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.
Help send INF Brendan Donovan to the AFL Fall Star Game!
Donovan is slashing .342/.435/.553/.987 and has 6 XBH, 8 R and 2 SB in 11 games played.
— Cardinals Player Development (@CardsPlayerDev) November 10, 2021
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).
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.
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.
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.
In six games, national top 25 prospect Gorman slashed .375/.565/.625/1.190.
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.
⭐️ Your 2021 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars ⭐️
— MLB's Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 10, 2021
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.
Congratulations to @Cardinals corner infielder, Brendan Donovan for being this years West Division “Final Vote” winner! Brendan will be representing the Glendale Desert Dogs in the 15th annual Fall Stars Game!
Tune into MLB Network tomorrow at 5pm MT/7pm ET to watch live! pic.twitter.com/VeynUZ80gs
— MLB's Arizona Fall League (@MLBazFallLeague) November 12, 2021
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.
Several last-minute roster additions for tonight's AFL Fall Stars Game.
Kole Cottam, BOS
Kameron Misner, MIA
Zach Greene, NYY
Damon Jones, PHI
Travis Kuhn, SEA
Korey Lee, HOU
Andre Pallante, STL
Todd Peterson, WSH
Devin Sweet, SEAhttps://t.co/GE0LDPaPH9
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 13, 2021
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.
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) October 15, 2021
No prospect across the #stlcards system made greater strides than Juan Yepez in 2021. Completing his fifth year in the system, the 23-year-old infielder-outfielder discusses his power breakout, his move to the 40-man roster and what may lie ahead. ($) https://t.co/Cz02y8Vh8y pic.twitter.com/YaAwPXY2Tx
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) October 21, 2021
Today, TCN's #6 #STLCards prospect, LH Zack Thompson, turns 24 years of age. From the Arizona Fall League, one of the showcase's hottest pitchers speaks candidly about his ups and downs in 2021, his current focus in the desert and hopes for the future. ($) https://t.co/EWky8hg6SH pic.twitter.com/4szuAVjD8X
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) October 28, 2021
#stlcards IF prospect Brendan Donovan @bdonovan_42 had 3 hits Saturday and today talks in depth about his busy 2021 season, including multiple promotions, a taxi squad spot in St. Louis’ Wild Card Game and his current role in the Arizona Fall League. ($) https://t.co/h76OUuvi1W pic.twitter.com/IZHdoUHdE1
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) October 18, 2021
Why is #stlcards no. 1 prospect Nolan Gorman so happy? It wasn't his 3-run HR, nor was it his 8-minute interview posted for members of The Cardinal Nation. Topics include adjusting at the plate, move to 2B, competition with Matthew Liberatore and more! ($) https://t.co/PHwMt5Qyss pic.twitter.com/7CTOTQ52lX
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) October 14, 2021
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