Cards Release Former 2nd-Rounder Robert Stock

A former top draft pick who moved from catching back to pitching never found his groove as a professional.

In what can hardly be described as surprising news, the St. Louis Cardinals have released right-handed relief pitcher Robert Stock, reports Baseball America.

The organization’s second-round draft pick in 2009 had been a two-way player at Southern Cal, but wanted to be a catcher in the professional ranks. Stock received a $525,000 signing bonus after being selected 67th overall, taken between pitchers Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly. After a solid first season at Johnson City, where he batted .322 and was an Appalachian League all-star, Stock zoomed up top prospect lists.

That success did not last. After hitting .213 in 2010 and .240 with little pop the next season, it became clear he did not have enough bat to be successful, so the organization convinced Stock to return to the mound during spring training 2012.

Over the last three seasons, Stock the pitcher was unable to get beyond A-ball. He actually went backward in 2014, having been returned to Class-A after reaching A-Advanced Palm Beach to start the season. As a result of the position change and lack of progress on the mound, I suspect Stock set an unenviable record by playing in the Midwest League for six consecutive years (2009-2014).

Despite repeating levels, Stock’s ongoing problem with free passes had actually worsened over time.

In 2014, Stock had the second-highest walk rate in the entire Cardinals system at 6.5 per nine. His strikeout to walk ratio tied for worst in the organization at 0.9. In other words, in his final season, he walked more batters than he struck out. Further, his ground ball to fly ball rate was eighth-lowest in the system last season.

The 25-year-old ends his 105-appearance Cardinals mound career with a 4.17 ERA. Stock walked 120 and struck out 151 in 172 2/3 innings.

Other Minors Moves

BA noted that three other lower-profile minor leaguers were also given their release, right-handed pitchers Jeff Barkley and Kevin Carlow along with infielder Danny Stienstra.

Carlow, 24, was signed as a free agent last spring out of Brown University. Stationed in the Johnson City pen, he had a fine strikeout to walk ratio at 42 to 10 in 33 innings against younger hitters, but was far too hittable with 39 hits allowed and a 6.00 ERA.

Barkley, 25, was also added as a free agent last spring from Pfieffer University in North Carolina. Though he was moved down to Johnson City from State College, he did not fare well at either stop, with a combined 9.49 ERA in 18 games. He walked more, 14, than he struck out, 13, in 30 1/3 innings.

Stienstra, 25, was the Cards’ 12th round draft pick in 2011 from San Jose State. His career was wrecked by a series of injuries that restricted him to 40 games in 2012 and knocked him out for the entire 2014 season. The right-handed batter who reached Palm Beach in 2013 finished his Cardinals career with a line of .288/.336/.365/.701 in 190 games.

For more

To see the entire Cardinals system by level and position, along with every transaction all year long, plus all free agents and their status, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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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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