know this was suspected, but this is the first hard evidence I’ve seen thus far. Ryan, who last year struggled and lost a bit of ground, seems to have clawed his way back up the chart. He’s listed as the back-up to Adam Kennedy at second base (and TLR has already gone on record as suggesting he’ll be allowed to compete for the starting job).
  • Chris Duncan – The recovering outfielder is no where to be found on the Cardinals’ depth chart. This is not surprising considering his injury status. Don’t read much into this…but it is interesting.
  • Brian Barton – We were forced to keep the kid on the roster last year, and many of us assumed he would start the year in Memphis for ’09, but according to the depth chart, Barton is scheduled to make the team as a backup corner outfielder. This, of course, hinges on Duncan and Rasmus.
  • Rick Ankiel – Ank is listed as the starting Left Fielder…NOT the starting Center Fielder. Ludwick is listed as the starter in Right.
  • Colby Rasmus – Although Skip Schumaker is listed as the starting Center Fielder, the presence of Rasmus as the second backup behind Luddy suggests the team expects Rasmus to make the squad out of Spring Training. If that happens, Rasmus won’t be a back up for long…if at all. He will quickly become the starting Center Fielder (based on talent and the club’s previous statements about Rasmus starting if he comes up to keep his at-bats totals regular). It looks like (barring trade/injury) the outfield will be Ank, Luddy, and Raz.
  • Bryan Anderson – The young left-handed catcher is on the depth chart behind LaRue as the Cardinals’ third catcher…almost assuring the young catcher a debut in St. Louis in ’09 (even if we have to wait until September). Of course, Anderson could be traded…but his status has recently been downgraded in the trade market due to lesser power at the plate and questions about his defense. This could be the primary reason he is listed as half a step away from the Bigs…to up his perceived trade value.
  • Brian Barden – The natural third-baseman turned shortstop in Memphis is listed as Troy Glaus’ backup at the hot corner. Given Kozma’s inexperience and youth at this point, Ryan’s backup second baseman status, and Barden’s ability to play multiple infield positions, we could very well see Barden and Ryan as the backup infielders this season.
  • Joe Mather – Joey “Bombs” is nowhere to be seen on the depth chart…despite Pujols having no listed backup at first and early reports on the Post Dispatch about Mather’s possible status as a backup infielder (3rd and 1st base). Interesting…this should play out in Spring Training…
  • Chris Perez – Perez is officially listed as the closer on the Cardinals’ depth chart. Jason Motte, on the other hand, is still given the green prospect status. Perez is also listed twice…possibly holding a spot for a lefty…
  • Trevor Miller – Not listed. It’s likely Miller will make the team, but as of now, the Cards aren’t handing anyone a spot on the left side of the ‘pen.
  • Chris Carpenter – GAH! He’s not listed on the starting pitcher depth chart…but he IS listed in the bullpen. I’m sure this is simply due to his uncertain status – and the fact that he is holding a spot for a second lefty reliever – but I still don’t like it.

All in all…very interesting. Of course, Spring Training will change much of what we see here, but the “official” listings as of whatever updates were posted today are certainly interesting…very interesting, indeed.

Go Cards!



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