Cardinals sign four pitchers for Johnson City

The St. Louis Cardinals have increased their post-draft free agent signee crop to seven with four former college pitchers, all assigned to the Appalachian League.

To date, the St. Louis Cardinals organization has added at least seven non-drafted free agents since the 40-round 2012 First-Year Player Draft on June 4-6. Six are pitchers plus one outfielder-first baseman was signed.

The lone position player, Jordan Walton, is assigned to Batavia of the New York-Penn League, the highest short-season club. The earlier-announced pitchers, left-hander Josh Renfro and righty Chris Thomas, were covered in this article. Both have been placed with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, the lowest of the three short-season affiliates.

That leaves four new signees having joined the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League. They are all right-handers: Jacob Booden, Thomas Lee, Zach Petrick and Jeff Rauh. Two call Illinois home with the others from California.

Booden, 21, hails from Vernon Hills, Ill. and joins the Cardinals by way of Bradley University, where he was a three-time letterman. The 6-foot-7 right-hander finished third in school history with 65 career pitching appearances and tied for eighth with 40 career relief appearances.

His career record is 10-10 with a 5.04 ERA, but his ERA was 2.84 in 2012. Booden fanned 139, but walked 105 in 168 innings over his four years. This season, he fanned 42 and walked 21 in 31 2/3 frames.

After starting 19 games in 2010 and 2011, Booden worked exclusively out of the bullpen as a late-inning reliever in 2012. His 28 appearances this spring were the second-most in a single season in Braves history. Booden throws an 89-93 mph fastball and a deceptive slider at 85.

Bakersfield, Cal. native Thomas Lee became a Cardinal after completing his college career at NCAA Division II Sonoma State University. The right-hander led the California Collegiate Athletic Association in strikeouts this season, fanning 86 batters. In 2012, he went 7-2 with a 2.54 earned run average in 88 2/3 innings and walked just 15. Lee earned a pair of CCAA Pitcher of the Week awards during the regular season.

Lee became Sonoma State's all-time leader in strikeouts and innings pitched. In 54 career appearances for the Seawolves, the 22-year-old went 16-7 with a 3.16 ERA and 214 strikeouts. He capped his career with All-Conference and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region first-team selections in 2012.

Zach Petrick competed for the University of Northwestern Ohio the last two seasons after transferring from Joliet Junior College. At UNOH, the right-hander posted a 10-5 record in 27 appearances with 21 starts and 130 1/3 innings. Petrick logged a 3.05 ERA with 121 hits and 50 runs, 112 strikeouts against 25 walks and tossed five complete games.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right hander from Morris, Ill. was named first-team All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference as a senior after receiving honorable mention as a junior.

Petrick comes from a baseball family. His older brother Billy was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the 2002 draft and appeared in eight games in the majors as a relief pitcher for the Cubs in 2007.

Jeff Rauh is another Californian, from Lake Forest by way of the University of California at San Diego. The 22-year-old made 12 starts in 2012, finishing with a 4-4 record and a 5.47 ERA. Through 70.0 innings, Rauh struck out 47 batters, the third most on the Triton staff.

In four years at UCSD, Rauh made 34 appearances, logging a 5.37 ERA and a 6-6 record. The right-hander struck out 76 hitters in 112 1/3 innings pitched for the Tritons during his career.

Note: For full Johnson City and GCL rosters, click here. For Batavia, click here.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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