Cardinals Have Four (or Five) AFL Fall Stars Game Representatives

On Wednesday, the Arizona Fall League announced its two divisional rosters for Saturday’s Fall Stars Game. The St. Louis Cardinals will have at least three active players on the West roster, with a fourth unavailable due to injury and a fifth who could still be voted into the annual contest.

Cardinals/Glendale Desert Dogs named to the team are first baseman Juan Yepez, outfielder Lars Nootbaar and left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson. Second baseman Nolan Gorman is injured and unable to participate but was still selected.

Infielder Brendan Donovan is one of three candidates vying for a final roster spot to be selected via fan voting between now and Friday. Here is how you can participate if you choose.

The AFL has never had a traditional All-Star Game, but instead the Fall Stars Game, which usually includes the league’s top prospects regardless of their performance in the AFL. That may help explain why Cardinals designated starting pitcher Andre Pallante did not make the team when Thompson did. Both are performing well in the desert, but the former’s AFL stats are even better than the latter’s.

In fact, all of the Cardinals’ selections are deserving from the production perspective.

St. Louis fourth outfielder Nootbaar is third in the league with his 1.117 OPS. His six doubles and five home runs are both tied for fifth and Glendale’s leadoff man is tied for second in runs scored (19).

Lars Nootbaar

Slugger Yepez, the top player in the Cardinals system in 2021, is continuing his regular season success in Arizona. In 17 games, his 21 RBI is tied for the AFL lead. Yepez’ .600 slugging is fifth, his .977 OPS ranks 11th and his five long balls are tied for fifth.

Juan Yepez

Thompson has been strong in a multi-inning relief role for the Desert Dogs. In 15 1/3 innings over eight appearances, the left has allowed just four runs, three earned, on 13 hits. His 12 walks lead to a higher than desired 1.63 WHIP. Thompson has struck out 18.

Zack Thompson

Starting off as a taxi squad member only eligible to play twice weekly, Donovan has earned regular playing time. This has also been positively impacted by fellow infielder Gorman’s unavailability. Donovan’s .987 OPS would rank in the AFL’s top 20 if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Same with his .342 batting average and .553 SLG.

Brendan Donovan

In six games, national top 25 prospect Gorman slashed .375/.565/.625/1.190.

Nolan Gorman

The annual Fall Stars Game will be held this Saturday, November 13 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain time and will be televised on MLB Network.

Full rosters

Friday, November 12 update

Donovan was the West Division’s Final Vote winner. Not bad for a player who began the AFL on the taxi squad.

Saturday, November 13 update

Make that six Cardinals in the Fall Stars Game as right-handed pitcher Andre Pallante was a late (and deserving) addition to the West roster.

For more

Every morning during the Arizona Fall League season, check out our Glendale Desert Dogs game notebooks, with full details of how the Cardinals prospects are performing in the desert, written by The Cardinal Nation’s UConn Card and Marilyn Green.

Subscribers to The Cardinal Nation can listen to AFL interviews with all six Cardinals highlighted above.

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

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