On July 10, Samuel was activated but dropped down all the way to the Gulf Coast League, then moved up to Palm Beach and Springfield within the next ten days. He struggled in Springfield only to be put back on the DL on August 15, where he remained for the rest of the season until one final outing on September 3.
That last outing continued a familiar Samuel pattern. Throwing in the upper 90's isn't as valuable if one can't control his pitches. In that final game, he walked two and gave up two runs without allowing a hit in 1/3 of an inning. Overall this season, Samuel fanned 17 in 14 innings but issued 16 free passes. His ERA across the three levels was a whopping 12.21.
Samuel was originally signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 2006. He was ranked on The Cardinal Nation Top Prospect List in each of the last three winters, but dropped each year - from number 19 in 2009, to 22 in 2010 to 35 last off-season. Once considered a future closer candidate, Samuel saved 28 games for Palm Beach in 2008 and 22 with Springfield in 2009 before his career downturn began.
Update: Samuel went unclaimed and was outrighted to the minor leagues on Saturday, September 17.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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