All posts by Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.

Cardinals Add Rondon, Send Liberatore Down

photo: Angel Rondon (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinals wanted more available long relief and this proved to be a good decision a few hours later when Sunday starter Steven Matz had to be pulled after just four pitches with shoulder discomfort.

Angel Rondón

In 11 appearances including two starts) totaling 22 2/3 innings for Memphis in 2022, Rondon has a 3.97 ERA and 27 strikeouts to go with 16 hits and 13 walks while limiting opposing batters to a collective .195 batting average.

Rondon made his MLB debut in June 2021 with the Cardinals. He appeared in just two games with St. Louis, throwing two scoreless innings on one hit and one walk before being returned to Memphis, where he remained until now. Being on the taxi squad this week meant Rondon was already traveling with the team, making his addition to the active roster quick.

Matthew Liberatore

In his MLB debut in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Liberatore was charged with four runs in 4 2/3 innings for a no-decision. The lefty allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out three. Two runs scored in the second inning and the other two in the fifth.

Liberatore could return to the roster immediately depending on the severity of Matz’ injury. More information should be available Monday as the Cardinals return home to St. Louis.

For more

To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always hfree Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2022 Dominican Summer League Schedule Released

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

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Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals to Promote Prospects Gorman and Liberatore

photo: Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals are bringing up their top two prospects at Triple-A with Nolan Gorman to start at second base on Friday and Matthew Liberatore to take the mound on Saturday. Tyler O’Neill moves to the injured list.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced following today’s game (Thursday, May 19) that they have selected the contract of rookie infielder Nolan Gorman from Memphis (AAA) and placed outfielder Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement) on the 10-day Injured List.   The team has transferred right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty (right shoulder) from the 10-day Injured List to the 60-day Injured List to make room for Gorman on the team’s 40-player Major League roster.

Tyler O’Neill

The Cardinals also announced that rookie left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore will join the team and make his Major League debut in a start on Saturday (May 21) against the Pirates.

Matthew Liberatore

Gorman, 22, and Liberatore, 22, rated as the #2 and #3 Cardinals prospects by Baseball America will become the sixth and seventh rookies to join the Cardinals this season.

The left-handed hitting Gorman, the Cardinals 1st round (19th payer overall) draft selection in 2018 has provided plenty of power this season, leading all Triple-A players with his 15 home runs, 2nd in all of professional baseball to the Springfield Cardinals (AA) Moises Gomez (17).

Gorman is batting .308 this season in 34 games for the Redbirds, collecting 19 extra base hits and 23 RBI for a 1.044 OPS.

Nolan Gorman

Liberatore is leading Memphis with a 3.83 ERA and ranks third among Triple-A pitchers in both innings pitched (40.0) and strikeouts (46).   He compiled a career-best 16.2 scoreless innings streak last month.

Liberatore will be the first Cardinals pitcher to debut in a start against the Pirates since Alan Benes in 1995 and the first lefty to do so since Ray Sadecki in 1960.   Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean is another notable to have debuted against the Pirates, tossing a three-hit complete game in 1930 for the Cardinals.

Brian Walton’s take

I have often wondered which of the two childhood friends would reach St. Louis first. Now, we have the answer. Gorman, The Cardinal Nation’s no. 1 prospect,  will win by one day over our no. 3.

It is interesting that reasons were cited why Gorman wasn’t promoted, even as he was raking in Triple-A and the Cardinals offense wasn’t cutting it. These concerns were overriding – until St. Louis lost eight of 12 games, that is.

With the current version of the Cardinals clearly a notch below the top teams in the National League, promoting their two best prospects closest to St. Louis is logical and welcome – and in the case of Gorman, overdue, in my opinion.

Any decline in team defense by Gorman playing second base and moving Tommy Edman to shortstop will need to be compared to the improvement in offense over that of former starting shortstop Paul DeJong that Gorman will provide – once the latter gets his feet firmly on the ground as a major leaguer. The impact may not be immediate, but it is time to move ahead.

Now in his second year of playing second base, Gorman has far more experience at the position than did Matt Carpenter and Skip Schumaker when they were moved to second to start for St. Louis while already major leaguers.

The other major reason cited for Gorman remaining in the minors after lesser middle infield prospects Kramer Robertson and Brendan Donovan were promoted ahead of him is his strikeouts.

It is true that the second baseman has struck out at an increased rate in 2022, but in a much longer 2021 debut at the same Triple-A level, Gorman fanned at a below-20% rate. In fact, his strikeout rate has come down in recent days. So, while he is capable of doing it for Memphis, it is time to see what he can do as a big leaguer.

When Liberatore is officially promoted, the Cardinals will have to make another 40-man roster move. His opportunity to continue to start will depend on his effectiveness in his initial appearances as a Cardinal.

Liberatore last started for the Redbirds on Thursday, May 12, so should be rested for his Saturday MLB debut. He had been scheduled to start for Memphis on Wednesday, May 18, but was replaced by Jake Woodford, recently sent down from St. Louis.

Following O’Neill’s recovery could be a minor league rehab stint for him to try to get his swing back in game action. In the meantime, another Cardinals rookie, Juan Yepez, seems best positioned to fill in for the ailing starting left fielder.

For more

To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always-free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 6

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Promote Walsh, Option Out Whitley

photo: Jake Walsh (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a bullpen change Wednesday by adding Memphis closer Jake Walsh. Fellow right-handed reliever Kodi Whitley was sent down to Triple-A.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon (Wedenesday, May 11) that they have recalled rookie right-handed pitcher Jake Walsh from Memphis (AAA), and that right-handed pitcher Kodi Whitley was optioned to Memphis following last night’s game.

Jake Walsh

Walsh, 26, will be making his Major League debut with his first game appearance.

A former 16th round (484th player overall) draft selection by the Cardinals in 2017, Walsh joins a Cardinals roster that currently includes five other rookies, and he is the fifth in that group of six players to have been developed in the Cardinals farm system.

Walsh has been exceptional for Memphis this season, working nine games in relief for the Redbirds and allowing just one earned run in his 11.0 innings pitched for a 0.82 ERA with six saves.   The Florida native has fanned 16 and walked five, posting a 1.00 WHIP.

Kodi Whitley

Whitley has appeared in 10 games for the Cardinals this season, going 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 8.2 innings of relief.

Walsh has been assigned uniform no. 61.

Brian Walton’s take

Whitley’s recent struggles made this move much less surprising. He allowed just one earned run in his first nine outings, through May 5. Since then, however, he yielded four earned runs in his last 1 1/3 innings on two hits and five walks.

As noted above, Walsh has been Memphis’s best reliever and is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities. He is The Cardinal Nation’s 21st-ranked prospect. Jacob Bosiokovic, who came off the Redbirds’ injured list on Tuesday, could return to closing duties. Or perhaps Whitley will be given a shot in the ninth inning.

For more

To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always-free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 4

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Name Gomez and Graceffo April’s Top Minor Leaguers

photo: Gordon Graceffo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Thursday, May 5) their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, with Springfield Cardinals (AA) outfielder Moisés Gómez and Peoria Chiefs (High-A) right-handed starter Gordon Graceffo (gruh-SEFF-oh) taking the honors for the first time.

Moisés Gómez

Gómez23, hit for an .429 average (27-for-63), with 11 home runs, six doubles, 25 RBI and 22 runs scored in 17 games with Springfield.  His 1.048 slugging percentage and 1.519 OPS led all Minor League qualified hitters for the month, while also ranking first in home runs, extra base hits (17) and total bases (66).  Among Double-A players, Gómez ranked first in average, RBI and runs as well.  He reached base safely in 16-of-17 games last month (multiple hits in 11) and had multiple RBI in 10 of those contests.  Gómez’s output has already earned him back-to-back Texas League Player of the Week honors.

“Moisés’ outstanding start offensively in April lead him to a well-earned ‘Player of the Month’ selection,” said Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.

The 5’11”, 200-pound right-handed hitting Venezuelan signed with the Cardinals as a minor league free agent this past offseason after spending seven seasons in the Tampa Bay minor league system.  Ranked as the Best Power Hitter in the Rays system by Baseball America in 2020 and 2021, his 11 home runs already represent the third-highest total for any single season of his career.

Gordon Graceffo

Graceffo, 22, posted a 2-0 record with a 0.83 ERA (2 ER/21.2 IP) and 30 strikeouts in his first four starts of the season.  He led all Cardinals minor league starting pitchers with a .133 average against and a 0.51 WHIP, while ranking second in ERA and strikeouts.  The New Jersey native had a strikeout rate of 39.5% and only walked one of his 76 total batters faced.

“Gordon’s excellent month of April was highlighted by four quality starts, one walk in 21.2 innings, and only 11 baserunners on the way to earning ‘Pitcher of the Month’ honors,” stated LaRocque.

Drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round (150th overall) of the 2021 MLB Draft out of Villanova University, the 6’4 right-hander had a 1.73 ERA in 11 appearances (one start) for Single-A Palm Beach last season.  He began the season ranked as the 15th best prospect in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America.  He has not allowed more than three hits in any start this season and struck out a career-high nine batters in each of his last two starts.

Brian Walton’s take

These honors are deserved and they coincide with The Cardinal Nation’s own selections announced earlier this week. Refer to the following articles for details on a number of other finalists as well as the two winners.

The Cardinal Nation’s April 2022 Player of the Month – Moisés Gómez

The Cardinal Nation’s April 2022 Pitcher of the Month – Gordon Graceffo

As noted above, Gomez, TCN’s no. 37 prospect, doubled as the Texas League Player of the Month in his first month in the organization. For the Cardinals organizational honor, he edged International League Player of the Month Nolan Gorman among others.

Oddly, Graceffo lost out on the Midwest League Pitcher of the Month honors to Peoria teammate Michael McGreevy. The latter also had a strong April showing, but as the data in the above article indicates, Graceffo won the major comparisons between the two.

Three April Top League Performers in Cardinals System

The only exceptions are that McGreevy was a higher round draft pick in 2021 and is a higher-ranked prospect – but neither should matter in a performance-based measure such as Pitcher of the Month. Further, Graceffo is also a very promising prospect. Here at The Cardinal Nation, McGreevy is currently seventh and Graceffo is 13th among top prospects in the Cardinals system, with both having improved in our April rankings update.

TCN’s Monthly Cardinals Top 50 Prospect Rankings – April 2022

Both pitchers have bright futures ahead, with their next stop at some point this season being Double-A. But by then, Gomez might have already been promoted to Memphis.

Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Springfield Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 4

Now Available – 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for its fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos. Order your PDF or printed book copy today!

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals History of Solo Home Run 1-0 Wins

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Joe Puetz/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian Walton digs into games in St. Louis Cardinals history similar to Monday’s win, in which the only run scored on a bases-empty home run.



Monday afternoon at Busch Stadium, an unusual situation occurred. The St. Louis Cardinals, behind a solo home run in the first inning by Paul Goldschmidt, defeated the Kansas City Royals, 1-0.

As often is the case it seems, discussion on the daily game thread at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum led to wondering how rare this kind of game has been. Several hours later, I escaped that rabbit hole, thanks to researcher Tom Orf, whose data pull answered most of these questions.

Q: How many solo home run 1-0 wins in Cardinals history have there been?

A: This has occurred 49 times.

Q: When was the first occasion?

The first was on September 30, 1914 at Pittsburgh. In the sixth inning, Dots Miller went deep to back winning pitcher Biil Doak.

Q: What was the most recent occurrence prior to Monday?

A: On September 3, 2019 at Busch against the Giants, Marcell Ozuna’s sixth inning homer behind Jack Flaherty’s pitching powered St. Louis’ win.

Q: In what season did the Cardinals have the most solo home run 1-0 wins?

A: In 2014, the Cardinals had a team record four, with two occurring during the same week. They were on March 31, June 10, June 13 and July 27. Home runs were hit by Yadier Molina, Matt Adams and Matt Holliday twice. Adam Wainwright was the winning pitcher in three of the four games, with all three of his 1-0 victories on the road. Lance Lynn was the other beneficiary.

Q: Did any of these 49 solo home runs come in the first inning?

A: Only twice previously was one of these shots hit in the first inning. Holliday did it in the top of the first against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks on July 27, 2014. Wainwright was the winning pitcher. On August 24, 1928, Ernie Orsatti homered in the bottom of the first inning against the Phillies, backing future Hall of Famer Jesse “Pop” Haines.

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Q: Which solo homer at-bat was earliest in the game?

Goldschmidt was the Cardinals’ second batter of the game, hitting in the bottom of the first.

Holliday was the Cardinals’ third batter of the game and batting in the top of the first, he was also the third batter of the game. Orsatti, like Goldschmidt, batted in the bottom of the first, but as the third batter in the St. Louis lineup.

Q: Did all 49 Cardinals starting pitchers in these games get the win?

No. Only 48 did. On August 7, 1996 at Busch, Todd Stottlemyre was taken out after throwing eight shutout innings against the Padres. With the game scoreless, Mark Petkovsek retired San Diego in the top of the ninth before Gary Gaetti’s walkoff solo shot gave the reliever the vulture win.

Q: Were any other of these 49 Cardinals victories decided on a walkoff?

A: While Gaetti’s feat was the only one to end a nine-inning game, two other Cardinals 1-0 contests concluded with a solo home run in extra innings. On July 4, 1980, George Hendrick ended a 0-0 game against the Phillies in the 10th inning. On April 30, 1950, the Cardinals and Cubs were scoreless until Del Rice went deep with the bases empty in the bottom of the 13th.

Q: Though no Cardinal has ever done it, how many MLB games with solo home run 1-0 outcomes were decided by his team’s first batter of the game?

A: According to Baseball Almanac, 28 times in MLB history, the game’s leadoff batter hit a home run in a contest that ended 1-0.

Q: Did an MLB leadoff man ever do this on the first pitch of the game?

A: Yes, on September 2, 1963, 22-year-old Pete Rose homered on the first pitch of the game as the Reds went on to beat the Mets 1-0.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Palm Beach Cardinals Notebook – 2022 Week 4


2022 Prospect Guide now available

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for a fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos, scouting reports and much more.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Springfield’s Gomez and Peoria’s McGreevy are League Top Performers

photo: Moises Gomez (Springfield Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals have two top minor league performers for the week of April 11-17. Moises Gomez is the Texas League Player of the Week and Michael McGreevy is the Pitcher of the Week in the Midwest League.



At the completion of the first full week of minor league play in 2022, on Monday, April 18, Minor League Baseball disclosed the Players and Pitchers of the Week across each league.

For the period of April 11-17, the St. Louis Cardinals have two winners.

Moisés Gómez

Gomez, 23, joined the Cardinals organization as a minor league free agent in November. The native of Venezuela spent the first seven years of his career in the Tampa Bay Rays system. The right-handed hitting outfielder has considerable power, but also an aggregate career strikeout rate of 27.7% (30.4% in early action with Springfield).

Michael McGreevy

McGreevy, 21, was St. Louis’ first-round draft pick in 2021 from Cal Santa Barbara. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder split his partial first season between rookie ball and Low-A, making one-inning stints. His two outings with High-A Peoria have been five and 6 2/3 innings respectively.

Michael McGreevy (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals 2022 Extended Spring Training Schedule


2022 Prospect Guide now available

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is back for a fifth year. It includes 276 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos, scouting reports and much more.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


Special limited time bundle

Save 25% on your first year’s subscription to The Cardinal Nation – just $59.95 when you also purchase The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide in printed book form.

This is our best-ever subscription price! You receive $120.00 of value for $99.90! This offer ends when the supply of Prospect Guides is exhausted – so don’t wait!

Special Limited Time Bundle – The Cardinal Nation Subscription plus Prospect Guide

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2022 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.