Cardinals prospect interview: Dean Kiekhefer

The St. Louis Cardinals left-handed relief prospect showed his stuff in the Arizona Fall League.

The St. Louis Cardinals have recognized the challenge in finding left-handed pitching they have faced in recent years by focusing on the position in recent drafts. They continued the emphasis by filling three of their four pitching spots in the 2013 Arizona Fall League with left-handers.

Kiekhefer

One of them is Dean Kiekhefer, pronounced KEEK-hef-er. The 24-year-old Kentuckian joined the organization from the University of Louisville in the 36th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

He excelled in the Midwest League in 2011 and the Florida State League the next season by keeping opposing runners off the bases. That continued in 2013 even as he experienced the challenge of Double-A for the first time. Kiekhefer's rate of 1.3 walks per nine innings was second-best in the entire Cardinals system and his ground out to fly out ratio was a solid 2:1.

This fall, in nine AFL appearances for Salt River covering 9 2/3 innings, he allowed five runs, including four earned. Kiekhefer yielded 11 hits, walked three and struck out six.

According to PITCH/fx data from his November 8 outing, Kiekhefer showed four pitches – fastball, sinker, changeup and slider. He averaged 89.6 mph on his fastball, maxing out at 90.8.

In this exclusive interview, Kiekhefer discusses his offerings, his ups and downs between Palm Beach and Springfield this past summer as well as his work in the AFL.

(6:47)

Coming soon: Look for interviews with all the Cardinals prospects that competed in the Arizona Fall League, exclusively for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation. Thank you for your support!

Links to earlier related articles

Cardinals prospect interview: Sam Gaviglio
Cardinals prospect interview: Anthony Ferrara
Cardinals prospect interview: Jacob Wilson
Cardinals prospect interview: James Ramsey
Cardinals prospect interview: Stephen Piscotty
Manager Mike Shildt on Cardinals AFL pitchers
Manager Mike Shildt on Cardinals AFL hitters
Salt River manager Mike Shildt on instant replay



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

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