Our new weekly series, catching up with the Cards, will help you keep up with all of your favorite former Cards. Our newest contributor, Brendan Holba, will give you the run down on every former Card that played Baseball at the University of Louisville. It is his first time blogging and we really hope you enjoy. Let’s Catch up with three Cards!
Players listed in order by the year they were drafted or signed as a free agent.
The lefty from Owensboro, Kentucky completed the season in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. Marks pitched in the big leagues with the Tampa Bay Ray’s totaling 1.1 innings, surrendering 2 hits including a home run. He did complete the outing with a strikeout and a walk. In May, Marks was claimed off of waivers by the Dodgers and is currently a free agent heading into the spring. His final line for 2017 at the AAA level:
8-4 with a 5.11 era, in 75.2 innings he gave up 76 hits and 43 earned runs to go along with 71 strikeouts, 36 walks and a .259 batting average against with a 1.48 whip.
San Francisco’s third-round pick in 2009 spent the year in the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cub’s organization at the AAA level. His season included a couple of DL stints but he completed one of his best summers of his professional career. He compiled 11 home runs, 22 doubles, 1 triple, 102 hits, 45 RBI’s, a .284 batting average, .323 on base %, .443 slugging, and a .766 OPS. Dominguez is a free agent heading into the spring.
The Oldham County southpaw who tossed 22 innings for the St. Luis Cardinals in 2016 spent time on and off the Disabled List with the Seattle Mariners AAA team Tacoma Rainiers in 2017. Kiekhefer totaled a 3-3 record with a 4.47 era in 49 outings. In 44.1 innings pitched the lefty struck out 42 batters, walked 19, surrendered 53 hits to accompany a batting average against of .290 and a whip of 1.62. Kiekhefer is a free agent heading into 2018.
The pride of Male High School spent his 2017 season amongst two levels in the San Francisco Giants organization, ending the year at AAA Sacramento. Between the two levels, he did not have his best offensive year, but Arnold continues to be a rock-solid defensive catcher. The backstop slugged 7 home runs, 11 doubles, 1 triple, with 40 total hits in 70 games. He finished with 24 RBI’s, and slashed .183/.289/.338/.627 batting average, on base, slugging and OPS. Arnold is hoping for an invite to Big League Spring Training this year.
The Louisville Slugger from Louisville’s own Butler High School had his own big shoes to fill in 2017 after his 2016 All-Star and Home Run Derby campaign. Duvall followed up his stellar campaign in 2016 by crushing 31 home runs, 99 RBI’s and finishing as a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove award, given out annually to the best defensive players at each position in 2017. The rest of his season included 146 hits, 282 total bases, 37 doubles and 3 triples. Duvall’s slash line was .241/.296/.776 and he looks primed for another great year with the “Red Legs” in the Queen City.
The sidewinder from Owensboro, Kentucky spent his summer of ’17 with three different teams in the Cleveland Indians organization, A (advanced) Lynchburg Hillcats, AA Akron RubberDucks and AAA Columbus Clippers. Holland pitched a total of 37.2 innings, struck out 29 batters and had a batting average against of .291, and a WHIP of 1.30. Going into 2018 Holland is a free agent.
TAZ, the hard-throwing country boy from Monee, Illinois battled right elbow and shoulder pain during this season in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners. When he was healthy, Zych had 1 save, 35 strikeouts, 12 holds, an ERA of 2.66 and a WHIP of 1.25 in 40.2 innings pitched. After rehabbing and working out this offseason, TAZ looks to put together another strong 2018 in Seattle.
The righty from Cave City, Kentucky spent his 2017 advancing in the Washington Nationals organization. He spent the majority of his time at AA Harrisburg but did throw 3.1 innings at AAA with the Syracuse Sky Chiefs. In 58.1 innings at Harrisburg, Self amassed 36 strikeouts, gave up 58 hits, had a batting average against of .262 and a WHIP of 1.30. Self will open up Spring Training in with the Nationals organization.
The Mets 3rd round pick in 2012 and first of two UofL draft picks from Cherokee, Iowa had a roller coaster season in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He bounced between the AAA Reno Aces, the Diamondbacks, and the Disabled List during his 2017 summer. The burly right-hander, with the flowing hair, appeared in one game for Arizona but threw 56 innings in relief in the minors striking out 34 and collecting a WHIP of 1.73. Koch will be in Big League Spring Training as he competes for a spot in the bullpen in Arizona.
Ijames who is from Owensboro, Kentucky spent most of his summer in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization at AA Jackson Generals but played the last month of the season at AAA Reno Aces. Between the two levels, but mostly at AA Jackson, Ijames slashed .223/.310/.412/.722. Going into the spring Ijames is a free agent and still looking to sign with a team.
On May 27, 2017 the Cincinnati, Ohio native made his Major League debut with the Chicago White Sox, was recalled again on June 20th and never looked back. While he struggled at the plate hitting .166 he did have 11 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs, and 19 walks, Engels strengths in the outfield to run down balls and rob home runs made him a fan favorite of the rebuilding White Sox and landed him on a few web gem lists and Sports Center top plays lists. He will begin 2018 with the big club again looking to be their everyday center fielder this year.
The second UofL draft pick from Cherokee, Iowa is the Frisbee throwing left-hander who made the last out in the Super Regional victory over Vanderbilt that sent the Cards to the 2013 College World Series. Ege spent the summer in the Angels organization but did have 4 different disabled list stints that hindered his journey back to the Major Leagues. Cody threw 39.1 innings at AAA Salt Lake with 40 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.47. He has elected Free Agency and is waiting to sign with a team for the 2018 season.
Effingham, Illinois native, and New York Yankee bullpen stalwart had a 2017 to remember. “Jolly” pitched in 5 postseason games collecting 11 strikeouts in 8.2 innings as the Yankees fell in 7 games in the American League Championship Series to the eventual World Series Champion, Huston Astros. In the regular season, Green threw 69 innings, had 103 strikeouts, an ERA of 1.83 and a WHIP of 0.74. As 2018 approaches he looks to continue to dominate for the Pinstripes and their new manager Aaron Boone.
The big right-hander from just over the Ohio River in Southern Indiana spent most of his summer with the A (advanced) Lakeland Flying Tigers but did pitch in 1 game with the AA Lake Erie Seawolves where he picked up the win while in the Detroit Tigers organization. In the Florida State League, Thompson had 56 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched with a .241 batting average against and a 1.33 WHIP. Thompson will open up Spring Training 2018 in the Tigers organization.
The Butler High School Alum was called up the Major Leagues on July 27th, to play with the San Diego Padres. In the big leagues, “Blood,” collected a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings pitched, 16 strikeouts with a .209 batting average against and a WHIP of 1.05. McGrath will again compete for a spot in the Padres bullpen this spring training.
Kay played one year for the Cards but had a tremendous homecoming, playing in the 2014 Men’s College World Series. He spent the 2017 summer with one of the best-named teams in the MiLB, the Montgomery Biscuits, AA for the Tampa Bay Rays. He was up in AAA Durham with the Bulls for about a week at the end of July. He slashed .261/.337/.422/.759 in AA with 109 hits and 36 doubles. Kay will try and continue his advancement to the big club this spring.
This bearded lefty from Cicero, Illinois spent the summer with the Frisco Rough Riders, AA, of the Texas Rangers organization. After an injury early in the season that had him on the DL, Filomeno finished the season with an 8.10 ERA in 36.2 innings with a .318 batting average against and a WHIP of 1.96. Filomeno will open up in the Rangers organization this spring.
Ruxer, the right-hander from Indianapolis, Indiana was traded from the Los Angeles Angels to the Kansas City Royals in the 2016 offseason and spent his summer with the Royals A (advanced) Wilmington Blue Rocks. Rux threw 109.2 innings with the Blue Rocks amassing a 3.45 ERA, 84 strikeouts, .268 batting average against and a WHIP of 1.29. He will start out in the Royals organization this spring.
The Owensboro, Kentucky native spent the season at AA with the Portland Sea Dogs in the Boston Red Sox organization. He continues to be consistent both at the plate and in the field collecting a total of 107 hits while slashing .264/.326/.379/.705. Sturgeon looks to continue his strong play this spring in the Red Sox organization.
The first of the two flame-throwing Burdi brothers has had an interesting offseason coming into the 2018 spring. He was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies but then traded to the other side of the state to the Pittsburgh Pirates. His summer 2017 was very short but Burdi dominated before he was placed on the DL with a UCL tear in his right elbow. He struck out 20 in 17 innings with a 0.53 ERA. Nick Burdi will start with the big club in Spring Training looking to lock down a spot in the Pirates bullpen.
Rogers had a strong start to his 2017 season in the New York Yankees organization with two teams, the A (advanced) Tampa Yankees and the AA Trenton Thunder. Between the two levels, he started all 15 games he pitched, going 91.2 innings with a 3.24 ERA. Rogers struck out 80 batters, had a batting average against of .235 and a WHIP of 1.05. Depending on how his elbow heals will determine where and when Rogers will start his 2018 season.
The righty from Oak Forest, Illinois literally split his time this summer between the A West Michigan Whitecaps and the A (advanced) Lakeland Flying Tigers. Funk threw 31.1 innings at both levels before being placed on the DL on June 15th. He was strong and steady punching out 83 batters in the 62 innings with a combined ERA of 2.44. As his recovery ends Funk looks to continue his surge through the Detroit Tigers system this season as the teams #8 overall prospect according to MiLB.com
Tiberi was a 3rd round pick of the New York Mets in 2016 but due to injury was limited to just 5 games in April of 2017. He is active and will start this spring looking to work his way through the Mets system.
The stout left-hander from Princeton, Kentucky had an up and down season in 2017 after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft by the Atlanta Braves. He battled through injuries to start 14 games in 15 appearances totaling 55 strikeouts in 70 innings. Harrington had an ERA of 4.85 and a WHIP of 1.51 in his first full season of professional baseball. As the spring nears he looks to have a strong showing in the Braves system as their #27 ranked prospect according to MiLB.com.
Solak was drafted in the 2nd round by the New York Yankees in 2016 and has torn up the minor leagues since. He finished last season in AA with the Trenton Thunder after he was moved up from the A (advanced) Tampa Yankees. Between the two levels, Solak slashed .297/.384/.452/.835 collecting 138 total hits, 26 doubles, and 12 home runs. He been invited to the Yankees Big League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee but will most likely begin the regular season somewhere in the loaded Yankees minor league system where he is ranked as their #8 prospect according to MiLB.com.
A KCD alum and first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 is off to a hot start to his young professional career. Before his seasoned ended last July due to injury he had made it all the way up to the AA Tulsa Drillers. He spent the majority of his time at A (advanced) level with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes compiling a slash line of .231/.358/.446/.805 with 58 total hits, 11 home runs, and 15 doubles. The Dodgers #8 overall prospect according to MiLB.com is a non-roster invitee to Big League spring training where he will get to continue to impress with his tremendous athletic abilities behind the dish.
Burdi brother number 2 was also a 1st round pick in 2016, going to the hometown Chicago White Sox. Burdi’s pace through the minor leagues was about as fast as his triple-digit heater before he too ran into elbow problems that created a detour to Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side. In 33.1 innings, all at AAA with the Charlotte Knights, Burdi struck out 51 hitters. Like older brother Nick, Zack too had Tommy John surgery and his recovery timetable will determine when the organizations #12 over prospect, according to MiLB.com, makes his highly anticipated debut with the White Sox.
The highest of the three first-round draft picks for the Cards in 2016, Ray went to the Milwaukee Brewers at 5th overall. At the time this was the highest any Louisville Cardinal had ever been drafted, but it did not last long, Brendan McKay would edge him out by one spot in 2017. The Brew Crews #1 overall prospect according to MiLB.com, spent his 2017 summer with A (advanced) Carolina Mudcats where he slashed .238/.311/.367/.679, stealing 24 bases, totaling 107 hits with 29 doubles and 7 home runs. Another promising year awaits Ray with high hopes of success in 2018.
The Chicago White Sox selected Taylor in the 16th round in 2017. He spent the short season in at Rookie level where he impressed, slashing .310/.406/.406/.812 with 8 doubles and 54 total hits. The speedster is will start his first full professional season looking to build upon his early success in the White Sox system.
Another solid UofL backstop, Fitch was drafted in the 13th round by the Philadelphia Phillies and he ended the summer with the A Lakewood BlueClaws. Fitch looks to continue his strong start to his pro career after slashing .266/.400/.413/.813 and mashing 4 home runs to go along with 4 doubles in 34 games.
McClure was a 6th round pick of the Chicago White Sox who tore up the competition in his first taste of minor league baseball. The tall, lanky right-hander from Ohio split time between Rookie ball and A (short season) Kannapolis Intimidators, totaling 19 strikeouts in 11 innings with an ERA of 0.82 and a WHIP of 0.55. The White Sox are hoping for continued domination as McClure opens up his first full professional season this spring.
One of the smoothest infielders to grace a collegiate diamond last spring, Hairston was selected in the 6th round by the Milwaukee Brewers. He immediately went to A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers where he played in 44 games for them. Hairston slashed .210/.284/.268/.552 with 5 stolen bases and 12 RBI’s. The Lexington, Kentucky native will start the spring in the Brewers organization.
Another Lexington, Kentucky native and draft pick of the Chicago White Sox, he went to the South Side in the 4th round of the draft. For the Ville, Henzman was the shutdown bullpen man but in his half season of minor league ball in 2017 he started 7 of the 11 games he appeared in. In those 11 games, Henzman pitched a total of 28 innings and struck out 17, and had an ERA of 3.86 with a WHIP of 1.29. Depending on the decisions and needs of the White Sox there is a chance that Henzman and McClure pitch together again this spring.
The home run mashing hero of the 2017 Super Regional beating of the University of Kentucky continued mashing for the A (short season) Hillsboro Hops after being selected in the 2nd Round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. 48 games into his professional career, Ellis hit 8 doubles, 8 home runs and slashed .227/.327/.403/.730. Another promising season looks in store for the #5 ranked prospect in the Diamondback’s system.
Last seasons Golden Spikes Award winner became not only the first player in Cardinal history to win the prestigious award, but he also became the highest draft pick in school history going 4th overall to the Tampa Bay Rays. He checks in this spring as the #1 first basemen prospect in minor league baseball according to MiLB.com, the Rays #3 prospect and the #20 overall prospect in baseball. Going into the draft he was heralded as the best two way player in over 40 years. Not only did he win a plethora of All-American accolades, but he is the only player to win multiple John Olerud awards, which go to the countries best two-way players, (he won 3 in a row). Last season the Rays let him pitch and play first base claiming that his better position will eventually stand out as he makes his way through the professional ranks. The 22 year old from Pennsylvania spent his summer playing for the A (short season) Hudson Valley Renegades where he excelled both at the plate and on the mound. In 36 games at the plate, he hit 4 home runs and 4 doubles while slashing .232/.349/.376/.725. On the mound, he started 6 games, struck out 21 in 20 innings and had an ERA of 1.80 with a WHIP of 0.75. The jury is still out on what position he will eventually stick with but maybe we will get a chance to see a modern-day Babe Ruth and watch McKay dominate both on bump and at the dish for years to come just as we did when he wore the red and black at Jim Patterson Stadium.