Cardinals Add Kodi Whitley to Taxed Bullpen

photo: Kodi Whitley via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Brian Walton’s take

Kodi Whitley (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

With neither the offense nor the pitching hitting on all cylinders for the Cardinals, the club is looking for more fresh arms within the current roster construct of 13 pitchers and 13 position players.

This has been exacerbated by the reality that the team’s relievers have thrown more innings than the starters through 10 games – which manager Mike Shildt admits is “not a model we want”. The manager also notes the heavy pen reliance has forced the pitchers out of preferred roles, instead having their usage driven by who is available to pitch on any given day.

Johan Oviedo (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Whitley, The Cardinal Nation’s 16th-ranked prospect for 2021, offers the ability to eat multiple innings if needed or perhaps pitch on consecutive days if needed, while Oviedo will likely remain on a starter’s program. The latter cannot return from the alternate camp for 15 days – unless he replaces a player who has to be removed from the roster, due to injury, for example.

Still, based on his effectiveness following Daniel Ponce de Leon’s stumbled start on Sunday, Oviedo could be back before too long. Neither of the fill-in starters, Ponce and John Gant, have been consistent enough to lock down their jobs, but sending them down is not a viable option as it is with Oviedo. So if they are not starting, they will return to the pen.

Kwang-Hyun Kim will likely replace one of the two in the rotation this week, with Oviedo biding his time to potentially claim the other.

While veteran Carlos Martinez has not been exceptional either, his track record indicates a higher ceiling. As such, I expect he will be given more opportunity to stand out before losing his spot among the starting five.

For more

To track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Related article exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Just One More Start for Ponce de Leon or Gant?

Now Available – 2021 Prospect Guide

Now available, The Cardinal Nation 2021 Prospect Guide is back for a fourth year. It includes over 250 pages of in-depth commentary about the very best St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers, including dozens of color photos.

TCN’s 2021 Cardinals Prospect Guide – Now Available!

Not yet a member?

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

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2021 The Cardinal Nation, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.