Cardinals Minors Pitchers Changing Addresses

Five relievers have been promoted, two all-star outfielders have come off the DL and four others are taking a step downward in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system on Wednesday. The moves affect five levels, from Double-A Springfield to rookie-level Johnson City.

First, a summary, with details following.

Moves Upward

To Springfield from Palm Beach: RHR Sam Tuivailala and LHR Iden Nazario
To Palm Beach from Peoria: RHR Chris Perry
To Peoria from State College: RHR Josh Lucas
To State College from Johnson City: RHR Anderson Gerdel

Lateral Moves

Off Springfield DL: OF James Ramsey
Off Peoria DL: OF Ronald Castillo

Moves Downward

To Palm Beach from Springfield: RHR Logan Billbrough and OF David Popkins
To State College from Peoria: RHP Joe Scanio activated from Peoria disabled list and transferred to State College
To Johnson City from State College: RHP Jeff Barkley

Hard-throwing Tui to Taste Double-A

Ranked 33rd on the most recent top 40 prospect list here at The Cardinal Nation is right-handed reliever Sam Tuivailala. Possessing an upper 90’s fastball that can touch 100 on occasion, the 21-year-old former infielder leads the entire system with 15.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He also walks 4.3 per nine and had a less-than eye-popping Florida State League ERA of 3.58.

This will be Tuivailala’s Double-A debut, halfway through his third season on the mound.

Nazario Back to Springfield

Lefty Iden Nazario had a one-game trial at Double-A Springfield in August 2012. Other than that, the 25-year-old has spent almost the entire last 2 ½ seasons at Palm Beach. Now, the Miami native gets another shot at the Texas League.

Over 28 games for Palm Beach, Nazario had a 2.18 ERA and four saves. He fanned 44 and walked 15 in 41 1/3 innings.

Perry Journeys South

Though Palm Beach lost strikeout king Tuivailala to promotion, they gained another in Chris Perry, third in the system with a 14.7 per nine strikeout rate this season with Peoria.

The 23-year-old right-hander was a Midwest League all-star and was a perfect 4-0 with three saves and a 2.20 ERA for the Chiefs. Perry was the system-wide May Pitcher of the Month, named by the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation.

Lucas On the Rise

Peoria receives a new reliever from State College in Josh Lucas. The 6-foot-6 right-hander was roughed up in four appearances with the Chiefs in 2013, his first season back from Tommy John surgery, but is ready for another shot at the Midwest League.

To start 2014, Lucas was strong for the Spikes. The 23-year-old allowed just one earned run in 11 1/3 innings, while fanning 10 and walking five. He also had a successful four-game fill-in stint with Palm Beach earlier in the season.

Gerdel Gets a Chance

Moving up from Johnson City’s pen to State College is 21-year-old righty Anderson Gerdel. Initially back for a second season in the Appy League in 2014, the Venezuelan showed he is ready for a new challenge.

In 11 innings over eight games this year, Gerdel allowed just two runs. He fanned 10 and did not issue a walk while holding opposing hitters to a .220 average.

Ramsey Just in Time

Having lost seven of their last nine and struggling to score runs, Springfield got its top-ranked prospect back on Wednesday in James Ramsey. The 23-year-old is coming off the disabled list for the second time this season, most recently out with an oblique strain.

In his second partial Double-A campaign in 2014, the left-handed batter has .307/.389/.550 line with 12 home runs and 31 RBI in 51 Texas League contests.

The outfielder missed the Texas League All-Star Game but will hopefully be able to play in the MLB All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in Minneapolis.

Castillo Emulates Ramsey and Himself

Where have I heard this before? Like Ramsey, Peoria’s Ronald Castillo was selected as a starting outfielder in his league’s All-Star Game, only to sit out due to injury while taking a second DL turn this season. In fact, missing the All-Star Game has happened to Castillo two years in a row (NY-Penn League in 2013).

Having scored only five runs over their last three games, the Chiefs welcomed Castillo back onto their active roster on Wednesday. The 22-year-old has been out with an abdominal strain the second time since June 6. Castillo appeared in a pair of rehab games in the Gulf Coast League on June 25-26, but had a setback.

Billbrough Bounced

Reliever Logan Billbrough found Texas League hitters a challenging lot, logging a 7.50 ERA in his first 25 games at the Double-A level. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 28 in 30 innings, but also issued 16 free passes and served up five home run balls.

Billbrough will look to regroup at Palm Beach, where he logged a 2.12 ERA last season and a 2.81 mark the year before.

Popkins to Place of Past Success

With the activation of Ramsey at Springfield, outfielder David Popkins was returned to his 2013 club at Palm Beach. In 199 at-bats over his first 67 Texas League contests, the 24-year-old posted a line of .221/.300/.327.

Though the Florida State League is considered harder on hitters, the switch-hitter excelled there last summer, with a .317/.377/.463 line.

Scanio Flashback to 2012

St. Louis-born Joe Scanio made just six appearances for Peoria in April before suffering a fractured wrist. The 24-year-old had been on the Midwest League club’s disabled list until he made one rehab outing in the Gulf Coast League this Monday, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless frames. Now, the right-hander has been re-assigned to State College to resume regular action.

After signing in 2012, Scanio made 19 relief appearances in the New York-Penn League prior to spending all of 2013 in the MWL.

Barkley to Work on Rebounding

The Cardinals moved free agent signee Jeff Barkley down to Johnson City from State College. With the Spikes, the 24-year-old yielded 13 runs in 14 innings, including three long balls. He fanned just six and walked seven NYPL batters.

Bonus Siegrist News

St. Louis left-hander Kevin Siegrist is Springfield bound. On the disabled list since May 24, the reliever has been throwing in St. Louis and has been cleared to join the Double-A Springfield club on a rehab assignment, reports Rob Rains.

More News on the Way

Please remember to check back here. If additional transaction news comes to light on Wednesday, it will be added to this article!

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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