Happy President’s Day

Probably not much to it, but it seems LaRussa and Duncan disagreed about how the contest for the rotation spots should be handled.  Duncan believes there are front runners and LaRussa is more reluctant to make that judgement this early on.   

Derrick Gould,  in his blog today, talks about Chris Carpenter working on his change up during the pitcher’s first sessions to live batters.  “Before his surgeries to his right arm, Carpenter said he sported a quality changeup that may have been his second-best pitch. It certainly was a go-to pitch for him. Since coming to the Cardinals and rehabbing his arm, he’s lost his feel for it. He’s toyed with different drips, tried to work it out in bullpens and never felt as confident in it as he once did.

The first hitter in the box for the Cardinals?  None other than Slicky Ricky, Rick Ankiel.  Also of note, Brad Thompson was supposed to be really sharp and pretty nasty.  Duncan says, “Pitchers can only catch eyes this early in camp, not avert them.”

Goold also had an article about minor leaguer Troy Cate.  A reliever for the Cardinals last year, he went to the Mexican Winter League and really put up impressive numbers as a starter.  Impressive enough to be one of the canidates for the rotation, although an outside one.  He seems like a guy who messed up, but is truly sorry for what he did.  Baseball America put him on its best prospects that did not make the book.  Here is what they had to say:  Cate broke into pro ball by finishing second in the short-season Northwest League ERA in 2002. He spent his first full pro season in high Class A but had trouble making the jump to Double-A in 2004. Things got worse in 2005, when he drew a 15-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and he admitted that he tested positive for anabolic steroids. Released by the Mariners after that season, he signed with the Cardinals and rebounded in 2006. Cate posted a 1.27 ERA while limiting opponents to a .127 average, conquered Double-A after an August promotion and earned a spot on St. Louis’ 40-man roster. He’s far from overpowering, as his fastball tops out at 90 mph, but he has good movement on his sinker and throws strikes with four pitches. Besides using two- and four-seam fastballs, he also has a curveball and changeup. While he projects as no more than a reliever, Cate handled lefthanders and righthanders last year and may be more than a situational guy. At 26 he’s older than most prospects, but he could contribute to the Cardinals in the near future.

For the second year in a row Rotoworld names former Cardinal farmhand Daric Barton as the Oakland A’s top prospect.  I only mention this because Baseball America had named Travis Buck as the A’s top prospect.  Check out the rest of the AL West here.

On the college front, for the third week in a row we have a new Number 1.  North Carolina, last year’s runner up, demolished Seton Hall over the weekend to move ahead of Clemson. 

Southeast could not finish off the sweep of Jackson State losing 12-10 on Sunday.  The Redhawks gave up nine runs combined in the seventh and eight.  On a brighter note, Sophomore first baseman Matt Wagnerhas been named the first OVC Player of the Week for the 2007 baseball season. He recorded at least one hit in each game of the three-game series at Jackson State last weekend and recorded five runs batted in.

SIU had a pretty good weekend at the Southern Missippi Coca-Cola Classic.  They lost the first game to the host,  but downed Northwestern State 3-2 in game two.  To finish off the weekend, the Salukis used two 2 out hits in the top of the 13th to beat Louisville 4-3. 

On the prospect front, blue chipper David Price was very impressive in the final game of Vanderbilt’s sweep of Ohio University.  The junior left-hander went 6 1/3 innings,  allowing one run on 3 hits, striking out 12 and walking none.  At one point he retired 16 in a row, eleven of those by strikeout.

Some more really good pitching performances over the weekend.  Check out Baseball America’s College Blog.

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