The hot stove is burning now, baby!
As we’ve seen with lefty relievers, the Cards seem content to bring as many middling middle infielders to spring training and let themselves sort themselves out as to who will be the new utility infielder. Seems redundant, but Thurston is kinda interesting, I suppose, for a quad A guy. He was a top ten prospect in the Dodger system between ’01-’03 and their organizational player of the year twice in a row. He was thought to be Mark Gruzielanek’s heir to the keystone, but apparently did not play well enough to convince the Dodgers to start him over Alex Cora. He’s wandered the wilderness of AAA ever since, but has put together a couple of nice seasons in a row, and hit for a .365 wOBA last season for Pawtucket. The scouting reports I’ve seen digging around in BA’s archive all note he’s a pretty solid defensive player back in his prospect days, and BP’s Fielding Runs Above Average metric has his defense a +19 last season, higher than any player in the International League.
Digging around the web, he also seems to pass the TLR litmus test with flying colors-
- Good clubhouse guy
- Outstanding makeup and work ethic
- “off the charts” instincts.
- And of course, he’s now a veteran.
Knoedler looks like he’s pulled a reverse Motte, as he struck out 38 batters in 29 innings as a 20 year old, but was moved off the bump to behind the plate to fulfill his destiny as a journeyman catcher. He actually hit a little bit last year, posting a .816 OPS for AAA for Fresno, but his OPS dropped .200 points this past season at Sacramento. 23 of his 38 hits went for extra bases, which is pretty weird. It looks like he still has an arm, nabbing 23 of 52 base stealers this past season. I’d like to see him throw a few innings for Memphis, just for fun.