Corey Littrell is very close to removing his label as the only minor leaguer in the July 2014 four-player trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox that also included big-leaguers John Lackey, Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.
Among three Cardinals relievers currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League while competing for a 40-man roster spot, Littrell is the most advanced. Moved to the bullpen for 2016, the 24-year old shot up from Double-A Springfield after 13 stellar relief outings (1.72 ERA) to join Triple-A Memphis in mid-May.
With the Redbirds, Littrell threw 51 1/3 innings over 40 Pacific Coast League games. He fanned 49 but issued 29 free passes while logging a 4.72 ERA in his first taste of Triple-A. Knowing he is so close, the former University of Kentucky star was disappointed he did not earn a September call up to St. Louis and motivated to change that in 2017.
In the following exclusive interview, Littrell outlines his family baseball heritage before outlining his trip up through the Cardinals full-season hierarchy and shares his hopes for next steps following the AFL.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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