photo: Juan Yepez (D. Ross Cameron/USA TODAY Sports)
During their Monday off-day, the St. Louis Cardinals optioned rookie second baseman Nolan Gorman to Triple-A Memphis and replaced him with rookie infielder/outfielder Juan Yepez.
Following his May 20 promotion from Triple-A until the All-Star break, the 22-year-old rookie second baseman slashed .241/.320/.444/.765 with nine home runs and a strikeout rate of 30.9%. Since then, the left-handed hitter and former organization no. 1 prospect has slashed a disappointing .207/.273/.388/.661 with five long balls and a whiff rate of 35.6%.
With Paul DeJong also slumping, Tommy Edman should remain at short with Brendan Donovan best positioned to play second base daily. Middle infield depth is a bit thin, but remember that Triple-A will keep playing until the MLB regular season ends. So a potential injury replacement is just a call away.
Yepez, 24, did not make the Cardinals out of spring training, but was with St. Louis from May 3 until he went on the injured list with a right forearm strain on July 15. He began a rehab stint with Memphis on August 9. Ten days later, he was activated off the IL and optioned to the Triple-A Redbirds.
Despite hitting well, Yepez was passed over for a return to St. Louis several times. In 50 games with Memphis this season, the right-handed hitter slashed .277/.341/.580/.821 along with 16 home runs and 53 RBI.
With St. Louis, Yepez should rejoin the corner outfield mix that has two openings with Tyler O’Neill out. Other contenders for playing time include Lars Nootbaar, Corey Dickerson and Alec Burleson. Dylan Carlson and Ben DeLuzio are primarily covering center.
To see all players in the system by level and position plus every transaction all year ‘round, check out the always free Roster Matrix here at The Cardinal Nation, refreshed today. The Matrix also includes which 2022 draftees have signed and their team assignments when disclosed.
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