On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the addition of right-handed pitcher John Walter, assigning the 25-year-old to Class A-Advanced Palm Beach.
Originally signed by Kansas City as their 29th round pick in 2012, the Penn State product reached the A-Advanced Carolina League as a reliever in 2014 but was released at the conclusion of spring training 2015.
Moving to independent ball, the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder became a starter and made 19 starts for New Jersey of the Can-Am League last season, leading the league in strikeouts, and four more here in 2016 before his rights were acquired by the Cardinals. With the Jackals, Walter went 13-2 with a 2.56 ERA. He struck out 156 in 147 innings, but also issued 47 free passes.
Last winter, after his first season in New Jersey, the Cincinnati Reds signed Walter but released him during spring training. According to the Jackals, Walter was scouted by David Ruckert, a former New Jersey clubhouse assistant who is now working with the Cardinals in the Northeast.
Among Walter’s former teammates at New Jersey this season are former Cardinals second-round draft pick Robert Stock and ex-Memphis outfielder Mike O’Neill.
Frey and Bowen Bumped Down
Frey, 24, began the spring in extended spring training, but was promoted to the Beach Birds on April 20. He was sent to Peoria two days later, and remained with the Chiefs until rejoining Palm Beach on May 12. Now in his fourth move of the young season, Frey returns to the Midwest League, where he also spent the majority of 2015.
This season, Frey’s ERA with Palm Beach is 6.08 in 13 1/3 innings, but with Peoria, it was just 1.50 in six innings of relief. In parts of three seasons, his professional ERA is 5.20.
Bowen, lanky at 6-foot-2, 155 pounds, was signed by St. Louis last June as an undrafted free agent. The 23-year-old joined Peoria on May 12 in the same set of moves that brought Frey to Palm Beach the second time.
With the Chiefs, Bowen posted an 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings as opposing hitters battered him for a collective .390 batting average.
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