As the rest of us flip over our calendars to the month of August on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals player development staff has already been preparing their pitching rotations for the final month of the 2016 regular season.
After the move of Austin Gomber from A-Advanced Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield on Friday, followed by Sandy Alcantara from Class-A Peoria to Palm Beach on Saturday, three more very successful starting pitchers were promoted on Sunday.
The center of Sunday’s activity is the short-season Class-A State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. The Spikes said goodbye to a pair and welcomed one. Lefty John Kilichowski and right-hander Ronnie Williams were promoted to Peoria and righty Jordan Hicks joins the NYPL club from rookie-level Johnson City of the Appalachian League.
Like Gomber (13th) and Alcantara (16th), Williams (27th) and Hicks (honorable mention) received mention in the most recent update of The Cardinal Nation top 40 prospect list. Kilichowski is still too new to be ranked, but his promotion gives him the distinction of becoming the first member of the Cardinals 2016 draft class to reach full-season ball.
Kilichowski, the Cardinals' 11th-round pick from Vanderbilt, went 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA over five appearances, including four starts. The 22-year-old recorded 20 strikeouts and walked 11 batters over 19 2/3 innings with the Spikes. Upon joining the Chiefs, Kilichowski should be well-rested, having pitched just 4 2/3 innings since July 14.
Williams, 20, went 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA over seven starts for State College. The 2014 second-round draft choice also tied single-game Spikes records with 10 strikeouts and eight innings pitched in his June 30 start against Brooklyn.
Hicks, 19, the supplemental third-round draft choice of the Cardinals in 2015, went 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA over six starts for Johnson City to start this season and his professional career. In his first five outings, the Houston native posted a 2.03 ERA, as well as three quality starts (six innings or more with three earned runs or less allowed).
Hicks will make his first New York-Penn League start on Monday against West Virginia, the same night Kilichowski will take the mound for the Chiefs. Williams will follow with his Peoria debut on Wednesday.
Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview: Ronnie Williams
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