As the St. Louis Cardinals minor league spring training camp is getting underway in Jupiter, Florida, the organization added a free agent pitcher while saying goodbye to an outfielder after just one season in the organization.
Both players are 23 years old, with last names that start with “R” and end in “d,” but they are heading in opposite directions. One is looking for a fresh start in the game, while the other is leaving professional baseball behind entirely.
This past week, the Cards signed a once-promising starting pitcher taken in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of a California high school. Right-hander Robby Rowland was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the spring of 2012 after two undistinguished seasons in rookie ball.
In the three years since, the career of the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder stalled, as he could not advance out of Class-A. After being moved to relief last season, Rowland did not show improvement in his numbers and was released by the Bucs in August. He remained unsigned until now.
Over his five pro seasons, the 23-year-old has been far too hittable and issues far too many walks. In fact, his walk rate increased last season to over 5.5 per nine innings, a new career high. As a result, Rowland’s career ERA and WHIP are 5.28 and 1.45, respectively. One positive is a career 1.55-to-1 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.
For now, I forecast Rowland joining the crowded competition for a bullpen spot at Palm Beach, but of course, his pitching over the next three weeks in minor league spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida will stamp the ticket to his next destination.
The Busch Chase is over
The Cardinals have placed outfielder Chase Raffield on the voluntarily retired list. That means the organization continues to hold his rights should he decide to return. The 23-year-old has become the first of the 28 signed members of the Cardinals 2014 draft class to officially hang up his cleats.
The 37th-rounder from Georgia State scuffled at short-season State College last summer, putting up a line of .199/.280/.342/.623 in 149 at-bats over 47 games. The left-handed hitter drove in 22 and scored 19 runs. Raffield drew 17 walks and struck out 31 times.
Bookmark the Roster Matrix
To see the full 2014 season-ending rosters by level and position for the entire Cardinals system on one page, along with every transaction all season long, check out the Roster Matrix, always up-to-date and free at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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