Cardinals Prospect Interview: Sam Tuivailala

The St. Louis Cardinals’ hard-throwing relief pitching prospect discusses his mound learning process.

I am not sure if it is technically correct to call a player a prospect when he is currently a Major Leaguer, but that is where The Cardinal Nation’s eighth-ranked player Sam Tuivailala realistically stands.

After his debut with St. Louis at the end of the 2014 season, the 22-year-old right-hander pitched in the Arizona Fall League, then prepared for 2015. In his first month with Memphis, Tuivailala had a perfect 0.00 ERA and finished his stint with saves in his final three opportunities.

A brief call up to St. Louis ensured, during which it was reinforced to the rookie that upper 90’s velocity is not enough. His third home run allowed in three career innings with the Cardinals serves as that reminder.

After four more outings at Triple-A, Tuivailala was back with the Major League club this week, replacing Tyler Lyons – at least until Jaime Garcia has to be activated for Thursday’s start.

Opening the 14th inning for the Cardinals in Monday night’s marathon in New York, Tuivailala walked two batters before being pulled. After a ground out and an intentional walk loaded the bases, an infield single against Trevor Rosenthal led to Tuivailala’s first career loss.

Manager Mike Matheny noted that Tuivailala was nibbling, “not trusting his stuff”. The skipper said he would normally let the pitcher work his way through it and believed he could, but closer Trevor Rosenthal was hot and he wanted to try to salvage the game.

In the following interview, held before Monday’s contest, Tuivailala discusses what he has continued to work on in his various stints this season.

Join the minor league discussion with other Cardinals fans 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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