Cardinals Add Reliever Junior Fernandez, Drop Adalberto Mejia

photo: Junior Fernandez (Frank Ramirez/The Cardinal Nation)

Junior Fernandez (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Tuesday, August 6) that they have purchased rookie right-handed pitcher Junior Fernandez from Memphis (AAA).  Fernandez, 22, will be making his Major League debut with his first game appearance, the seventh Cardinal rookie to debut in 2019.   The team also announced that left-handed pitcher Adalberto Mejía has been designated for assignment and right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers has been outrighted to Memphis.

Adalberto Mejia (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

Fernandez, signed by the Cardinals on July 2, 2014 as an international free-agent out of the Dominican Republic, has combined to go 2-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 11 saves in 42 games between Palm Beach (High-A), Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA) this season.

The 6-2, 211-pound Fernandez went 0-1 with a 1.54 ERA in nine games with Palm Beach, 1-1, 1.55 ERA in 18 games with Springfield and 1-0, 1.31 ERA in 15 games with Memphis.  He has yet to allow a home run in his 61.1 innings pitched, striking out 76 to go along with a 1.08 WHIP.

Mike Mayers (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Since making his debut with Memphis on June 25, Fernandez has allowed runs in just three games, striking out 23 batters in 20.2 innings pitched.  He’s allowed runs in just nine of 42 games overall and multiple runs in just two games.

Fernandez has compiled a 19-18 mark with a 3.58 ERA in 126 career games (52 starts) in the minors, totaling 390.0 innings pitched and 322 strikeouts since debuting as a professional in 2014 in the Dominican Summer League.

Mejia, a waiver claim by the Cardinals on July 30, has appeared in two games with St. Louis.   Mayers, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, has appeared in just 12 games with St. Louis in a season that has been slowed by injury.

Fernandez has been assigned uniform no. 44.


Brian Walton’s take

Given the extremely short rope given Mejia, the Cardinals must not have been very convinced about him when claiming him. Granted, he did not impress in those two outings. His 40-man spot was used on Fernandez.

Fernandez has dominated at three levels this season and has definitely earned a shot, though he was not “purchased” – his contract was. This is terminology used when a player is added to the 40-man roster. To put into perspective the 2019 rebirth of Fernandez as a prospect, just nine months ago, he went unclaimed in the Rule 5 Draft.

Speaking of unclaimed, Mayers being outrighted means that none of the other 29 MLB teams wanted him while on waivers. He joins part-current bullpen mate Chasen Shreve, who followed the same path recently (DFA, unclaimed, outright to Memphis).


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