The St. Louis Cardinals have made another pair of roster moves–optioning outfielder Magneuris Sierra to Palm Beach (A) and adding catcher Luis Cruz to their big league camp.
In 53 games at Springfield (AA) last season, Cruz hit .256 before finishing the season with a pair of games in Memphis (AAA). The 23-year old has been in the organization since 2011, when he played Rookie ball for the Cardinals in the Dominican Summer League.
Meanwhile the 20-year old Sierra made quite an impression this spring hitting .367 (12-31) in 14 games.
“That kid can play,” stated Mike Matheny recently. “His speed’s not going to take an off-day. He’s going to consistently–there’s still another level offensively for him to when he’s really understanding when he should be trying to swing to drive the ball. There’s some at-bats, he gets up there in a 2-0 count and looks like he’s trying to slap it. I think it’s just him getting confidence of knowing when to let it go because he can drive the ball. And then what at-bats he’s just going to try and use his speed and use the whole field. But just part of the growing process.”
After being named the Co-Minor League Player of the Year for the Cardinals in 2014, Sierra started the next season in Peoria but was sent to Johnson City after hitting just .191 for the Chiefs. He rebounded in with Johnson City, hitting .315 in 53 games.
Then last season, Sierra hit .307 and stole 31 bases as he spent the entire season with Peoria. Besides the offensive numbers, Sierra has also shown off his arm.
“A cannon,” praised Matheny. “He’s a pure joy to watch in the outfield, talk about smooth.”
For now, Sierra has been listed as being optioned to Palm Beach, but the assignments for minor league players can be changed at the end of their camp. And he’s earned at least one endorsement to play at a higher level.
“What he does defensively and the value he can bring to centerfield, and the speed he’s going to have every single day, and his hand-eye coordination, I’m sure there’s some teams that could use him I’m sure at some of the higher levels,” said Matheny.
“Just take the skill set, a kid like him, you can see how that would play at this level at some time in the not too far future.”
photo credit: STLBaseballWeekly.com; Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports