On Saturday evening, the Arizona Fall League’s annual Fall Stars Game will be held at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. The yearly event elegantly showcases some of baseball’s top prospects, and this year’s game won’t be an exception. You can catch the Fall Stars Game live from Arizona a little after 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday on MLB Network or stream it at MLB.com.
Of the seven Cardinals who were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Glendale Desert Dogs, four have been named to the AFL West roster for the Fall Stars Game. Catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Paul DeJong, outfielder Harrison Bader, and relief pitcher Rowan Wick have been named to the team. Three other left-handed pitchers -- Corey Littrell, Ryan Sherriff, and Austin Gomber -- have been left off the roster.
After making his major-league debut in September, Kelly has been swinging a hot bat throughout the fall and is increasing the likelihood of possibly being considered for a spot on the Opening Day roster as the club’s backup backstop. Through 50 at-bats across fourteen games, Kelly is batting .260 with a pair of home runs to go along with a team-best fourteen RBIs.
DeJong has scuffled a bit this fall, particularly on the strikeout front. With an increased power rate during 132 games in the regular season -- 22 home runs and .460 slugging percentage -- while playing with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, DeJong whiffed on 144 occasions. Thus far in the AFL, the 23-year-old infielder has only one homer in 47 at-bats with sixteen punchouts.
A breakout 2016 campaign led Bader to the AFL, where the 22-year-old outfielder has slashed a solid .306/.340/.388 to ultimately lead him to the Fall Stars Game. Bader has swiped three bags this fall as well, continuing a stolen-base trend he established during the regular season, when he stole thirteen bases.
Wick, a ninth-round pick of the Cardinals back in 2012, posted a crisp 2.44 earned run average and 50:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 44 combined appearances with the Class-A Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals and Springfield during 2016. His command has been a bit off during the AFL, though, as the lefty has allowed two home runs and walked four in seven innings.
Despite not being selected to the Fall Stars Game, Littrell, Sherriff, and Gomber have all fared well this exhibition season. Littrell has allowed just two earned runs and whiffed thirteen batters over 10 2/3 frames; Sherriff, though in possession of a 7.11 ERA, has shown a bit of success by way of seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings; Gomber owns a 4-0 record and ERA of 1.99 over five starts and was recognized for his third and fourth starts of the year. Gomber would have been a lock for the Fall Stars Game if he wouldn’t have started yesterday.