Austin Gomber (Brian Walton / The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis’ 2017 exhibition games, an Arizona Fall League addition, a Pitcher of the Week and more in Tuesday minor league news.

St. Louis’ 2017 exhibition games, an Arizona Fall League addition, a Pitcher of the Week and more in Tuesday minor league news.

St. Louis Sets Minors Exhibition Schedule

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Tuesday that they are planning to play evening exhibition games at Memphis’ AutoZone Park on Thursday, March 30 and Springfield’s Hammons Field on Friday, March 31 in advance of their 2017 Major League Baseball regular season opener.

The Cardinals will be making their first visit to Springfield since 2012 and tere last in Memphis for an exhibition game in 2015.  St. Louis’ current Major League roster includes 30 players and coaches who previously wore Memphis and Springfield uniforms.

Gomber to Arizona

When the Cardinals announced their initial group of six players to participate in the Arizona Fall League for the Glendale Desert Dogs, their starting pitcher was not included. That individual was named on Tuesday – Springfield left-hander Austin Gomber.

The 22-year-old is an ideal selection for the AFL as he missed four weeks of play in August due to a finger injury that is now healed. Between 17 starts at Palm Beach and four with Springfield, Gomber has a 2.69 ERA to go with 116 strikeouts vs. 33 walks in 121 innings.

Gomber is The Cardinal Nation’s 12th-ranked prospect and was the Cardinal organization’s co-Pitcher of the Year in 2015.

Helsley Top MWL Hurler

The Midwest League announced that Peoria Chiefs pitcher Ryan Helsley was named MWL Pitcher of the Week for the week of August 29 – September 5. Helsley previously won the award for the period of April 22-28.

Helsley beat Beloit at home on Friday with 6 2/3 shutout innings in which he struck out 13 and allowed just one hit without issuing a walks. The 13 strikeouts established a new season and career high for Helsley and are the second most ever recorded in a game at Dozer Park.

St. Louis’ 2015 fifth round pick from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma went 10-2 in the regular season with a 1.61 ERA in 17 starts. He finished tied for second in the MWL in wins, one behind the leader. Helsley would have led the MWL in ERA at 1.61 but he was 17 innings shy of qualifying for the league ERA title with 95 innings of work. He struck out 109 batters and walked just 19 for a 1.01 WHIP. Helsley held MWL opponents to a .216 average and allowed just one home run after April 16. His average against and WHIP numbers also would have led the league with enough innings to qualify. The right-hander missed nearly two months with a right-arm injury before returning to the rotation August 14 and he finished the season 2-1 with a 0.48 ERA in four starts.

One More Time for Garcia

The many moves of catcher Erik Garcia to Palm Beach as a backfill for Chris Rivera only to return to Johnson City are finally done for 2016. With the end of the 2016 season for the Beach Birds on Monday, the catcher was transferred back with JC for the remainder of the Appalachian League post-season.

In his final stint with Palm Beach over the Labor Day weekend, Garcia did not play.


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