Notebook has a look at the Cardinals' bench, plus some young Devil Rays and Blue Jays.
John Rodriguez is 27 and has had a very odd season. After an eight-year minor-league career playing in the system for his boyhood hero Yankees, the Bronx native hit the glass ceiling and signed with Cleveland as a minor-league free agent last November. His big spring (.320/.370/.760) opened some eyes, but the Tribe thought better of the limited sample size (25 at-bats) and he was reassigned to Buffalo. He struggled (.247/.323/.447, just five HR in 170 AB) there, but St. Louis must have liked something about him because player development director Bruce Manno crafted a small trade to get him. Rodriguez joined the Memphis Redbirds on June 9 and went Ruth on the Pacific Coast League: 17 HR in 120 AB; .342/.419/.808. A small window, to be sure, but for a team that's short a couple outfielders like St. Louis was and still is, you've got to catch the lightning in the bottle. Cards GM Walt Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he had seen Rodriguez play four games before promoting him, and that the Memphis staff recommended him highly.
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It's prospect time, and each of these teams has strong candidates for BP's Top 50 Prospects list.