photo: Harrison Bader (Memphis Redbirds)
As Major League rosters expand beyond 25 on September 1, the St. Louis Cardinals began with five additions and one removal from the 40-man roster.
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Friday) that they have promoted five players from their minor league system, as Major League Baseball rosters are allowed to expand up to 40 players beginning today.
The Cardinals today announced that they have purchased the contract of rookie right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty from Memphis (AAA) and that he will start tonight’s game in San Francisco. The Redbirds also announced that they have purchased the contract of rookie right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcántara from Springfield (AA) and the contract of catcher Alberto Rosario from Memphis. In addition, infielder Alex Mejia and outfielder Harrison Bader have been recalled from Memphis.
The Cardinals also announced that left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin has been outrighted off of the team’s 40-man roster, creating space for today’s additions.
JACK FLAHERTY #32 – RHP: The Cardinals first round pick (34th overall) in the 2014 amateur draft out of Harvard-Westlake High School (Calif.) will become the 14th youngest Cardinals pitcher to make his Major League debut as a starter (21-years, 320 days) and the youngest since Rick Ankiel (20 years-35 days) did so at Montreal on Aug. 23, 1999. He is the fourth Cardinals pitcher to make his Major League debut this season and the first Cardinals pitcher since Kurt Kepshire (1984) to debut as a starter in San Francisco.
The 6-4, 225-pound right-hander was 14-4 with a 2.18 ERA over 25 starts between Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA) this season. He struck out 147 batters in 148.2 innings with a 1.04 WHIP, allowing only 12 home runs and posted identical 7-2 records in both Springfield and Memphis. He’s leading all Cardinals minor league pitchers in wins, ERA and strikeouts, something no Cardinals’ minor league pitcher has done since Ankiel in 1999.
Flaherty’s 14 wins rank T-3rd among all minor league pitchers in 2017 and he’s the first Cardinals’ minor league right-handed pitcher to record 14 wins in a season since Seth Maness did so in 2012. His 2.18 ERA ranks 12th among minor league full-season pitchers, while his 1.04 WHIP ranks 18th.
Flaherty was selected to pitch in the Futures Game at the 2017 MLB All-Star Game in Miami and pitched the 6th inning for the USA Team. He was recognized as a Texas League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star while earning Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month and Texas League Pitcher of the Month honors in April. He is a high school teammate of current Major League pitchers Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox and Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves.
SANDY ALCÁNTARA #56 – RHP: Pronounced al-CAHN-ta-rah…the 6-5, 185-pound 21-year-old is a native of San Juan De La Maguana, Dominican Republic…was an international free-agent signing by the Cardinals on July 2, 2013…he was 7-5 with 4.31 ERA in 25 games (22 starts) for Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League (AA) this season– his first season at double-A… moved into relief role for the S-Cards on Aug. 23 and has struck out 5 in 4.0 innings pitched in three appearances out of the bullpen…ranks among Texas League leaders in innings pitched (125.1-12th), strikeouts (106-9th) and WHIP (1.43-14th)…was 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA in six appearances (3 starts) in August, striking out 23 in 21.0 innings pitched…he ranked 5th among all Class-A level pitchers in strikeouts (153) last season in 23 starts between Peoria and Palm Beach.
ALBERTO ROSARIO #68 – C: Is a veteran of nine seasons in the minors…the 30-year-old Dominican native joined the Cardinals organization for the 2015 season after stints in the Angels, Red Sox and Dodgers systems…made his Major League debut with the Cardinals on July 9, 2016 after 709 games in the minors…has appeared in 20 Major League games (started eight), batting .184 (7-for-38) with 2 RBI…collected his first M.L hit as a pinch-hitter on July 9, 2016 at Milwaukee…was batting .247 in 50 games for Memphis (AAA) this season, including .288 mark in August & .310 with runners in scoring position…has thrown out 4 of 12 attempted base-stealers (33 pct.) at the Major League level & 302 of 746 (40 pct.) in the minors.
ALEX MEJIA #54 – INF: Right-handed hitting infielder is being promoted for his second stint with the Cardinals this season…has played at three levels this year (AA, AAA, MLB)…the 26-year-old Sylmar, Calif. native was the Cardinals 4th round draft selection in 2012 out of the University of Arizona where he was an all-American at shortstop and earned PAC-12 Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year selections for the Wildcats in their College World Series championship season…batted .214 (3-for-14) in 10 games with the Cardinals earlier (June 28 – July 9) this year, collecting his 1st ML hit on July 1 vs. Washington, while also homering and collecting 2 RBI in start at 2nd base…was batting a combined .291 with 7 HR’s, 57 RBI and 32 doubles in 118 games between Springfield (AA) – 63 games and Memphis (AAA) – 55 games… named to Texas League North Division All-Star team…had .335 BA and .381 OBP at Memphis….has played all four infield positions this year at Memphis, where he was errorless in 25 games at shortstop and 16 at second base…was errorless in 17 total chances with the Cardinals, playing SS, 2B & 3B.
HARRISON BADER #48 – OF: Pronounced BAY-der…rookie outfielder is being promoted for his second tour with the Cardinals this year after debuting on July 25 vs. Colorado when he scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 9th in a 3-2 walk-off victory…played six games with the Cardinals during his call-up from July 25-31…batted .286 (6-for-21) with St. Louis, starting all six of his games in centerfield…23-year-old was the Cardinals 3rd round draft selection (100th player overall) in 2015 draft out of the University of Florida, where he played in the College World Series and was named to the NCAA World Series Tournament Team…the 6-0, 200-pound right-handing hitting Bader is a native of Bronxville, NY…was named to Arizona Fall League All-Prospect team and Rising Stars Game last year…was batting .283 with 20 HR’s, 55 RBI and 15 SB’s in 123 games at Memphis this season…111 of his 117 defensive games played this year for Memphis have come in centerfield.
Brian Walton’s take
The only mild surprises to me are the promotion of Mejia over Aledmys Diaz and the DFA of Gilmartin. The former could still be added to St. Louis’ roster later. I thought the lefty Gilmartin would get a September look as a reliever based on his success in the role since coming off Memphis’ disabled list. Obviously, that is not going to happen.
Essentially, Flaherty took Mike Leake’s 40-man roster spot, Alcantara assumed Kevin Siegrist’s place and Rosario took the spot of Gilmartin. The Cardinals’ 40-man remains full.
Among The Cardinal Nation’s top prospects, rankings are as follows: Flaherty #3, Bader #4, Alcantara #8. Mejia (honorable mention).
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation:
We have already documented 19 downstream player moves across the Cardinals system related to these changes. They are broken down here.
Also, here is my earlier article outlining my guesses as to who the Cardinals will call up this month.
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