Cardinals Claim Left-Handed Pitcher Bernardo Flores Jr.

photo: Bernardo Flores Jr. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

On Thursday, The St. Louis Cardinals announced they have claimed left-handed pitcher Bernardo Flores Jr. via waivers from the Chicago White Sox. The 24-year-old has been optioned to the club’s alternate training roster, increasing the total to 27, five of whom make up St. Louis’ road taxi squad.

Chicago’s seventh-round draft pick in 2016 from the University of Southern California made his big-league debut in 2020 and was charged with two runs over two innings. Prior to that opportunity, Flores had never pitched above Double-A other than in the 2019 Arizona Fall League and at the Pale Hose’s alternate site in 2020.

Overall, the 6-foot-4, 190 pounder has posted a 3.18 ERA over 82 career appearances, 79 of which were starts. Just last month, Baseball America named Flores as having the best control in the Sox’ system and South Side Sox selected him as Chicago’s no. 27 prospect.

Bernardo Flores Jr. (USA TODAY Sports)

Flores’ fastball typically is the 89-92 mph range with a peak of 94, according to MLB Pipeline. He also has an adequate curve and slider, with his changeup, grade 55, his best pitch.

With Flores having two minor league option years remaining including 2021, the Cardinals have this season and next to finish his development and determine his major league future.

Flores is the third minor league depth lefty added by the Cardinals in recent months, following Domingo Robles and Garrett Williams.

Double-A experienced Robles was acquired from the Pirates last September in exchange for international bonus allocation space, but unlike Flores, does not possess a 40-man roster spot.

Williams was picked up from the Angels in the minor league phase of the December 2020 Rule 5 draft. He also appeared at Double-A in 2018 and 2019. Flores and Williams are now assigned to the Cardinals alternate camp, with Robles staying in Florida for minor league spring training.

With Flores’ waiver addition, the Cardinals’ 40-man roster is now full. However, with Dakota Hudson out for the season, a spot can be freed when necessary by moving the rehabbing right-hander to the 60-day injured list.

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