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TCN 2023 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect No. 40 – Ryan Loutos

photo: Ryan Loutos (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2023 reaches no. 40 with a reliever who shot through three levels and finished 2022 with a solid turn in the Arizona Fall League, but is still a work in progress. FREE report!



Ryan Loutos

Position: Pitcher
Age: 23 years old
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight – 6’5/215
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent on July 13, 2021

Home: Barrington, Illinois

Opened 2022: Peoria Chiefs (High-A)
Primary team in 2022: Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A)
Finished 2022: Arizona Fall League

Prior Top 50 ranking – unranked

Click on the above photo to be taken to Loutos’ player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Loutos’ career stats

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Blake’s ranking – no. 33

(current grade/future grade)

FB SL CH CB Command FV
55/60 45/55 35/45 40/45 40/50 35
IP G GS ERA WHIP K% BB%
63.2 46 2 3.96 1.48 26.0% 9.0%
HR/9 K/BB FIP xFIP GB% LOB% BABIP
0.70 2.88 2.86 (A+)

2.91 (AA)

4.73 (AAA)

3.69 (A+)

3.92 (AA)

3.91 (AAA)

50.3% 58.8%

(A+)

80.0% (AA)

72.0% (AAA)

.303 (A+)

.259 (AA)

.471 (AAA)

Before I get into Loutos’ scouting report I first want to mention his background because it’s unique for someone on the doorstep of the major leagues.

The tall right-hander went undrafted in the 2021 draft after playing four years at Washington University in St. Louis and even making the starting rotation as a freshman. He wasn’t just a baseball player, though. While in college he majored in computer science and used his knowledge to build a website for his team to store data. After graduating and not getting drafted, he was prepared to take a job at Morningstar Inc. where his salary would have been a minimum of $70,000

That means he actually took a pay cut when the Cardinals offered him a $20,000 bonus and a minor league salary. He was assigned to Palm Beach after joining the organization and then rose three levels in his first full year in 2022. And on top of that, he is also helping the Cardinals front office and analytics department create player reports and interfaces.

It looks like he has a long future in baseball ahead of him, even after his playing days are over. For more about Loutos, you can read his excellent interview with Geoff Pontes of Baseball America.

Loutos is not only a good pitcher but also a smart guy, and that combination of skill and intangibles makes him a good bet to reach the major leagues and take a nice jump through in these rankings next season. I feel that I under-ranked him a little bit and I would love for him to make me look dumb next season.

Now, let’s get back to what he does as a player. Loutos is primarily a fastball/slider pitcher but he also throws a curveball and a changeup. He actually threw 5-6 pitches in college so he has really simplified his arsenal to his two best pitches.

His fastball sits in the mid-90s and can touch 98 and it also gets a good amount of late run. It excels at the top of the zone and it plays well to his arm side where it pairs nicely with his sweepy slider that sits in the mid-to-upper 80s.

His curveball has more depth than his slider but is also a little loopier and definitely not as good of a pitch. He may mix in a few curveballs to keep hitters off balance with a slower speed and different movement profile but otherwise he won’t throw it often. That’s a perfectly fine approach for him as his solid two-pitch mix gives him enough to be successful.

I ranked him where I did for a few reasons. The first is a slight concern over his Triple-A results. His ERA jumped from 1.61 in Springfield to 6.33 in Memphis with his FIP going from 2.91 to 4.73. This, as I said, is only a slight concern for me for two reasons. The first is that his xFIPs were practically identical at each level. The second is that he jumped from D-3 baseball to Triple-A baseball in a year. No matter how good he is, that’s a tough transition to make so quickly.

His AFL success (2.57 ERA in 14 IP) also alleviates some of my concerns.

Another concern is that his once sterling walk rates (5.5% in High-A, 5.7% in Single-A), jumped to 11.0% in Double-A and 9.2% in Triple-A. He can get whiffs but limiting walks would help take him to the next level.

My final concern is not performance related but something I noticed from his AFL video. He seems to have different release points with his fastball and his slider.

Here’s the release point of his fastball.

And here’s the release point of his breaking ball.

Now, I said “breaking ball” because from the videos that I’ve seen of him, his release point looks the same for both his curveball and his slider.

Regardless, there is a clear difference. When he throws the breaking ball, it comes out of a more over-the-top arm slot. That issue and the elevated walk rate tells me that he needs more refinement before he’s ready to join the major league bullpen.

If a hitter can pick up the release point difference, it can tip him off as to what pitch is coming. It’s subtle but dangerous. Loutos would benefit from dropping his release point down a bit on his slider, and since he throws more of a sweeper, getting around the ball instead of over the top of it would actually work well.

Summary: Ryan Loutos has a great fastball/slider combo that is likely to carry him to the MLB bullpen as soon as 2023 but he needs to clean up his breaking ball release points and some control issues to really maximize his plus arsenal.

Future Value: 35
Role: AAAA guy/middle relief
Risk: Low

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Brian’s ranking – no. 44

Background

Loutos was not selected in the 20-round 2021 draft. However, the record-setting 6-foot-5, 225-pounder from Washington University evaluated his options and chose to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals in July 2021. Loutos (pronounced LOOT-us) was already known, performing well in the Northwoods League and pitching in the Division III College World Series, and felt the Cardinals were a good fit.

Opening the professional phase of his career with Low-A Palm Beach, he fanned 26 against six walks in 22 2/3 innings, but also yielded 14 earned runs on 28 hits for a 5.56 ERA in 2021.

2022 recap – professional

In 2022, Loutos put the pedal to the proverbial metal, wearing four different uniforms He opened at High-A Peoria, then passed through Double-A Springfield before earning another promotion, this one to Memphis, often pitching in late inning situations all along the way.

For the Chiefs, Loutos was their best reliever. He appeared in nine games, totaling 14 1/3 innings and logging a 3.24 ERA for a team that had a 5.61 bullpen ERA at the time, worst in the Midwest League. Loutos held opposing hitters to a collective .224 average, walked just three and struck out 17. He converted four of six save opportunities.

On May 17, he was promoted to Springfield. Unlike most relievers on the Double-A Cards (team bullpen ERA of 5.82 in 2022), Loutos stood out for all the right reasons. Over 22 1/3 Texas League innings covering 15 appearances, he crafted a 1.61 ERA with a 1-1 record and converted all three save opportunities. Loutos struck out 26 and walked 10.

On July 1, the next call was to join Memphis. A .373 batting average against led to a 6.33 ERA in 27 innings. Loutos fanned 29 but walked 12 and served up four long balls.

Though his Triple-A results were not as strong as at his other two stops, he showed improvement with more reps at each level. For the season, Loutos finished third in the Cardinals system in three key categories. He saved nine games, finished 28 contests and made 46 appearances.

It is rare for a player to finish his first full season at Triple-A, but Loutos took it one step further by accepting the Cardinals’ invitation to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. After a bumpy beginning, Loutos pitched exceptionally well for the Salt River Rafters. Overall, Loutos tossed 14 relief innings in the desert with a 2.57 ERA. He fanned 13 batters and walked four.

“It (2022) definitely exceeded my expectations,” Loutos said from the AFL. “I would like to have done a little bit better in Triple-A, but all things considered in my first full season, it blew my expectations out of the water. It made the season a little shorter by being able to start fresh with each team. It felt like a new season in and of itself. It has been a lot of fun.“

2023 outlook

As Blake noted, Loutos has work to do before mastering Triple-A, but even as a free agent signing, he is ahead of the game compared to every one of the 12 pitchers the Cardinals drafted in 2021.

I expect his 2023 to be just the opposite of his 2022 in one aspect. Quite likely, Loutos will go from wearing four uniforms in a season to just one. Staying with the Redbirds all season long seems the most likely (albeit conservative) scenario.

What is not under his control are those apparently ahead of him. If the season was to open today, Memphis would have at least five relievers who already hold 40-man roster spots (which Loutos does not), most of whom also have prior MLB experience. They are Genesis Cabrera, JoJo Romero, James Naile, Jake Walsh and Freddy Pacheco. Depending on other organization moves during the rest of the off-season, others may join them. As a result, Loutos may have to bide his time until this quintet receives their 2023 opportunities.

What is under his control is to continue to improve and make the necessary fine tuning adjustments needed to maximize his effectiveness against Triple-A and major league hitters alike.

When I spoke with Ryan in Arizona, he readily accepted that he is a work in progress and outlined his plan for three secondary pitches.

“I relied on my slider a lot this year (2022) just because I could command it,” Loutos said. “It had a little bit of sink to it, so it was good with righties especially. I could get guys to freeze and chase off the plate a little bit. But I have backed off it a little bit, trying to use my curveball more.”

The Cardinals are especially intrigued by Loutos’ knuckle curve and want to see more.

“I started throwing it my senior year in college,” he recalled. “I didn’t really throw it a ton. I knew it was a pretty good pitch but I really didn’t need it and didn’t command it that well.

“I know it is something the Cardinals want me to do and throw more because it is such a good pitch. Getting the feel for it and throwing it more and more, and coming out here (AFL), is a good opportunity to work on it a lot… I think it is going to lead to a lot of good results long term.”

That isn’t all.

“I’ve been working on a cutter in the Fall League as well,” the pitcher noted. “We will see what it will turn into. It is something to bridge the gap between my curveball and fastball.”

If Loutos can make these improvements and refine his offerings, he could jump the line and reach St. Louis in 2023. I am just not projecting it yet.

Future outlook

Because Loutos has reached Triple-A so quickly, he is more of a work in progress than most others at the level. This is good for him but makes identifying his ceiling a bit more challenging. The raw materials are there, so depending on what he does with them, he could have a decent career ahead as a major league middle relief staple or become an up-and-down, journeyman type of pitcher.

Surely, Loutos won’t be added to the 40-man roster until the day he is first called up, probably in 2024. However, he would not become Rule 5 eligible until after that season, anyway. So again, his rapid advancement in 2022 gives the Cardinals more room to ensure his development makes him MLB-ready.

MLB debut: 2024
Rule 5 Eligible: 2024


Related interview for members of The Cardinal Nation

Ryan Loutos in His Own Words


Our 2023 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles breaking down the list.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2023


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system, including access to every article in our 2023 Top Cardinals Prospects series.

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

TCN 2023 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #45 – Samil De La Rosa

photo: Samil De La Rosa (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2023 reaches no. 45 with an infielder who led his rookie level Florida Complex League team in most offensive categories with intriguing power. FREE report!



Samil De La Rosa

Position: Second/third baseman
Age: 19 years old
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight – 5’8/175
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on January 15, 2021

Home: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Opened 2022: Extended spring training/Florida Complex League Cardinals (rookie)
Primary team in 2022: Florida Complex League Cardinals (rookie)
Finished 2022: Florida Complex League Cardinals (rookie)

Prior Top 50 ranking – unranked

Click on the above photo to be taken to De La Rosa’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to De La Rosa’s career stats

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Blake’s ranking – no. 43

(current grade/future grade)

Hit Power Field Arm Run FV
25/55 30/50 30/50 50/50 50/50 35
AVG OBP SLG OPS HR SB CS BB% K%
.241 .345 .447 .792 6 3 4 7.9% 20.0%
BB/K ISO wRC+ GB% LB% FB% Pull% Cent% Oppo%
0.39 .206 121 49.0% 16.0% 35.0% 63.6% 15.9% 20.6%

Samil De La Rosa has done nothing but hit since signing with the Cardinals for $300,000 in January of 2021. The infielder went on to finish his inaugural season with a 134 wRC+ in the Dominican Summer League before making the jump stateside in 2022 where he finished the year with a 121 wRC+.

Though his wRC+ dropped a bit, he actually showed much more power which is perhaps surprising for someone with a listed size of 5’8” and 175 pounds.

His six home runs tied him the Florida Complex League lead despite him being 1.7 years younger than the average league hitter. I’m immediately intrigued whenever I see this kind of power from such a young and diminutive hitter.

One thing that stood out to me while watching De La Rosa is that his bat is quick to the zone and long through the zone. He has quick hands that help him get on plane early and his bat stays in the hitting zone a long time, maximizing his hitting opportunity.

He also generates plenty of power for a player with his frame. That’s most obvious in the image below.

Samil De La Rosa (TikTok)

This is a powerful hitting position and it shows what I’ve discussed so far. You can see how his bat is already on plane and coming through the hitting zone despite still being behind the plate. Next, you can see how his back leg is making a right angle. That’s because his hips have generated a tremendous amount of force and are giving him plenty of power.

If there’s anything to nitpick here it’s that his front leg is bent a little bit instead of locking into place. That limits the amount of force he transfers from his lower half to his upper half. It’s only a slight bend in this image though, so it doesn’t limit him too much in this instance.

The 19-year-old has a nice uppercut in his swing built for elevating the ball with a nice, which might be a bit surprising considering his near 50% ground ball rate. That’s less of a swing problem and more of an issue with consistently finding the barrel of the bat.

The ball often comes off the bottom of the bat and he would be even better if he could elevate the ball more consistently by hitting off the middle of the bat.

De La Rosa’s timing mechanism is built around a leg kick and though his timing isn’t always perfect and he is often out in front of pitches, his bat stays in the hitting zone long enough to minimize the effect of timing issues. He is often early, though, and that is something to clean up.

With that said, he’s still a young player and he has time to make these improvements. I’m a big fan of his swing and I’m excited to see what it does once he makes it to full season ball. Currently, I rank his power tool ahead of his hit tool, which is rare for a player of his size, but I think his hit tool has the potential to more than make up the difference as he matures.

Defensively, De La Rosa plays third base and second base but I think second base is likely his future. He’s also been much more successful there so far in his career, making 19 errors in 40 games at the hot corner and ‘only’ five errors in 35 games at second base.

After third base was his primary position in 2021, De La Rosa played more second base in 2022. I expect that to continue in 2023. I haven’t seen enough of his glove or his arm to make a solid evaluation so I will leave them as potential 50s for now and re-evaluate as I learn more.

He does look to be athletic enough to be a solid fielder in the future but how much of a threat he will be on the basepaths remains to be seen after he stole only three bases in seven attempts this year.

Summary: Samil De La Rosa has a good-looking swing and surprising pop for his size but still has a long development path ahead of him. If he can maintain his success in full season ball, he could be a riser to watch.

Future Value: 35
Role: AAAA guy/reserve
Risk: Extreme

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Brian’s ranking – no. 50

Background

After being a January 15th signee in 2021, the right-handed hitter got off to a nice start to his professional career. With the Dominican Summer League Cardinals, De La Rosa slashed .288/.396/.424/.880, earning a promotion to the US for 2022.

2022 recap – professional

After a stint in Extended Spring Training to acclimate to play in the US, De La Rosa made the Florida Complex League Cardinals roster to open the season. The Dominican Republic native got off to a great start with an OPS of .814 in June, followed by an .803 mark in July. Even his .747 August was better than the vast majority of his teammates.

For the season, De La Rosa led the rookie-level Cards in hits (34), doubles (nine) and home runs (six). The latter tied the league lead and he was seventh in the FCL in slugging at .447 and eighth in OPS at .792.

De La Rosa topped the 2022 FCL Cards in other offensive categories as well, including plate appearances (165) and runs scored (25) and tied for the most RBI (21).

Despite a modest .241 batting average, De La Rosa’s mark was best among teammates.  De La Rosa was second in on-base percentage at .345, with an unusual breakdown.

Samil De La Rosa (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

With a stance crowding the plate, De La Rosa was hit by an incredible 10 pitches, 2 ½ times that of any other FCL Cardinal and tied for second most in the circuit. That had a major inflationary impact on De La Rosa’s on-base mark as he also drew 13 walks.

De La Rosa’s 20% strikeout rate was the best among his free-swinging teammates but his walk rate of 7.9% was middle of the pack.

His relatively low .272 BABIP suggests his results could have been even better. As it is, his weighted runs created plus (wRC+) was tops on his club at 121, 21 points above league average.

Defensively, after playing more second than third base in 2021, his time played between the two positions flipped this season. However, De La Rosa’s fielding has been considerably better at second compared to the hot corner (.949 vs. .750). This will need to be sorted out later, but he seems to have enough bat to play either.

De La Rosa was the third-youngest player on the FCL Cards roster, after Adari Grant and Luis Piño. Born on September 34, 2003, De La Rosa played the entire 2022 season at 18 years of age.

Considering all of his success, it should not be surprising that De La Rosa is The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Florida Complex Cardinals Player of the Year.

2023 outlook

It seems that De La Rosa has shown enough in rookie ball to move up to Low-A Palm Beach to open 2023. With the elimination of two levels in between (Rookie Advanced and Short-Season Class-A) across minor league baseball, this step up from the FCL is huge in terms of level of competition.

With no physical distance between the two (FCL and Palm Beach), however, players can be tested at the higher level and returned for more seasoning if they show they are not ready. (In April and May, that return would be to extended spring training, as the FCL season does not open until June.)

If De La Rosa can continue to hit in A-ball at the age of 19, it would be a huge plus for his career and advancement. Specifically, continuing to produce at least 20% above league average, or even improving on that, is a good measure to monitor.

As noted above, he is seemingly aimed toward second base defensively, which is not a bad move. There are no top prospects at the position above him who might artificially block him from future promotions when he shows he is ready.

Future outlook

At this point, it does not seem unreasonable to wonder if De La Rosa can continue along his early career growth trajectory – or even accelerate it a bit – while remaining young for his leagues. If so, he could have some Double-A experience under his belt by the time a Rule 5 decision will be necessary following the 2025 season.

A late 2026 St. Louis debut at the age of 22 may be on the aggressive side, but with a promising player this young and inexperienced, it is fun to wonder “what if?” while watching his results in the season ahead.

MLB debut: 2026
Rule 5 Eligible: 2025

Our 2023 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles breaking down the list.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2023


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Ryan Loutos in His Own Words


Not yet a member?

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining The Cardinal Nation to receive the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system, including access to every article in our 2023 Top Cardinals Prospects series.

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

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2023

photo: Masyn Winn, Tink Hence and Jordan Walker (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

As St. Louis Cardinals players at all levels worked to improve their skills, more top prospects moved onto the national rankings and others emerged as players to watch in the improving minor league system.

To recognize those players with perhaps the brightest futures, The Cardinal Nation has developed our annual Cardinals Top 50 Prospect List for 2023. Our 18th annual rankings will roll out in the days and weeks ahead.

An expanded role

Blake Newberry

As we unveil our 2023 Cardinals Top 50 Prospect List, a familiar TCN contributor will provide our player evaluations.

Blake Newberry has written for The Cardinal Nation since 2019 and has covered prospects via the draft, as rookies, in winter ball and now, is writing scouting reports on the best Cardinals prospects.

Blake’s interest and expertise in scouting prospects is important in keeping our Cardinals projections grounded. His tools-driven evaluations join Brian Walton’s assessments for this project.

The rankings

The process to set TCN’s new Top 50 for 2023 is a continuation of Walton’s members-only in-season monthly Cardinals prospect rankings, with adjustments based on fall and winter ball play as well as input from scouts and player development professionals.

Separately developed, Newberry’s top 65 list was averaged with Walton’s working top 65 to develop the site’s new Top 50.

(Players are eligible until they reach the MLB rookie levels of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched.)

In our daily countdown of the Top 50, starting on Monday, November 21, Blake delivers a scouting report on each prospect, highlighting the five major tools for position players and grades for pitches. These grades are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, noted with the risk associated with the player eventually achieving his Future Value (FV).

Walton provides background on each prospect, his progress in the organization, where he fits against others and his outlook for the coming season and beyond.

Following the countdown will be our annual series of “best-of”, “just-missed” and in-depth analysis articles of the Top 50 collectively. This series will likely continue beyond Winter Warm-Up, to be held in the second half of January.

As always, selected prospect reports will be made available to everyone, but for full access to all 50 write-ups and the following articles, one must be a member of The Cardinal Nation.   Join today!

To follow the countdown, you can either read each new story when posted on our home page every morning or click on the individual players’ names, which will be listed below as they are unveiled. You can also return to this page daily to check the current status of our Top 50 countdown.

Readers can join in the dialogue at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, where there will be discussion surrounding that day’s entry onto the top prospect list.

To check out the corresponding rankings from each of the past 17 winters, click here, or you can always access them via the permanent link in the left column located underneath the site logo called “PROSPECT RANKINGS”.

The Cardinal Nation Top 50 Prospects – 2023

50. RHP Nelfy Ynfante (free)
49. RHP Jack Ralston
48. OF Chase Pinder
47. LHP Diorys Guerrero
46. 1B Chandler Redmond
45. 2B Samil De La Rosa (free)
44. RHP Andrew Marrero
43. 2B Anyelo Encarnacion
42. RHP Gustavo Rodriguez
41. OF Matt Koperniak
40. RHP Ryan Loutos (free)
39.
38.
37.
36.
35. (free)
34.
33.
32.
31.
30. (free)
29.
28.
27.
26.
25. (free)
24.
23.
22.
21.
20. (free)
19.
18.
17.
16.
15. (free)
14.
13.
12.
11.
10. (free)
9.
8.
7.
6.
5. (free)
4.
3.
2.
1. (free)

There’s more!

At the conclusion of the countdown, a multi-part series follows, as we drill down into the details behind the Top 50. Most of these articles will be exclusively for TCN members.

We will analyze year-to-year changes and the top additions, highlight players who did not make the combined Top 50 and unveil our All-Prospect Team – the highest-ranked players at each position.

Next will be a view behind the numbers, a look back at our best and worst picks from the previous year, the top prospect list cut by level of play, those on the 2022 list who dropped off for 2023 and a potential-only based-list of the new Top 50.

Top 50 Analysis Series

2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Final Tally 
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Movers and Shakers 
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Newbies 
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – The Departed 
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – 2022 Picks and Pans 
2023 The Cardinal Nation Cardinals All-Prospect Team (free)
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Behind the Numbers 
2023 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Best of the Rest – Brian Walton 
2023 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects – Best of the Rest – Blake Newberry 
2023 Top St. Louis Cardinals Prospects by Level and MLB Debut 
2023 St. Louis Cardinals Top 50 Prospects Ranked by Future Value and Risk 

Scouting grading scale and risk

The following table aligns the level of each scouting grade for hitters and pitchers to the comparable future MLB role.

Grade Hitter role Pitcher role
80 Top 5 hitter 1-3 arm. Ace if multiple years
70 Top 10 hitter 2 starter FIP sub 3.00
60 All-Star 3 starter 3.30 FIP (200 IP)/High closer
55 Above average regular/occasional All-Star 3/4 starter 3.70 FIP (160 IP)/Mid closer
50 Average everyday player 4 starter 4.00 FIP (or 190+ IP)/Low closer or high set up
45 Platoon player 4/5 starter 4.20 FIP/Low set up
40 Reserve Backend starter 5.00 FIP/Middle relief
30 AAAA player AAAA player
20 Organizational player Organizational player

Behind these basic grades are more detailed scales which help translate player measurements by position types into grades. Examples include average and home run levels and home to first base times for hitters, pop rates for catchers and velocities, strikeout and walk rates for pitchers.

Risk is another measure included. It indicates the chances a player hits the Future Value scouting grade given.

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Extreme

Last chance to buy The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 Prospect Guide – at 20% off

The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide is in 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.

20% off Blowout Sale now underway on the spiral-bound, printed version.

Order TCN’s 2022 Cardinals Prospect Guide

Looking for more Cardinals prospect analysis?

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

TCN 2023 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #50 – Nelfy Ynfante

photo: Nelfy Ynfante (Jose Dilone/Facebook)

Opening The Cardinal Nation’s Top 50 countdown for 2023 is high-performing 17-year-old pitcher Nelfy Ynfante. Will the right-hander return to the Dominican Summer League for a second season? What does he throw? What is his future? FREE report!



Nelfy Ynfante

Position: Pitcher
Age: 17 years old
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight – 6’3/168
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent on January 15, 2022
Home: San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic

Opened 2022: Dominican Summer League (Rookie)
Primary team in 2022: Dominican Summer League (Rookie)
Finished 2022: Dominican Summer League (Rookie)

Prior Top 50 ranking – not applicable

Click on the above photo to be taken to Ynfante’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.

Link to Ynfante’s career stats

Blake Newberry’s scouting report

Blake’s ranking – no. 54

(current grade/future grade)

FB CB CH Command Future Value
40/50 40/55 30/40 30/50 35
IP G GS ERA WHIP K% BB% HR/9 K/BB FIP xFIP GB% BABIP
41.1 11 8 1.96 1.26 22.3 10.9 0.22 2.05 3.84 4.35 41.8 .283

Only six pitchers made multiple starts for the Cardinals DSL affiliate this year. Four of them were 18 years of age or older. One was 16 (Leonel Sequera) and the other was 17-year-old Nelfy Ynfante. Rotation spots typically go to older, more advanced prospects, so the fact that Ynfante began his young career in the rotation already speaks to ability.

More importantly, though, his results stood out. Ynfante led his team in ERA and finished third in innings pitched. He never surrendered more than two earned runs in an outing, and only three times did he yield multiple runs.

I did manage to find a little bit of video of Ynfante pre-signing, and one thing jumped out at me immediately – he has a lot of room to fill out his frame. He is listed at 6’3” and just 168 pounds which means there’s still a lot of physical projection for him.

Watching his mechanics, he’s still very much a work in progress, as is often the case for 17-year-old prospects.

The first mechanical flaw I noticed is that his glove arm often pulls his front shoulder down and causes his right arm to fly open. This is causing his body to open early and leaving his right arm dragging behind, thus slowing it down.

This also adds a lot of stress to the arm. It’s a common flaw in young pitchers, but cleaning it up should help Ynfante stay healthier, especially as his workload begins to increase.

That should also help Ynfante add some extra velocity via a quicker arm speed.

The second issue I noticed is that his front leg doesn’t always stiffen upon release. That’s not giving him a stable base from which to release the ball and it causes some of the momentum and force created in his lower half to not transfer to his upper body on release.

These issues cause him to be mechanically inefficient and lead to decreased velocity and spotty control. I know, that doesn’t sound great, but that should also be looked at as an opportunity. Ynfante pitched well despite the mechanical flaws and if he can clean those up, the velocity and command gains can help him be even better.

Ynfante throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup, with the changeup lagging behind the other two. The fastball has good arm side run which leads me to believe that it’s a sinker instead of a four-seamer.

His command of his curveball is inconsistent, and I would also like to see some sharper movement, but I still like the shape of the curveball a lot. It gets a lot of two-plane movement and it doesn’t have a ‘hump’ in it that gives it away to hitters. Instead, the bottom drops out without warning. This may be his best pitch as he matures.

I haven’t seen much of the changeup yet, but it looks fringy and doesn’t have a ton of movement.

It’s still really early for Ynfante, which makes it tough to really project him. I also don’t have a velocity reading of his fastball, so all I can identify are the mechanics and the movement. My fastball grade takes that into account. I’m leaving him at a present 40 and future 50 until I see more of it and get a reading on its velocity.

Summary: Needs a lot of work mechanically but put up strong results despite his issues. Good life to his fastball and a good curveball shape are encouraging but he still has a long development trail ahead of him. 

Future Value: 35
Role: AAAA guy/spot starter/middle relief
Risk: Extreme

Brian Walton’s environmental impact report

Brian’s ranking – no. 47

Background

Signed as an international free agent on January 15. 2022, Ynfante celebrated his 17th birthday the next month. His bonus was not disclosed through seven others were from the Cardinals’ initial class of 12 signings. One may draw the conclusion the amount was relatively modest, but based on his 2022 debut, it looks to have been a good buy.

Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Ynfante has a 6-foot-3 frame to go with his 168-pound weight at signing. One can look ahead to him filling out as he matures and takes full advantage of the organization’s strength and conditioning programs.

2022 recap – professional

As the calendar turned to summer, Ynfante settled into the Dominican Summer League Cardinals rotation, albeit in a partial role.

He began the season paired with Alexander Beltre in a tandem starting arrangement but was soon giving his own rotation spot when the DSL schedule expanded to six-game weeks in week five.

For the season, he pitched 41 1/3 frames, allowing 33 hits but issuing 19 free passes with 39 strikeouts.  Ynfante generated a DSL Cardinals team-best 1.96 ERA and .216 batting average against and his 1.258 WHIP was third.

As one would hope to see, Ynfante seemed to get stronger as his rookie season continued.

In his final month, August, Ynfante came very close to earning The Cardinal Nation’s Pitcher of the Month award after yielding no runs in 12 innings on 10 hits and six walks. He famed 10 on the way to a .227 batting average against. Perhaps the most impressive stat was his average of just 7.8 pitches per inning, half of the count of many of the month’s best.

Not unlike collegiate pitchers’ workloads being limited by the Cardinals in their first professional season, so it was with Ynfante in 2022. The right-hander averaged just under four innings per start in eight starts and 3 1/3 innings in four tandem relief appearances.

2023 outlook

As I often say and write about Tink Hence, who will appear much, much later in this countdown, I’d like to see how the pitcher will fare against a lineup for a second and third time. There is still plenty of time and perhaps that will occur in 2023.

At times, the Cardinals push prospects forward to the US after just one DSL season, but it is fairly rare. It is almost impossible to assess if Ynfante has already demonstrated the combination of skills and maturity to be ready for the big step to the Florida Complex League at this time.

Given Ynfante’s youth and the fact that 2022 was his first season, it seems more likely he will remain in the DSL Cardinals rotation to open 2023. But it won’t have to be in a tandem.

Future outlook

Please don’t hold us to these dates. If Ynfante graduates from the DSL for 2024, and can progress through the five US levels in four years, he would reach St. Louis by 2028.

That sounds like a long time from now – because it is – but take some solace in knowing that he will have just celebrated his 23rd birthday when reporting to spring camp in February 2028.

In this scenario, Ynfante will have been added to the 40-man roster no later than three months prior for Rule 5 protection.

But as Blake noted above, the risk level at this juncture is “extreme”. Still if Ynfante continues to develop on his current trajectory, others will join us in highlighting him down the road.

MLB debut: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: 2027

Our 2023 Top 50 series continues

To see the entire list of top Cardinals prospects, grading scales and remaining article schedule, click here. This includes the Top 50 countdown and 12 in-depth, follow-up articles breaking down the list.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 St. Louis Cardinals Prospects for 2023


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Mike Antico in His Own Words


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2022 National League Most Valuable Player – Paul Goldschmidt

photo: Paul Goldschmidt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Baseball Writers’ Association of America release

Here are the voting results of the 2022 National League Most Valuable Player Award. Ballots from two writers in each league city prior to postseason play are tabulated on a system that rewards 14 points for

first place, nine for second, eight for third, on down to one for 10th.

NL MVP 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Points
Paul Goldschmidt Cardinals 22 8 380
Manny Machado Padres 7 13 7 2 1 291
Nolan Arenado Cardinals 1 2 15 11 1 232
Freddie Freeman Dodgers 6 6 13 3 1 1 220
Mookie Betts Dodgers 1 1 14 4 6 3 1 154
Austin Riley Braves 5 9 6 4 2 1 116
J.T. Realmuto Phillies 3 8 2 6 7 98
Pete Alonso Mets 1 2 4 5 3 2 7 81
Francisco Lindor Mets 1 2 7 6 6 3 77
Sandy Alcantara Marlins 2 1 1 1 1 2 3 39
Trea Turner Dodgers 1 2 2 3 2 29
Dansby Swanson Braves 2 5 7 23
Michael Harris II Braves 1 1 1 9
Julio Urías Dodgers 1 8
Jeff McNeil Mets 1 3 6
Daniel Bard Rockies 1 2
Kyle Schwarber Phillies 1 2
Edwin Díaz Mets 2 2
Starling Marte Mets 1 1

It marks the 18th time a Cardinals player has been honored. St. Louis’ total of MVP winners is the most in the National League and second only to the New York Yankees ’20 in the American League. Goldschmidt joins a list that includes three-time winners Stan Musial (1943, 1946, 1948) and Albert Pujols (2005, 2008-09), plus Frankie Frisch (1931), Dizzy Dean (1934), Joe Medwick (1937), Mort Cooper (1942), Marty Marion (1944), Ken Boyer (1964), Orlando Cepeda (1967), Bob Gibson (1968), Joe Torre (1971), Keith Hernandez (1979, co-winner with Willie Stargell) and Willie McGee (1985).

Goldschmidt’s victory was the 17th for a first baseman in the NL, including all three victories by Pujols and one each by Musial (1946), whose other two victories came as an outfielder, Cepeda (1967) and Hernandez (1979, co-winner with Stargell, another first baseman). Other winners at that position were Frank McCormick (1940), Dolph Camilli (1941), Phil Cavarretta (1945), Willie McCovey (1969), Steve Garvey (1974), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Ryan Howard (2006), Joey Votto (2010) and Freddie Freeman (2020). The AL MVP Award has been won by a first baseman 15 times.

Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt, the runner-up in NL MVP voting in 2013 and 2015 with the Diamondbacks, is the fourth NL player and the eighth overall to have finished second in the voting twice before winning the BBWAA’s MVP Award for the first time. Others in the NL to do so were Stargell, a runner-up in 1971 and 1973 before winning in 1979; Andre Dawson, a runner-up in 1981 and 1983 before winning in 1987; and Pujols, a runner-up in 2002 and 2003 before winning in 2005 (and also in 2008 and 2009). In the AL, Lou Gehrig was a runner-up in 1931 and 1932 before winning in 1936 (he also won in 1927 before the BBWAA took over the award in 1931); Ted

Williams was a runner-up in 1941 and 1942 before winning in 1946 (and also in 1949); Alex Rodriguez was a runner-up in 1996 and 2002 before winning in 2003 (and also in 2005 and 2007) and Mike Trout was a runner-up in 2012 and 2013 before winning in 2014 (and also in 2016 and 2019).

Goldschmidt, Machado, Arenado, Freeman and Betts were named on all ballots.

Previous winners (* – Unanimous)

2021 Bryce Harper, Phillies; 2020 Freddie Freeman, Braves; 2019 Cody Bellinger, Dodgers; 2018 Christian Yelich, Brewers; 2017 Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins; 2016 Kris Bryant, Cubs; 2015 *Bryce Harper, Nationals; 2014 Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; 2013 Andrew McCutchen, Pirates; 2012 Buster Posey, Giants; 2011 Ryan Braun, Brewers; 2010 Joey Votto, Reds; 2009 *Albert Pujols, Cardinals; 2008 Albert Pujols, Cardinals; 2007 Jimmy Rollins, Phillies; 2006 Ryan Howard, Phillies; 2005 Albert Pujols, Cardinals; 2004 Barry Bonds, Giants; 2003 Barry Bonds, Giants; 2002 *Barry Bonds, Giants; 2001 Barry Bonds, Giants; 2000 Jeff Kent, Giants; 1999 Chipper Jones, Braves; 1998 Sammy Sosa, Cubs; 1997 Larry Walker, Rockies; 1996 *Ken Caminiti, Padres; 1995 Barry Larkin, Reds; 1994 *Jeff Bagwell, Astros; 1993 Barry Bonds, Giants; 1992 Barry Bonds, Pirates; 1991 Terry Pendleton, Braves; 1990 Barry Bonds, Pirates; 1989 Kevin Mitchell, Giants; 1988 Kirk Gibson, Dodgers; 1987 Andre Dawson, Cubs; 1986 Mike Schmidt, Phillies; 1985 Willie McGee, Cardinals; 1984 Ryne Sandberg, Cubs; 1983 Dale Murphy, Braves; 1982 Dale Murphy, Braves; 1981 Mike Schmidt, Phillies; 1980 *Mike Schmidt, Phillies; 1979 (Tie) Keith Hernandez, Cardinals, and Willie Stargell, Pirates; 1978 Dave Parker, Pirates; 1977 George Foster, Reds; 1976 Joe Morgan, Reds; 1975 Joe Morgan, Reds; 1974 Steve Garvey, Dodgers; 1973 Pete Rose, Reds; 1972 Johnny Bench, Reds; 1971 Joe Torre, Cardinals; 1970 Johnny Bench, Reds; 1969 Willie McCovey, Giants; 1968 Bob Gibson, Cardinals; 1967 *Orlando Cepeda, Cardinals; 1966 Roberto Clemente, Pirates; 1965 Willie Mays, Giants; 1964 Ken Boyer, Cardinals; 1963 Sandy Koufax, Dodgers; 1962 Maury Wills, Dodgers; 1961 Frank Robinson, Reds; 1960 Dick Groat, Pirates; 1959 Ernie Banks, Cubs; 1958 Ernie Banks, Cubs; 1957 Henry Aaron, Braves; 1956 Don Newcombe, Dodgers; 1955 Roy Campanella, Dodgers; 1954 Willie Mays, Giants; 1953 Roy Campanella, Dodgers; 1952 Hank Sauer, Cubs; 1951 Roy Campanella, Dodgers; 1950 Jim Konstanty, Phillies; 1949 Jackie Robinson, Dodgers; 1948 Stan Musial, Cardinals; 1947 Bob Elliott, Braves; 1946 Stan Musial, Cardinals; 1945 Phil Cavarretta, Cubs; 1944 Marty Marion, Cardinals; 1943 Stan Musial, Cardinals; 1942 Mort Cooper, Cardinals; 1941 Dolph Camilli, Dodgers; 1940 Frank McCormick, Reds; 1939 Bucky Walters, Reds; 1938 Ernie Lombardi, Reds; 1937 Joe Medwick, Cardinals; 1936 Carl Hubbell, Giants; 1935 Gabby Hartnett, Cubs; 1934 Dizzy Dean, Cardinals; 1933 Carl Hubbell, Giants;1932 Chuck Klein, Phillies; 1931 Frankie Frisch, Cardinals.

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 7, 2022

photo: Walker, Winn and Hence celebrate the win (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

By Luke Kotcher with Brian Walton

In Sunday’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, the National League defeated the AL. Jordan Walker doubled and plated two and Connor Thomas tossed a scoreless inning. Masyn Winn made a phenomenal play at shortstop and in an odd circumstance, Tink Hence retired Walker in the ninth.

Results from the Arizona Fall Stars game played Sunday, November 6th.

NL Fall Stars 9, AL Fall Stars 3

The NL Fall Stars topped the AL Fall Stars at Sloan Park on Sunday afternoon. All four Cardinals invited, Connor Thomas, Jordan Walker, Masyn Winn and Tink Hence, appeared in the 9-3 victory.

With a 1.59 ERA in the desert, Thomas was selected to be the starter for the NL. He tossed the first inning and only threw eight pitches, though not a single cutter. True to form, TCN’s no. 29 prospect worked quickly, recording two groundouts. Thomas also fanned Home Run Derby runner up Heston Kjerstad.

Connor Thomas

Walker started at designated hitter and hit cleanup. He flew out in the first and grounded out in the fourth. In the fifth, TCN’s no. 1 prospect doubled on a one hopper off the right-center wall to drive in two runs and capture the lead for his squad. Walker also popped out and flew out to go 1-for-5.

Jordan Walker

In the fifth, Winn entered as a pinch runner and came across on the Walker double. He remained in the game the rest of the way, going 0-for-2 with a flyout and groundout. Winn also made a great play at shortstop to throw a runner out.

Masyn Winn

Even though the home NL club led midway through the ninth, the game was extended to the bottom half to enable everyone to play. The AL was out of pitchers so NL star Hence came in for the AL and faced Walker. The DH gave the ball a ride to the warning track but it was caught. TCN’s no. 7 prospect threw 1/3 of an inning and surrendered a hit.

Tink Hence

After the game, the Cardinals duo discussed the unusual at-bat. It was the first time the two 2020 draft picks had ever faced one another – it hadn’t occurred before even in practices.

“He throws hard,” Walker said, ““He wants to challenge me. He likes to beat me with his best fastball. I knew it was going to be a hard fastball, so that’s what I was looking for.”

Walker concluded by saying, “I am looking forward to it. Number two (meeting) – I am going to get him next time!”

Here is a segment of the Hence-Walker post-game audio.

Cubs prospect Matt Mervis was named the Fall Stars MVP. The first basemen blasted a two-run homer to cap off a six-run fifth inning. The NL recorded 10 hits, three walks and the pitching fanned 13 batters.

Tuesday’s game: Salt River at Mesa, TBA vs. TBA 1:35 CT (The Rafters are off Monday) Thomas is scheduled to start next on Wednesday.

Related interview exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Jordan Walker in His Own Words

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Holliday Returns to Cardinals, Blake and Ward Promoted

photo: Matt Holliday (Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced their 2023 Major League coaching staff today (Sunday, November 6) with five newly-filled positions announced, along with six returning coaches, and Oliver Marmol, who will be entering his second season as the Redbirds manager.

Matt Holliday (USA TODAY Sports Images)

New to their positions on the 2023 staff will be Cardinals Hall of Famer and former outfielder Matt Holliday as Bench Coach, Dusty Blake as Pitching Coach, and Turner Ward as Hitting Coach.

In addition, Brandon Allen, a member of the Cardinals Minor League coaching staff, has been named Assistant Hitting Coach, and Julio Rangel, most recently a member of the Boston Red Sox staff, has been named Assistant Pitching Coach/Bullpen.

Returning coaching staff members include Patrick Elkins (Run Production), Stubby Clapp (1st Base), Ron “Pop” Warner (3rd Base), Willie McGee (Coach), Jamie Pogue (Bullpen Catcher) and Kleininger Teran (Bullpen Catcher).

Turner Ward (USA TODAY Sports)

Holliday, 42, who has recently been coaching at Oklahoma State University, will be entering his first coaching stint at the Major League level after a 15-year playing career that included seven All-Star selections and a World Series title with the Cardinals in 2011.

Ward, 57, has previously held the Hitting Coach position with Cincinnati (2019), Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-18) and Arizona (2014-15).  He joined the Cardinals Major League coaching staff this past season as Assistant Hitting Coach.

Dusty Blake (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Blake, 40, joined the Cardinals organization in 2021 as Pitching Strategist.  He served as the Pitching Coach for Duke University from 2018-20 and pitched collegiately for Appalachian State University.

Allen, 36, spent four seasons (2009-12) in the majors playing outfield for Arizona, Oakland and Tampa Bay.  He has been a member of the Cardinals minor league coaching staff since 2017, including the past three seasons as the Hitting Coach at Memphis (AAA).

Rangel, 47, has extensive coaching experience dating back to 2016 after a seven-year playing career in the New York Yankees minor league system from 1994-2000.  The Panama native served as the Red Sox Pitching Coordinator the last two seasons, and held the Major League Pitching Coach position for the Texas Rangers from 2019-20.

TCN notes

  • Holliday replaces Skip Schumaker, new manager of the Miami Marlins.
  • Ward replaces Jeff Albert, who declined to return.
  • Blake replaces Mike Maddux, who declined to return. He is rumored to be interested in the open Pitching Coach job with the Texas Rangers.
  • Allen replaces Ward. Triple-A Memphis will need a new hitting coach for 2023.
  • Rangel replaces Bryan Eversgerd, who was reassigned within the organization.

Related article

Read about Blake’s pre-Cardinals history and his pitching development philosophy here.

Collegiate Coaching Veteran Dusty Blake Joins Cardinals Staff

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Jordan Walker in His Own Words


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Arenado and Donovan Win National League Gold Gloves

photo: Brendan Donovan (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

This afternoon (Tuesday, November 1), third baseman Nolan Arenado and infielder/outfielder Brendan Donovan were named National League recipients of the 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence. The St. Louis Cardinals have had 99 Rawlings Gold Glove selections since the award originated in 1957—most among all MLB teams. It is the 32nd time the Cardinals have had multiple Gold Glove winners in the same season.

Arenado, 31, won his 10th consecutive career Gold Glove Award, taking home the hardware each year since debuting in 2013. He is the second player in MLB history, and first National League player, to win a Gold Glove Award in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (2001-10), and the 14th player in MLB history to win the coveted trophy in 10 consecutive years. This year’s win ties Arenado with Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for second-most career Gold Glove wins at the hot corner (Brooks Robinson, 16). Nolan also becomes the seventh infielder in MLB history with 10+ career Gold Glove selections and fourth infielder to win at least 10 straight awards (3B Robinson-16, SS Ozzie Smith-13, 1B Keith Hernandez-11).

Nolan Arenado

Arenado ranked first among MLB third basemen with a Cardinals record 42 double plays and second with 283 assists. He also ranked 2nd among all third basemen in Defensive Runs Saved (19) and Outs Above Average (15). Arenado joins Scott Rolen (2002-04, 2006), Terry Pendleton (1987, 1989) and Ken Boyer (1958-61, 1963) as third basemen to win multiple Gold Gloves with St. Louis.

Donovan, 25, won his first career Gold Glove Award and is the first National League player to win the award as a utility player after Rawlings announced the addition to its list of award recipients in September. He is the first Cardinal to win a Gold Glove in his rookie season and the first National League player to do so since Nolan Arenado with Colorado in 2013. Defensively, the majority of his innings came at second base (264.1), but he also logged innings at five other defensive positions including third base (189.0), left field (144.0), right field (143.0), first base (58.0) and shortstop (56.0). Earlier this season, Donovan became the only MLB player in the modern era (since 1900) to start at four different infield positions in the first four starts of his career.

Brendan Donovan

The versatile defender had just seven errors across 854.1 innings, with 49 double plays and four outfield assists. Donovan accumulated nine Defensive Runs Saved across six different positions, including eight at third base (ranked T6th-among all MLB players). He becomes the 29th different player in franchise history to be selected as a Gold Glove winner.

According to FanGraphs, the Cardinals ranked 4th among all MLB teams in Defensive Runs Saved in 2022 with 70 and 4th in Outs Above Average with 24, the only team to rank in the top four in both categories. Reigning National League Gold Glove winners Paul Goldschmidt and Tommy Edman were announced as 2022 Rawlings Gold Glove finalists on October 20, finishing in the top-three among NL first basemen and second basemen/utility players, respectively.

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners are selected by the managers of all 30 MLB teams and up to six of their respective coaches. Each manager and coach vote from a pool of qualified players in their League, but cannot vote for players from their own team. In 2013, Rawlings added the SABR Defensive Index (SDI) to the Gold Glove Award selection process, which comprises approximately 25% of the overall selection total, with the managers and coaches’ vote carrying the majority. To select the Utility Award winners, Rawlings collaborated with SABR to create a specialized defensive formula separate from the traditional selection process for the position winners.

Starting tonight, fans can vote for Arenado or Donovan to be named the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winner at Rawlings.com. A combination of the national fan vote and the SDI will determine who takes that honor. Voting will remain open through Wednesday, November 9 at 10:59 PM CT and the winners will be unveiled on Friday, November 11.

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2022 Cardinals Minors Leaders – Speed

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The Cardinal Nation’s Team Recaps and Top Players of 2022

Continuing our 16-year tradition, the staff of The Cardinal Nation will share our recaps of the 2022 season at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals system. We will also crown three award winners for each team – The Cardinal Nation Minor League Starting Pitchers, Relievers and Players of the Year.

We will unveil our selections, one team recap or award per day, every day, beginning on Monday, September 19, and running through late October. Club recaps are first, then the Dominican Summer League (DSL) Reliever of the Year and all the way through the Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year.

Several special awards will be added and of course, our top selections for the entire Cardinals minor league system for 2022 as well as the best-performing rookies and top emerging and comeback players follow. The series will continue with our choice as the top manager in the organization and conclude with the system’s top hitting and pitching performers by various statistical measures.

Those at the keyboard are our team of locally-based reporters – covering every Cardinals minor league affiliate first-hand – as they select the very best of the best at each level and overall, from approximately 250 players.

TCN staff include James Brisentine (Memphis), Nicole Walker (Springfield), Matt Lucas (Peoria) and Kevin Garcia (Palm Beach). Veteran TCN analysts Leonda Markee will recap 2022 for the Dominican Summer League Cards and Blake Newberry will single out the top first-year players and stats leaders. Brian Walton pinch-hits for ailing Paul Ivice with the Florida Complex League as well as selecting various cross-system awards.

Note: While the team reports and all winning names will be made available to everyone as this master article is updated daily, the detailed commentary behind most of the player awards in this series will be exclusively for The Cardinal Nation members . All major league articles will again be free for all.

This 40-article series will include analysis from our local reporters as well as comments by scouts, Cardinals players, coaches and executives. We explain what tradeoffs were made and what we saw in the best players to take the field at each level of the Cardinals system during the 2022 season.

Again, we begin the process with a daily series recapping each minor league club’s 2022 season in depth, looking at records, injuries, player movement, key stats and much more. Once they are published, you can click on the highlighted team names below to read those articles if you missed them the first time.

2022 The Cardinal Nation Award Winners/Schedule

Team Writer Team recap Reliever Starter Player
DSL UConn Card free to read Bruno Lopez Alexander Beltre Anyelo Encarnacion
FL Complex Brian Walton free to read Victor Villanueva Jose Davila Samil De La Rosa
Palm Beach Kevin Garcia free to read Andrew Marrero Inohan Paniagua Brady Whalen
Peoria Matt Lucas free to read Nick Trogrlic-Iverson Zane Mills L.J. Jones
Springfield Nicole Walker free to read Dalton Roach Gordon Graceffo Moises Gomez
Team Writer Team recap Reliever Starter Player
Memphis James Brisentine free to read Freddy Pacheco Tommy Parsons Alec Burleson
Writer Reliever Starter Player
Top Rookies Blake Newberry Matt Hickey Jimmy Crooks
Top Players Brian Walton Freddy Pacheco Gordon Graceffo Moises Gomez
Writer Pitcher Player
Emerging Brian Walton Jose Moreno L.J. Jones
Comeback Brian Walton Gustavo Rodriguez Clint Coulter
Manager Brian Walton Gary Kendall
of the Year
Writer Counting stats Rate stats Speed
Pitching leaders Blake Newberry click here click here
Offensive leaders Blake Newberry click here click here click here
Defensive leaders Blake Newberry click here

(Note that because the Triple-A season schedule runs later than the other levels, the Memphis articles will follow the other five teams.)

Click on the player name highlighted in the table above to be taken to that detailed article. In addition, select each team name to read the 2022 overall summary for that level.

Then, join the daily discussion at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, as each selection is unveiled.

If you ever forget the location of this article, you can always use the permanent link on The Cardinal Nation homepage. Underneath the site logo in the left column, click on “Season Recaps/Top Players”, and select the year.

Our annual Cardinals Top 50 Prospect Ranking countdown for 2023 will begin in November after this series concludes. Please remember that the two processes are separate and distinct.

This effort is to recognize the top performances on the field in 2022, whether or not the players are projected to have a major league future down the road. In other words, this is all about current year results at the assigned level of play, not future potential.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Tread Water with Injuries


Closeout Sale – 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! The latter is now on closeout for 20% off!

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Blowout Sale on The Cardinal Nation 2022 Prospect Guide!

Gat an early start on your Holiday shopping, but don’t wait!

The very popular printed book version of The Cardinal Nation’s 2022 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect Guide is now on sale at 20% off!

You can get your copy of the 276-page spiral-bound Guide for just $31.95 – as long as they last.  USPS Media Mail shipping is included at no additional charge. Order today and your book will be shipped no later than tomorrow!

No sale code is required. The lower price is already reflected on the purchase page. All major credit cards are accepted with no PayPal account required.

This offer is good until the printed Guides are gone, then that will be it for another year. Another printing is not planned, though the PDF version will remain for sale.

Click here for full details on the 276-page Guide, including customer testimonials, and for the link to place your order. Don’t wait or this limited time offer will be gone!

Engine No. 42 Silenced Forever

photo: Bruce Sutter (USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals organization, and baseball fans everywhere, were saddened today (Friday, October 14) to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Howard “Bruce” Sutter at the age of 69. Sutter, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006, was just the fourth reliever enshrined, and the first player to have never started a game to be elected. Sutter was a six-time All-Star and the 1979 N.L. Cy Young Award winner. His uniform number 42 is one of 14 numbers retired by the Cardinals.

Bruce Sutter, 1982 World Series

“On behalf of the Cardinals organization and baseball fans everywhere, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the Sutter family,” said Cardinals’ Principal Owner & Chief Executive Officer Bill DeWitt, Jr. “Bruce was a fan-favorite during his years in St. Louis and in the years to follow, and he will always be remembered for his 1982 World Series clinching save and signature split-fingered pitch. He was a true pioneer in the game, changing the role of the late inning reliever.”

Sutter pitched for the Cardinals from 1981 to 1984. Acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Dec. 9, 1980, in exchange for first baseman Leon Durham, third baseman Ken Reitz and minor-league third baseman Ty Waller, Sutter proved to be a key acquisition for general manager and manager Whitey Herzog in his transformation of the Cardinals from underachievers to World Champions.

During the strike-shortened 1981 season, Sutter saved 25 games – the most by a St. Louis pitcher since the save became an officially recognized statistic in 1969. Chants of “Bruuuuuce!” bellowed throughout Busch Stadium every time he ran in from the bullpen. Sutter recorded 36 saves in 1982 and struck out Gorman Thomas of the Milwaukee Brewers to wrap up Game 7 of the World Series.

Bruce Sutter, July 30, 2006

Sutter debuted with the Chicago Cubs in 1976. He won the 1979 N.L. Cy Young Award after amassing 37 saves and a 2.22 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 101.3 innings pitched. He was only the third reliever to be so honored, following Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974 and Sparky Lyle of the New York Yankees in 1977.

In 12 major-league seasons, Sutter totaled 300 saves to rank third on baseball’s all-time list at the time of his retirement. He worked more than one inning for 188 of his rescues and surpassed 100 innings pitched in a season on five occasions, with one more year at 99. Sutter led the Senior Circuit in saves in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1984. He was a six-time All-Star – appearing in four games and earning two wins (1978 and 1979) and two saves (1980 and 1981) while not allowing a run – and received the Rolaids Relief Man Award four times. His career ended in 1988 after pitching in three seasons for the Atlanta Braves.

Sutter’s four-year St. Louis save total of 127 established a franchise record and now ranks fourth behind Jason Isringhausen (217), Lee Smith (160) and Todd Worrell (129). Sutter was voted the relief pitcher on the All-Busch Stadium II team in 2005 and was an inaugural member of the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame in 2014.

Sutter was born on January 8, 1953 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife, Jamye, sons Josh, Chad and Ben; daughter-in-law Amanda Sutter, and his six grandchildren.

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Cardinals Name Koperniak and Marrero Top August Minor Leaguers

photo: Andrew Marrero (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Springfield Cardinals outfielder Matt Koperniak and Palm Beach reliever Andrew Marrero are the St. Louis Cardinals organization’s selections as August Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Sunday, September 4) their selections for Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August, with Springfield Cardinals (AA) outfielder Matt Koperniak and Palm Beach Cardinals (A) right-handed reliever Andrew Marrero receiving the honors.

Matt Koperniak

Koperniak, 24, led all qualified Cardinals minor leaguers with a .371 average (33-for-89), a 1.091 OPS and ranked first for the month in hits, home runs (6), RBI (22), extra-base hits (13) and total bases (60) across 22 games.  He became the third player in Springfield’s history to hit for the cycle, while tying a career-high with four RBI on August 9 at Amarillo.  He is the fourth different Springfield player to earn Player of the Month honors this season.

“Matt’s strong play in August was highlighted by his productive OPS, including his selection as Texas League Player of the Week for August 8-14,” said Cardinals Assistant GM & Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque.

The 6’0”, left-handed hitter was signed by the organization as a non-drafted free agent in June 2020 after playing four years of collegiate baseball at Trinity College (CT).  He was selected as an organizational All-Star by MiLB.com in 2021 after ranking in the Top 10 among all Cardinals minor leaguers in average, on-base percentage, OPS and hits.  For the season, Koperniak is slashing .292/.366/.451/.816 with 12 doubles, 14 HR, 58 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 102 games for Springfield (100) and Memphis (2).

Andrew Marrero

Marrero, 22, led all Cardinals minor leaguer pitchers with 0.63 WHIP and ranked third with 0.71 ERA (minimum 10.0 IP), while striking out 24 of 47 batters faced.  He also tallied six saves in August, the most by a Cardinals minor leaguer in a single month this season.  The 5’10” right-hander limited opponents to a .119 average and .358 OPS over 12 relief appearances (12.2 IP), allowing just five hits (one extra-base hit) and three walks.

“Andrew’s outstanding month of August has helped Palm Beach compete for a Florida State League playoff berth,” stated LaRocque.

Selected by the Cardinals in the 18th round of the 2021 Draft out of the University of Connecticut, the New Haven, Conn. native ranks first among Cardinals minor league pitchers with a 1.36 ERA with a minimum of 30.0 IP.  His 10 saves are second-most in the Cardinals minor league system this season as well.  He has struck out 52 batters across 33.0 innings this season, averaging 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings.  This is Marrero’s first career Pitcher of the Month award and first for a Palm Beach reliever since Luke Gregerson in August 2007.

Related articles

Earlier, The Cardinal Nation selected Koperniak and Marrero as our Player and Pitcher of the Month, as well. Read these articles for details on both the winners as well as other top candidates across the system.

The Cardinal Nation’s August Player of the Month – Matt Koperniak

The Cardinal Nation’s August Pitcher of the Month – Andrew Marrero


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Cardinals Saturday, September 3 Transactions

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Cardinals Replace Helsley with Romero in Bullpen

photo: JoJo Romero (Dilip Vishwanat/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals have placed right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Helsley on Paternity Leave and have recalled LHP JoJo Romero from Memphis (AAA).  Infielder/outfielder Juan Yepez was activated from the 10-day Injured List and optioned to Memphis (AAA).  Catcher Ivan Herrera will join the team in Arizona as a member of the Taxi Squad.

Ryan Helsley

Helsley, 28, has been the Cardinals top relief pitcher this season, leading the team with 12 saves and all National League relief pitchers in wins (7), ERA (0.91), opponent BA (.120), WHIP (0.66) and baserunners/9 IP (5.98).   He will miss a minimum of one day and a maximum of three days on the Paternity List.

JoJo Romero

Romero, 25, was acquired by the Cardinals from the Phillies in exchange for infielder Edmundo Sosa on July 30.  Romero pitched in two Major League games (0-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.0 IP) with Philadelphia in 2022 and has 25 career MLB appearances.  In three appearances with Memphis, Romero has allowed just one hit over 10 total batters faced without allowing a run.

Juan Yepez

Yepez, 24, was removed from the 10-day injured list with a right forearm strain.  The infielder/outfielder has missed 25 games since July 14.  He recently completed an injury rehabilitation assignment to Memphis playing in five games splitting time between right field and first base.

Iván Herrera

Herrera, 22, has played in 11 Major League games with the Cardinals earlier this season making his Major League debut vs. Toronto on May 24.  In Memphis, Herrera was batting .276 with 3 HR and 24 RBI over 46 games.

Romero will wear uniform No. 59 and be active for tonight’s game in Phoenix.  Herrera wears uniform No. 47.

Friday minor league moves

Class-A Palm Beach added two pitchers to its roster on Friday.

  • LHP Alex Cornwell was activated from Palm Beach’s 7-day injured list.
  • LHP Ómar Sánchez was promoted from the Florida Complex League to Palm Beach.

Alex Cornwell

Cornwell had been on Pam Beach’s IL since July 28. The 23-year-old began the season in Palm Beach’s pen, but moved into the rotation on June 21 and had much better results since. In seven starts, the 2021 15th rounder has a 3.86 ERA and 39 strikeouts against just five walks in 37 1/3 innings.

Omar Sanchez

Sanchez, 20, spent all of this season to date in the FCL, his second summer there. In 14 relief appearances, the lefty posted a solid 1.53 ERA with 17 strikeouts but walked 13 in 17 innings. The native of Puerto Rico was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in June 2020.

For more

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TCN owner Brian Walton and scouting analyst Jake Tweedie provide individual player profiles featuring scouting reports, probable 2022 team assignment, Rule 5 status, estimated MLB arrival, ultimate potential and more.

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Cardinals Conclude 2022 Draft with 10 Picks

photo: Nathan Church (Matt Brown/Cal Irvine)

By Jake Tweedie and Brian Walton

On Tuesday, July 19, the St. Louis Cardinals are making their final 10 selections in the third day of the 2022 First-Year Player Draft, covering rounds 11-20.

Though uninformed observers pay little attention to Day 3 selections, the reality is that many good major leaguers are sourced from these picks. In fact, the Cardinals have been especially successful over the years finding talent in round 11 and later.

The Cardinals would be required to use a portion of their $6,845,900 pool allocation from rounds 1-10 to cover any harder-to-sign any Day 3 selections who receive more than $125,000 in signing bonus.

It remains to be seen if the Cardinals go down this path in 2022, but last year, they spent an extra $175,000 to sign 11th round shortstop Mack Chambers and 12th round pitcher Chris Gerard.

On Days 1 and 2 of the 2022 Draft, the Cardinals clearly focused on pitchers, using seven of the 10 picks there. Of the 10 collegians added to date, just two are seniors (taken in the eighth and 10th rounds), apparently leaving less opportunity to save money to allow overpaying selected Day 3 picks.

On the other hand, through 10 rounds, the Cardinals have not yet selected a high schooler. If they want to go after such a higher upside, higher risk teenager at all, it could be in the early rounds of Day 3 or it could be at the end of the draft as a relief valve if a large deal for an earlier pick falls through and bonus money remains unexpectedly.

For More

Click on each player’s photo to be taken to his player profile page here at The Cardinal Nation, with additional information.

To reference the Cardinals’ new draft class on an ongoing basis, each player will have a profile located on a holding team called “DRAFT PLAYERS UNSIGNED”. This can be accessed at the bottom of the drop-down menu in the red column in the left menu called “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES” or click here.

St. Louis Cardinals Select Eight in Day 2 of 2022 Draft

Cardinals Begin Draft with Selection of College Southpaw Hjerpe

As Tuesday progresses from afternoon into evening, this article will be updated as picks are made and information added, so please check back often.

Tuesday recap by the numbers

In Day 3, the Cardinals selected five college juniors, four seniors with their final pick a high schooler. Six of the 10 players are pitchers, all but one right-handers, plus two outfielders and two shortstops.

Across all three days of the draft, St. Louis chose 13 college underclassmen, six seniors and the lone high schooler. 13 of the 20 picks call the mound home – nine righties and four lefties.  The seven position players chosen are made up of one catcher, two shortstops and four outfielders.

Expect signings to start to be announced very quickly, as such discussions customarily begin in advance of the draft. Usually when teams select players, they already know what the signing cost will be.

Note of gratitude: To provide detail while Jake Tweedie’s scouting reports are being prepared, the general statistical information for each player below has been sourced from St. Louis Cardinals Player Development.

St. Louis’ 2022 Day 3 selections

11th round, 337th overall
Nathan Church, OF
Cal Irvine, senior
5’11, 180 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/L

Nathan Church

In three seasons with the Anteaters, Church slashed .341/.405/.515 with 55 extra base hits, 104 RBI and 114 runs over 120 games. As a junior in 2021, he set the single-season program record for hits (100) and was named to the All-Big West First Team.

Scouting report

An impressive bat-to-ball hitter, Church has shown a feel for the barrel and has done so by averaging over .300 in his three seasons with Cal Irvine. He potentially has the power to match his corner outfield role, as shown by 11 home runs in the past two seasons.

His ability to get on base has been accompanied by his ability to avoid strikeouts. This will work in his favor as he develops, as he reads pitches well and he has drawn plenty of walks.

Although there is plenty to work on regarding his ability to find gaps on a more consistent basis to pick up extra base hits, Church has shown that he can get scrappy if need be to grind out hits consistently.

The former First Team Freshman All American will provide the Cardinals with a consistent hitter with raw potential to make big plays. If Church can refine his swing to allow him to find gaps more regularly, he could prove to be a valuable pick up in Round 11.

12th round, 367th overall
Michael Curialle, SS
UCLA, junior
6’2, 199 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Michael Curialle

Michael Curialle (Scott Chandler/UCLA)

Curialle was a three-year starter for the Bruins, who slashed .319/.395/.479 with 25 extra base hits, 41 RBI and 49 runs scored last year as a junior. He started at six different positions last season and was named to the 2022 All-Pac-12 Tournament Team.

Scouting report

The second player drafted from UCLA by the Cardinals, Curialle is a versatile hitter who has played in every position apart from pitcher, catcher and first base. Although he hasn’t been consistent in one position, his bat certainly makes up for it and he excelled in 2022 with an improved batting average (.319) and more home runs (5).

Curialle closed the 2022 season by making the first ever PAC-12 All-Tournament Team due to his continued improvements and his ability to be a dynamic utility man.

There needs to be improvements in his ability to read pitches, as evidenced by 113 strikeouts in the past two seasons, although he generated a higher power output in that same time.

Curialle is a solid gap hitter, decent runner and regularly makes contact with the ball. He stole nine bases in 2022, to match his five home runs, part of his 20 extra base hits. His simple, linear swing produces frequent line drives, as well as an advanced approach to find the gaps in the field. Complemented by his solid bat speed, he has shown progression in barreling the ball, hence his increase in home runs.

The versatile defender shows athleticism and speed to make plays. This could work for him but sticking in one position, preferably in center field.

13th round, 397th overall
Chandler Arnold, RHP
Dallas Baptist, junior
6’2, 189 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Chandler Arnold

Chandler Arnold (Dallas Baptist University)

Arnold appeared in 20 games last season (eight starts) and notched 8 saves while averaging 10.8 SO/9. He transferred to Dallas Baptist from Odessa College after his freshman season in which he earned First Team All-Conference honors.

Scouting report

A key member of the bullpen in 2021, Arnold’s workload has shift to a more hybrid role with Dallas Baptist by starting eight games in 2022. He had an increase in innings pitched, but still managed eight saves in a season that made him use his pitching arsenal more consistently than previously.

Although Arnold’s ERA increased to 5.29 in 2022, he shows plenty of potential with his three-pitch mix to continue in a starting role. His fastball works in the mid-90s, touching 98 mph, as he works out of an over the top pitching action, using his size to create a steep angle.

His breaking balls consist of a slider and a changeup. His slider sits in the mid-80s, showing a two-plane bite that encourages hitters to swing at, with a whiff of 44%. Although his changeup hasn’t settled at a consistent velocity, it can vary between mid-80s to upper-80s, it has sudden fade and depth and complements his fastball well.

There is a lot to like about Arnold,  whether as a reliever or a starter, due to his ability to make hitters whiff at his pitches. His size and build encourages further growth, which could help his fastball become a lot more dominant.

14th round, 427th overall
D.J. Carpenter, RHP
Oregon State University, junior
6’8, 242 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

D.J. Carpenter

D.J. Carpenter (Oregon State University)

The 6’8″ Carpenter pitched in 22 games last season, all in relief, finishing with a 2-3 record and averaged 11.5 SO/9. Prior to this year, he pitched for two seasons at Central Arizona College where he helped lead the Vaqueros to a NJCAA championship.

Scouting report

Although Carpenter struggled in his first full season with Oregon State, he possesses multiple qualities that could help him be a useful addition to the bullpen. He had an ERA of 7.77 in 22 appearances from the bullpen in 2022, but he struck out 31 hitters in just 24 1/3 innings.

With a frame of 6’8, and weighing at 242 pounds, Carpenter could be dominant on the mound in the middle innings if he could be consistent at pounding the strike zone.

Sitting around the low-90s with his fastball, there is plenty of projection to hit mid-90s on a regular basis. Carpenter pairs this well with his fading, mid-80s changeup due to his arm speed deception and movement with the pitch. His slider has plenty of bite around the low-80s but there is room for further development and improvement with his control and velocity as he continues to develop his pitches.

15th round, 457th overall
Matt Hickey, RHP
Tarleton State University, senior
6’1, 165 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/R

Matt Hickey

Matt Hickey (Gabi Cortez/Tarleton State)

Hickey played four seasons at Weatherford College, making 43 appearances across his career with a 3.39 ERA, before transferring to Tarleton State for his final season. In 21 games for the Texans last season, he went 2-2 with 40 SO and just 7 BB in 32.0 innings pitched.

Scouting report

Hickey is an unconventional pitcher due to his ability to mix up his pitching angle. He has the normal over the top pitch, but his side arm pitch has drawn plenty of notice. This allows him to make it harder for hitters as he can mix it up mid at bat, starting with a higher slot to make the pitch harder to read, before changing to sidearm to control the movement of his pitches.

Hickey could add something different to what the Cardinals have picked up, although he matches the profile of having a high strikeout to walk ratio. This is largely down to his varying pitching angle, but when he comes from over the top, he does so with conviction and reaches up to 97 mph.

His stats didn’t look great in 2022, including an ERA of 6.97, but he has projectable pitches and his unique technique makes his offering a lot harder for hitters to read. Hickey has good action, generating weak contact, and he can work around the strike zone with success.

16th round, 487th overall
Hunter Hayes, RHP
University of the Pacific, junior
6’1, 185 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes (Timothy Thymes/University of the Pacific)

As a junior this season, Hayes led the Tigers in games started (14), innings pitched (64 2/3) and strikeouts (55). He previously pitched for Folsom Lake College (CA) his freshman season before transferring to Pacific.

Scouting report

Hayes shows various degrees of reliability and projectability.

Although he wasn’t overly successful, with an ERA of 6.82, he has shown his ability to work well into games, completing five innings or more in eight starts in 2022.

Hayes’ decrease in workload in 2022 allowed him to showcase what he can do coming out of bullpen to match his potential as a starting pitcher. He led his team in multiple stats in 2022 despite being used both as a starter and out of the bullpen. His season highlight was when he struck out nine hitters in just 5 2/3 innings.

Hayes seems to be slotting into the role of middle reliever due to his reliability and consistency, but there is still plenty of projection for his frame and size that can only continue to keep improving.

17th round, 517th overall
Brody Moore, SS
Auburn University, senior
5’11, 183 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Brody Moore

Brody Moore (Auburn University)

In his four seasons with the Tigers, Moore slashed .299/.356/.397 with 35 extra base hits, 83 RBI and 88 runs. Went 5-for-5 with 2 BB on 6/4 vs. FSU, becoming the first Auburn player since 2016 to record 5 H in a game and the first player in program history to reach base 7 times.

Scouting report

The solid hitter and fielder from Auburn has shown that there is plenty to like about him. Moore made just four errors in 217 fielding chances, proving his defensive worth, however it comes at a cost of minimal real power in his shots.

Although his batting average declined slightly in the past few seasons, he still has a solid bat-to-ball ratio that shows he hit the ball well. He doubled his home run tally from 2021, showing some degree of raw power, albeit not consistently.

Moore picked up six stolen bases in eight attempts in 2022 and he also became the first Auburn player since 2016 to record five hits in a game and the first player in program history to reach base seven times. After finishing his Auburn career with an average of .314, he heads to the Cardinals as a consistent bat-to-ball player.

18th round, 547th overall
Jack Lynch, LHP
Xavier University, junior
5’11, 190 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/L

Jack Lynch

Jack Lynch (Xavier University)

As a junior for the Musketeers this season, Lynch went 9-0 with a 2.66 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 28 relief appearances (64.1 IP). The Dallas native was named to the All-Big East First Team and ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region Second Team.

Scouting report

Lynch was named as John in the MLB Draft, but Jack heads to the Cardinals full of promise after an impressive season with Xavier. He lead Xavier with 28 appearances, albeit with no starts, but he picked up nine wins in the process with an ERA of 2.80. In his most productive season, he pitched 64 1/3 innings as he struck out 77 hitters.

In three seasons at Xavier, Lynch had a 3.60 ERA through 45 appearances, including a career-best ERA of 1.69 in 2020. In 90 innings of work, he collected 101 strikeouts while allowing just 40 walks and limited opposing batters to a .202 average at the plate.

The lefty has shown impressive progression in his time at Xavier and will be a valuable asset to the bullpen if he can continue to do what he did at Xavier.

19th round, 577th overall
Chris Rotondo, OF
Villanova University, senior
6’0, 200 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Chris Rotondo

Chris Rotondo (Villanova University)

Rotondo slashed .359/.475/.656 with 30 extra base hits, 37 RBI, 59 runs and 14 SB for the Wildcats this season. The right-handed hitting centerfielder was named to the All-Big East First Team and ABCA/Rawlings All-East Region Second Team.

Scouting report

Probably the best player since 2019 at Villanova, where Gordon Graceffo was among his teammates, Rotondo is a fifth year player whose batting average and batting output improved significantly in 2022. He averaged .359 this spring, with 12 home runs and was second in the Big East in both wRC+ and WAR.

Rotondo’s advanced swing and ability to limit his strikeouts enabled him to see more of the ball and make consistent contact. He reduced his chasing of breaking balls in 2022, but seems far more comfortable against fastballs. Although this may change when he enters pro ball, his bat swing allowed him to hit the ball hard, averaging 96.1 mph with his air EV. His max EV was 111.6 mph, showing impressive bat-to-ball skills, and did so with plenty of force. He can struggle with balls to the opposite field, thus limiting his output, but he has plenty of potential with his power alone.

Defensively he could man the corner outfield due to his power bat and above average arm, although his accuracy isn’t the best. Rotondo has the potential to make regular contact, plus having a power bat, he will just need to continue to do so at a higher level.

20th round, 607th overall
Gavin Van Kempen, RHP
Maple Hill High School, NY
6’6, 215 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Gavin Van Kempen

Gavin Van Kempen

During his senior season, the 6’6″ right-hander posted a 6-1 record with a 0.59 ERA. He threw two no-hitters and struck out 94 batters in 35.2 innings of work. He signed his letter of intent to play baseball next season at West Virginia.

Scouting report

The last pick of 2022 for the Cardinals came in the shape of Van Kempen. He is a high school graduate from Maple Hill, and hails from Carleton, NY. He has committed to West Virginia University.

During his senior season, Van Kempen had an ERA of just 0.59 with a 6-1 record. He threw two no-hitters and his strikeout rate is hugely impressive. He had 94 strikeouts in just 35 2/3 innings as he allowed just seven hits.

His main pitch is his fastball. He can average in the low to mid-90s and with his size and frame already should project to at least top in the high-90s in a few years time.

The first and only prep player picked by the Cardinals could head to St Louis with one of the best pitching records in 2022. Whether he commits to WVU or the Cardinals come up with enough money convince him to go into professional ball instead will be extremely interesting to see but Van Kempen is a player who definitely has a lot of potential.

Your authors

TCN analyst Jake Tweedie is writing the player scouting reports and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.


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St. Louis Cardinals Select Eight in Day 2 of 2022 Draft

photo: Pete Hansen (University of Texas)

By Jake Tweedie and Brian Walton

The second of three days of the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, with the St. Louis Cardinals selections’ being made by AGM/Scouting Director Randy Flores, consists of eight selections in rounds 3-10 on Monday, July 18.

St. Louis’ initial Day 2 selection is University of Texas pitcher Pete Hansen, the Cardinals’ third consecutive left-handed college-trained arm.

Overall, encompassing these eight picks and the first two round selections named on Sunday, left-handed pitchers Cooper Hjerpe and Brycen Mautz, the Cardinals have been allocated $6,845,900, a signing bonus total which they will not exceed by more than 5%.

See full 2022 Draft Day 1 details here.

Cardinals Begin Draft with Selection of College Southpaw Hjerpe

 For more

Return to this article at The Cardinal Nation often on Monday afternoon and evening as information about all St. Louis’ draft picks will be posted shortly after they are made.

All Rounds 3-20 player scouting reports are written by The Cardinal Nation analyst Jake Tweedie.

Update: Draft day 2 recap

As expected given the needs in the system, the Cardinals went heavy on pitching, with seven of the first 10 selections.

Further, the early focus was on left-handers, taken in rounds 1 through 3. The slot values of those three picks represent almost 75% of the organization’s signing budget for rounds 1-10.

Along with the seven pitchers are two outfielders and a catcher, with no infielders yet selected. Continuing the theme, all three hitters swing from the left side at the plate.

St. Louis passed over high schoolers completely with eight college underclassmen and two college seniors taken. The latter are likely money-saving picks made in the eighth and 10th rounds.

Five of the 10 new draft picks call the State of California home, including all three initially-chosen lefties. Two  hail from Texas and one each is from Georgia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

St. Louis’ selections – 2022 Draft Day 2

Third round, 97th overall
Pete Hansen, LHP
University of Texas, junior
6’2, 205 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/L

Pete Hansen

Scouting report

The lefty out of Texas has certainly excelled in the past couple of years. He has pitched nearly 200 innings in 31 starts, including a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts this season. This shows his reliability and ability to work through innings despite lacking real conviction with his fastball.

He does, however, show plenty of potential with his breaking balls, culminating in 120 strikeouts (in 107 2/3 innings) in 2022, 40 more punchouts than his total in 2021. This came largely in part due to a slight increase in velocity with his fastball, but mainly due to his solid curveball and slider.

Hansen’s fastball works around the upper-80s, topping out at 90mph, and plays up due to his breaking balls. He did see a slight dip in velocity in last year but is now working around the 90mph mark. He shows impressive levels of control with his fastball, regularly finding the zone with a minimal effort delivery.

He can certainly bring the velocity down with his change up, that sits around low-80s, showing various degrees of fade and sink.

The most impressive part of his pitching arsenal is his breaking balls. Potentially a plus delivery, his slider shows plenty of movement both vertically and horizontally, and sits around the low-80s. He follows this up with his equally impressive curveball, that sits around the mid-70s and is highly effective due to its depth.

Hansen isn’t the most exciting of pitchers when it comes to velocity and power, but his effectiveness and consistency makes him a useful pick-up for the Cardinals. He is a reliable pitcher with a smooth, simple delivery that requires minimal effort. He has shown the ability to sneak a bit more velocity into his fastball, and coupled with his control, could prove to be a valuable tool moving forward.

Hansen is a high floor pitcher with plenty to give, there are high chances of him being in the Majors within the next few years.

The pool amount for this pick is $629,800.

Fourth round, 127th overall
Jimmy Crooks, C
University of Oklahoma, junior
6’1, 210 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/R

Jimmy Crooks

Scouting report

The offensive oriented catcher has certainly showcased his ability to make plays as both a catcher and a designated hitter with his bat.

Although Crooks has been deemed more of a hitter than a catcher, his fielding percentage has been impressive at Oklahoma, albeit with some regression to his power. He threw out 20 of 45 attempted base stealers in 2022.

A solid defender, Crooks has improved his skills behind the plate to shape up to the ball better and receive pitches with a more open stance. This has allowed him to work on his throwing mechanics and utilize his strength in his arm. He looks far more comfortable behind the plate, albeit with the occasional mistake.

Jimmy Crooks (University of Oklahoma)

As a hitter, Crooks has a solid, compact left handed stroke. He can swing his bat with conviction and when he barrels the ball he makes impressive contact. However, he can be fairly susceptible to breaking balls, where his quick bat speed and elevated look can see him miss pitches lower in the zone. When the ball is elevated and coming at him with velocity, his swing-time seems far more consistent and make solid contact with the ball.

Although his home run output decreased slightly in 2022, it seemed to coincide with him being more comfortable as a catcher.  This past spring, Crooks slashed .305/.430/.506/.936 with nine home runs, 21 doubles, 51 RBI and even stole 10 bases in 69 games.

Crooks has a solid build, and utilizes this well with his bat power and arm strength. He has plenty of room to grow and there could easily be an increase in his power output. There already seems to be improvements with his bat swing, showing to be more refined in 2022, and this will continue to improve as he works on barreling the ball later in the swing. He has natural lift with his bat, that works alongside his projectable power, he just needs to be more consistent with breaking balls and work around the zone.

The pool amount for this pick is $470,300.

Fifth round, 157th overall
Victor Scott II, outfielder
West Virginia University
5’11, 190 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/L

Victor Scott

Scouting report

An intriguing pick by the Cardinals in Round 5, Scott wasn’t ranked on MLB.com’s prospect rankings for this draft. However, he has made waves with his speed and ability to hit the ball with power.

His stats alone from West Virginia has been impressive, going from a batting average of .232 in 2021 to .278 in 2022. This coincides with significantly more extra base hits and more homers to match. Scott slashed .278/.397/.454/.851 including 20 extra base hits, 47 RBI and 35 walks taken in 55 games in 2022.

His ability to get bat and ball put him on base more regularly, but his true skill set seems to be on the bases.

Victor Scott (West Virginia University)

With 58 stolen bases in two seasons, including a school-record 38 this spring. Scott has continuously impressed with his on-base running ability. His lightning speed, matched with his loose hands, average bat speed and ability to use the whole field makes him an exciting prospect for the Cardinals.

As well as being a solid hitter, his defensive skills have certainly been showcased these past couple of years. Scott seems to make catches that are made for highlight reels. Picking off home runs with remarkable leaps, and making plays with dives around the outfield shows Scott has all the potential to be an everyday player in the Majors. He reduced his errors in 2022, and his fielding percentage increased significantly.

Scott may have been a surprise pick in Round 5 but he has recently showed vast improvements in all aspects of his game to justify it.

The pool amount for this pick is $350,400.

Sixth round, 187th overall
Max Rajcic, RHP
UCLA, sophomore
6’0, 210 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Max Rajcic

Scouting report

There is plenty to like about Rajcic after his selection in Round 6.

An effective closer in 2021, he had 7 saves in 24 appearances, with an ERA of 1.65. He struck out 36 hitters in 32 2/3 innings pitched, and allowed just a solitary home run.

However, the Rajcic of 2022 was significantly different. He made the transition to the rotation and didn’t look out of place doing so. Finishing with an 8-5 record, and an ERA of 3.28, he struck out 92 hitters in 85 innings pitched as the Friday night starter. His best outing was eight innings of one-hit ball with 14 strikeouts against Washington State on May 15.

Although he may be used as a reliever in the future, Rajcic has shown the potential to be an effective starter when required. The one downside to his pitching is his lack of real plus pitch. He is a consistent pitcher with the ability to pick up strikes, using his four-pitch mix effectively, but none of his pitches would be graded above an average.

Of his pitching arsenal, his fastball seems the most impressive. He averages low-90s regularly, with the ability to run it up to 95 mph. He can pitch regularly in the upper parts of the zone for strikes, but can also lower his pitches to pick up strikes in the lower part of the zone.

Max Rajcic (Dan Liebig/UCLA Athletics)

Rajcic is a competitive pitcher, with plenty of bite on the mound. He uses this to his advantage to create problems for hitters with his consistent strike zone pounding and getting after hitters.

His breaking balls are led by his upper-70s curveball which complements his fastball perfectly by creating downer action and helping him work around the zone. Although his low-80s slider and change up are usable pitches, they aren’t as consistent or as refined as his other two pitches.

Rajcic shows plenty of conviction with his pitches, but the lack of real plus pitch could limit him to a reliever role within the Cardinals’ organization. Time will tell whether he will be utilized as a starter to begin with but he has the experience as a closer at UCLA to show he can adapt to what is needed.

He has a large, lean projectable body type with a long, clean arm that creates deception. This works perfectly for his breaking balls and adding more value to his low-90s fastball.

The pool amount for this pick is $270,700.

Seventh round, 217th overall
Alex Iadisernia, OF
Elon University, junior
5’11, 180 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/L

Alex Iadisernia

Scouting report

With another left handed hitter with plenty of pop, the Cardinals have seemed be going in this direction for the current draft.

Iadisernia is another hitter unranked in the MLB.com’s prospect ranking for the 2022 Draft. However, he strikes resemblances to fifth-rounder Victor Scott in terms of his ability to generate power when he barrels the ball. Although his swing is slightly more open than Scott’s, he seems to have plenty of control of his swing and works the field.

Unfortunately for Iadisernia, he experienced a decrease in output from 2021 to 2022, with his average decreasing from .368 to .276 and his home runs dropping from 10 to 6. He did, however, pick up more RBI, walked a lot more and doubled his stolen base amount from 6 to 14. Overall, he showed gains in vital areas despite the regression in his batting as a whole.

Alex Iadisernia (Elon University)

In three seasons at Elon, Iadisernia slashed .312/.407/.513/.920 including 51 extra base hits, 84 RBI, 87 runs scored. Impressively, he walked (68) more than he struck out (64).

Defensively he shows quickness on his feet in the outfield, and makes consistent catches with minimal errors. His fielding percentage has remained around .980 for the past two seasons, plus he picked up a highlight reel catch against Hofstra last season to show his ability to get to a fly ball with minimal effort.

Iadisernia’s positive hitting tool, coupled with his clean, fast swing should allow him to bounce back to his stats of 2021, although it wasn’t a bad outing in 2022. He will regularly make contact with the ball and occasionally flash his raw power with a big home run.

The pool amount for this pick is $212,000.

Eighth round, 247th overall

Cade Winquest, RHP
Texas Arlington, senior
6’2, 205 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Cade Winquest

Scouting report

Winquest is another interesting pick by the Cardinals. Although he hasn’t had the best of times in terms of stats in college, he has the potential to be something special if he can just refine his pitches enough.

He finished with an ERA above 5.00 for the fourth year running, but threw 58 1/3 innings with 57 strikeouts. This is the most he has pitched in a year, and the most strikeouts he’s collected in a season.

Cade Winquest (University of Texas Arlington)

His performance in the second to last start of 2022 against Appalachian State was clearly his best performance of the season, going eight innings on two hits, no earned runs and five strikeouts. That earned him Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week honors.

In his four seasons with the Mavericks, Winquest struck out 155 batters over 160 2/3 innings.

Winquest’s 2022 season was full of inconsistencies, but his hard fastball that can reach the mid-90s, can certainly be a key tool to work on with the Cardinals. If he could miss more bats and improve his fastball shape, then there is certainly enough potential to be a dominant pitcher, albeit perhaps from a reliever role. Combined with a hard curveball and a solid change up, Winquest could have a useful three-pitch arsenal.

The pool amount for this pick is $174,600.

Ninth round, 277th overall
Joseph King, RHP
Cal-Berkeley, junior
6’1, 194 pounds
Bats/Throws: R/R

Joseph King

Scouting report

The development of King has been a progressive one for Cal Berkeley.

He started in 2020 as a reliever, picking up 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings, before slowly settling into a starting role in 2022. He went from 11 1/3 innings in 2020, to a team high 72 2/3 innings in 2022, showing significant improvement in reliability and ability to work through innings.

King also led Cal in starts (14) and wins (5) while ranking third in the Pac-12 Conference with 1.86 BB/9 IP this spring. Over his three seasons, he compiled a 3.43 ERA with 83 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 89 1/3 innings.

Although King’s strikeout rate fell significantly as a junior, he has developed the ability to create a lot of weak contact from hitters with his fastball/change up mix.

Joseph King (Cal Berkeley)

His fastball sits in the low-90s with his over the top action, while his changeup settles around low-80s and has the potential to be a plus pitch. He has plenty of carry with his fastball and sits in the zone regularly, but can get whiffs and chases with the combination to complement the weak contact.

King was used well in 2022, with the majority of his starts lasting until the five inning mark, with the occasional 1-2 inning outings dotted in between. Although he allowed quite a few hits in several occasions, he certainly possesses enough quality with his two-pitch arsenal to be a consistent reliever. King seems to have a high floor, and would benefit from a third pitch in his arsenal.

The pool amount for this pick is $159,100.

10th round, 301st overall
Tanner Jacobson, RHP
Queens University of Charlotte (NC), senior
6’1, 190 pounds

Bats/Throws: R/R

Tanner Jacobson

Scouting report

The Cardinals’ final pick of Day 2 comes in the form of righty Tanner Jacobson. He finished 2022 with a respectable 4.09 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings. The highlight of the season came against Coker, as he struck out 11 hitters in just six innings.

Jacobson has shown significant improvement since 2020, most notably with his ability to strike out hitters and reduce hitters’ average against him. In 2022, he allowed an average of .209 to hitters, while in 2020 and 2021 his ERA’s were 5.28 and 7.71 respectively. His overall college ERA is 4.61 with 179 strikeouts in 162 innings.

Tanner Jacobson (Queens University of Charlotte)

Along with being a productive pitcher, his hitting ability as a two-way player deserves recognition. Jacobson hit five home runs in 64 plate appearances in 2022, with a batting average of .316 and OPS of .972. He generates plenty of pop off his bat, with a clean swing and solid stance.

Although his main role will be a pitcher within the Cardinals organization, he possesses the qualities of both a hitter and a pitcher, which could serve him well  down the road.

The pool amount for this pick is $150,600.

Your authors

As noted above, TCN analyst Jake Tweedie is writing the player scouting reports for Days 2 and 3 and Brian Walton is filling in the rest.


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Three April Top League Performers in Cardinals System

photo: Michael McGreevy (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals prospects have earned Player or Pitcher of the Month honors from their respective leagues for April – Nolan Gorman, Moises Gomez and Michael McGreevy – more than any other organization.

Memphis Redbirds release – Nolan Gorman – International League Player of the Month

Memphis Redbirds second baseman Nolan Gorman was named the International League Player of the Month by MiLB on Tuesday for his April performance. It is the first time in his career Gorman has been honored by MiLB with a monthly award. 

Nolan Gorman

The Cardinals’ No. 2 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was stellar in April. He batted .338 and led the league in total bases (60), slugging percentage (.811) and OPS (1.201) and was fourth in runs (19). His 11 home runs were tied for the most in professional baseball and led a Memphis team that hit the most home runs (49) across all professional levels. He homered in five straight games from April 13-19 and carried a career-high and league-best 16-game hitting streak from April 8-30. He has hit two home runs in a game twice this season on April 10 and April 27. 

The power surge is one of the reasons Gorman was named “Best Power Hitter” in the Cardinals organization by Baseball America for the third year in a row. Of his 342 career minor league hits, 141 have gone for extra bases (41.2%) including 68 home runs. 

The 21-year-old Gorman is no stranger to awards. Last year, the Phoenix-native was named an Organizational All-Star by MiLB.com for the second time in his career. Before he was promoted to Memphis, Gorman earned Double-A Central Player of the Week for the June 7-13 period. This past fall, he was named to the Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. 

Springfield Cardinals note – Moises Gomez – Texas League Player of the Month

The accolades keeping coming for OF Moises Gomez, who was named on Wednesday the Texas League Player of the Month for April. In 17 games last month, Gomez hit an incredible .429 (27×63) with 11 home runs, 25 RBIs, six doubles and 22 runs. He led the league during April in average, runs, total bases (66), home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.1.048) and OPS (1.519), with his 66 total bases 22 more than the next highest total in the league.

Moisés Gómez

Gomez currently leads all of Minor League Baseball with 12 home runs, a 1.463 OPS, 1.000 slugging percentage, 25 runs and 72 total bases, while ranking 2nd with a .417 average, 26 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits.

Peoria Chiefs release – Michael McGreevy – Midwest League Pitcher of the Month

Chiefs right-hander Michael McGreevy was named the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Month for April, Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Michael McGreevy

McGreevy, the Cardinals first-round selection in the 2021 draft, went 1-0 with a 0.76 earned run average over the course of four starts in the season’s first month. He whiffed 25 batters in 23.2 innings pitched and walked just one of the 83 batters he faced. As a result, he posted a sparkling 0.59 WHIP and held opposing hitters to a .159 batting average.

The 21-year-old burst onto the scene at the High-A level. McGreevy twirled five hitless innings in the season opener at Wisconsin on April 9. He followed it up with 6.2 shutout innings against Great Lakes in his home debut on April 15. In his first two starts, McGreevy did not allow a baserunner to advance past first base.

After taking a no-decision at Cedar Rapids, McGreevy finished April on a high note. The San Clemente, California native picked up his first professional win on April 26 against Wisconsin, his third straight quality start, as he allowed just one run over six innings. McGreevy whiffed a career-high nine batters in his fourth and final start of the month, one off the season-high for a Peoria pitcher.

As of May 4, McGreevy is ranked fourth in the Midwest League in ERA, third in WHIP and leads the circuit with 28.2 innings pitched on the year. McGreevy is slated to start on Saturday at South Bend. 

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Peoria Chiefs Notebook – 2022 Week 4

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