Cardinals add three prospects to 40-man roster, DFA Leone
ST. LOUIS — With Wednesday being the deadline for MLB teams to protect eligible players from next month’s Rule 5 Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals made four transactions. Third baseman Elehuris Montero and right-handed pitchers Alvaro Seijas and Jake Woodford were added to the 40-man roster, while right-hander Dominic Leone was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.
The 21-year-old Montero, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound third baseman, entered the 2019 season rated as the No. 5 prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America. In 2019, Montero played in only 63 games between Double-A Springfield and a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League due to a fracture in his hamate bone, batting .194 with seven home runs and 18 RBI. He represented the Cardinals in the Arizona Fall League playing 15 games for Glendale. Over the course of 360 career minor league games, Montero is batting .269 with 32 home runs and 192 RBIs. He was named 2018 Midwest League Player of the Year, earning midseason and postseason All-Star honors while leading the league with a .322 batting average and .529 slugging percentage to go with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs before earning a promotion to High-A Palm Beach to finish the season.
Seijas, 21, has a 3.81 ERA over four professional seasons in the Cardinals organization. During 2019, the Midwest League All-Star pitched for Class A Peoria and High-A Palm Beach, combining to go 8-6 with a 2.81 ERA that led all Cardinals full-season minor league pitchers while striking out 114 over 24 starts (134 1/3 innings). He was one of six Cardinals minor leaguers to throw a complete game and one of three to toss a shutout. Unranked among the top prospects by publications, Seijas made six scoreless starts that lasted five or more innings and ran off a 19-inning scoreless streak in Palm Beach from August 3-22.
The 23-year-old Woodford, the Cardinals’ 2015 supplemental first-round selection (39th overall) out of Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, posted a 4.15 ERA with 131 strikeouts in 26 starts for Triple-A Memphis in 2019. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander was a Pacific Coast League All-Star and was named PCL Pitcher of the Week for the June 17-23 period after throwing seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball in Memphis’ 5-0 win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers on June 22. Woodford, who entered the 2019 season rated as the No. 16 prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America, was invited as a non-roster player to the Cardinals’ major league spring training camp in 2019.
The 28-year-old Leone, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in a January 2018 trade for outfielder Randal Grichuk, posted a 5.15 ERA over two years in a Cardinals uniform, missing extended time in 2018 with nerve irritation in his pitching arm and then being optioned to Triple-A Memphis twice in 2019. He did end the ’19 campaign on a high note, posting a 2.77 ERA in 15 appearances after the All-Star break.