It’s Wednesday! That means it is another CardinalsGM blog post. Enjoy!
I felt it only fair to touch on some of the youth in the Cardinals organization after penning a blog about The Aging Stars of the Cardinals. Today, we look at the pitching staff on the 40-man roster and a couple of arms that are currently in Memphis. For the purpose of this article, I chose pitchers that were born in 1994 (aged 25) or younger. The list is in alphabetical order as we put this into two parts.
Genesis Cabrera– Currently, he is the 13th best prospect in the Cardinals organization and came to the club in the trade with Tampa Bay Rays for Tommy Pham. The left-handed pitcher has a live arm that relies on the fastball that averages nearly 94 mph and tops out at 98 mph. He has a slider with late action that is thrown in the ’80s along with a changeup that is a work in progress.
The 6’1″ 170 lbs from the Dominican Republic was signed in 2013 by the Rays. He projects to continue as a starter but may see early relief work to garner experience once he sees the major leagues. He is currently 22 years of age.
In 2018, he was 8-9 with a 4.17 ERA and walked 71 while strikeout out 148 batters in 140.1 innings on the mound. He started 20 games before he was traded to the Cardinals organization and allowed 22 home runs. The Cardinals like his makeup and will be calling him up to use his lefthand on the mound in 2019.
Seth Elledge– He came to the Cardinals in the Sam Tuivaila trade. He was an All-Star for Modesto in the Class A league and the Cardinals placed him at AA Springfield.
He pitched in 13 games for the Cardinals and finished 3-1 for the year with four saves in 16.1 innings on the hill. Also, he walked six batters and struck out twenty.
He has a mid-90’s fastball with heavy sink and also contributes with an 80’s slider and a cutter that move to the glove side. He has a changeup he uses in starting situations but doesn’t need it in relief. Elledge appears to be destined to the major leagues in 2020 as a late-inning reliever and spot starter. He is 22 years of age.
Jack Flaherty– He is 23 years old and has already had some impressive starts in the major leagues. He was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft out of high school in California. He made his MLB debut in 2017. He has a great mix of pitches and is around the plate with all of them.
In 2018, he was 8-9 on the season with a 3.34 ERA in 28 games. He threw 151 innings and allowed 108 hits with 20 home runs allowed. He walked 59 batters while fanning 182 batters. Opponents hit .199 off of him.
A case could be made that Flaherty is the #1 starter on the team in 2019. He certainly will be asked to anchor and solidify a staff of some concern due to injuries.
Ryan Helsley– He will turn 25 in July and is a right-handed pitcher that was at three different levels (Rookie, AA, AAA) in 2018. He has a potent fastball-slider combination with high spin rates. His fastball sits near 95 mph but can top out at 98 mph on occasion. After his plus fastball, he has a slightly higher than average curveball that can miss bats. His slider and changeups are a work in progress and rated a bit under average. The thing that might worry the Cardinals about him is his erratic control which will likely make him a bullpen option as early as next season.
Last year he was 5-3 with a 3.97 ERA combined in Rookie League, Springfield AA, and AAA in Memphis. He started 13 games and pitched 70.1 innings and only walked 32 while fanning 82 batters. Opponents only hit .194 against him.
The 2015 5th round pick out of Division II Northeastern in Oklahoma will be given every opportunity to show his stuff in Spring Training.
Jordan Hicks– (born in 1996) He made an impression in his first season in the major leagues with his blistering fastballs and got the attention of many in the major leagues. The Cardinals took a chance placing him on the roster since he had never pitched above Class A baseball. You could see his growth as the season went along and also he began to wear out with such a long season.
In 2018 in the major leagues, he was 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA along with six saves in 73 games on the mound. Also, he pitched 77.2 innings and allowed 59 hits with two of them being home runs. He walked 45 batters and struck out 70 as opponents hit .210 off of him. Hicks will get the chance to co-closer in 2019 with Andrew Miller as he may face right-handers at the end of the game.
Dakota Hudson– Born in 1994, the 6’5″ right-handed pitcher started the season at AAA level in Memphis and was 13-3 along a 2.50 ERA before getting called up to the major leagues.
At the MLB level, he was 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA and registered 11 holds in 27.1 innings of work. He gave up 19 hits and walked 18 batters and fanned 19 for the season.
In 2019, the Cardinal expected to lean on him a bit more heavily as he has a great fastball with sinking action along with a slider and a workable changeup.
Ryan Meisinger- When this list was started he was on it until December 21st when the Cardinals signed Andrew Miller and designated Meisinger for assignment
Alex Reyes– Reyes is the #1 prospect in the Cardinals organization but has had two consecutive seasons of injuries that have robbed him of possible great years on the mound. The 25-yr-old righthander was on the MLB roster two seasons ago as a rookie and flashed outstanding stuff and had some dominant games for the Cardinals.
The organization hasn’t decided how to bring him back from injury as far as whether it will be as a starter or a reliever with possible closing stuff.
Austin Warner– He is moving through the Cardinals farm system rapidly as he played in Palm Beach, Springfield, and Memphis last year. This organization is high on his future as President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak mentioned this righty pitcher as one to watch in this article.
In 2018, he was 6-8 with a 4.06 ERA but was most impressive with his control as he struck out 125 batters and only allowed 43 walks in 141.1 innings.
He will begin the season in Memphis and any pitcher in the Cardinals organization knows that it is very likely you will get a call to the big leagues several times during the season. The major league club is expected to use him early out of the pen to garner some strikeouts.
- “Faces of the Future- The Young Cardinals Infielders”