The Cardinals’ starting rotation currently ranks as the second-best staff in the National League in terms of earned run average (3.53, trailing the Dodgers) and third-best when looking at strikeout-to-walk ratios, with a 2.78 mark that’s only bested by the Dodgers and Giants. Shall St. Louis need any rotation reinforcements, nevertheless, the club’s pitching depth is replenishing down on the farm, with flattering performances by two young right-handers.
Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty have gotten off to sizzling starts in 2017, with Weaver’s coming after he was shut down in Spring Training and then again once the season began with back spasms. Weaver was activated from the Triple-A disabled list on May 2 and has made four starts since, posting an ERA of 0.41 (just one earned run - a solo homer) over 22 innings with a .189 batting average against and 19:1 K/BB ratio.
Flaherty, VEB’s fifth-rated prospect, is hard to ignore this season. At 21 years old, Flaherty is dominating the Texas League with a 0.99 ERA over seven starts, during which he has logged 35 1⁄3 frames and whiffed 45 to pair with a mere six walks and just 30 hits.
In a shift of gears from the positive fares of Weaver and Flaherty, you’ve probably heard about the line drive that struck Memphis starter Daniel Poncedeleon in the head last week. Poncedeleon had surgery on Wednesday to relieve the pressure around his brain. Cardinals beat writer Jenifer Langosch has since reported that doctors are encouraged by his progress. Poncedeleon kicked off the year in Double-A but was promoted to Triple-A shortly after, where he maintained a solid 2.17 ERA in 29 innings.
As Magneuris Sierra, Tommy Pham, and Sam Tuivailala contribute at the big-league level, the players they are replacing are on the mend in the Minors.
Lefty Tyler Lyons has struck out fourteen batters in two rehab starts for the Redbirds and would flip back to a reliever’s role whenever he rejoins the Cardinals. As his replacement in the bullpen, Tuivailala has been very sharp with the help of a sharper breaking ball. With walks hampering his success in the Majors in the past, Tuivailala has been able to limit the damage this go-around with a 1.14 WHIP - .167 BAA - over six relief appearances.
Stephen Piscotty, on the mend from a right hamstring strain, is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Monday with Double-A Springfield, and Jhonny Peralta is on pace to appear in today’s Triple-A game.