Though he had literally over 100 choices to highlight, St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Tim Leveque singled out three of his charges as ones who made major strides during the 2015 season.
In the following interview, he goes into detail on the three – one of whom reached Triple-A Memphis in his second full season as a professional and the other two who anchored the playoff-bound rotation for the Class-A Peoria Chiefs after being drafted by the Cardinals in 2014.
Arturo Reyes began 2015 at Palm Beach, where the 23-year-old right-hander made three solid April starts (2.45 ERA) before being promoted to Double-A at the first of May. Anchoring the Springfield rotation, the 2013 40th-round draft pick made 17 starts, posting a 2.64 ERA in a hitter’s league.
Reyes not only was a mid-season Texas League All-Star, he was the lone S-Card to be named to the league’s exclusive post-season All-Star squad. Though his Memphis ERA was high at 7.82 over five starts, the former Gonzaga hurler finished the year with six innings of shutout ball at Oklahoma City on September 5th.
Read more about Reyes, The Cardinal Nation’s Springfield Starting Pitcher of the Year, here.
Austin Gomber joined the organization in the sixth round of the 2014 draft. The 21-year-old stepped up from State College that summer to spend the entire 2015 season at Class-A Peoria. The left-hander from Florida Atlantic had a tremendous season, leading the entire system in wins with 15.
Along the way, he logged a 2.67 ERA and earning Midwest Player of the Week recognition, becoming the only Chief to make both the mid- and post-season All-Star teams and adding the Cardinals organization’s August Pitcher of the Month award.
Check out more details on Gomber’s accomplishments in our Peoria Starting Pitcher of the Year article here.
Matt Pearce may be the least-known of the three, but the 21-year-old from Polk State Junior College in Florida also had a standout season for Peoria. Taken in the 13th round of the 2014 draft, Pearce stepped up from Johnson City last year and slipped right into the Chiefs 2015 rotation. There the right-hander made 24 starts, with a 2.43 ERA and 95 strikeouts vs. just 22 walks in 144 2/3 innings.
His ERA was third-best among starters in the entire system, a quarter of a run per nine innings lower than his teammate Gomber. Pearce’s most impressive accomplishment, however, may have been his Midwest League-record 54 1/3 inning walk-less streak than ran from June 8 until August 7.
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