2009 Cardinals Prospect #37 – Luke Gregerson

After losing his closer's job, the reliever came on late to help bolster Springfield's playoff run. Is he back on track for 2009?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2008 and career stats)

2008 ranking: #24

Position: RP

DOB: 5/14/1984

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 200

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

School: Saint Xavier

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 28th round (856th overall) of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Selected 2008 stats

SPR 7 6 3.35 57 0 10 75.1 62 32 6 26 78 1.54 0.221

Staff comments (individual rankings in parens)

Dustin Mattison (Not ranked): Over the past year, I guess I don't value a minor league middle reliever as much as a starting pitcher. The exception is a reliever who happens to be blessed with a triple digit fastball or a quirky delivery but we'll discuss guys like that later in the list.

I did rank Gregerson quite high in last year's selections. He was coming off a fantastic first full professional season with fantastic save totals at Palm Beach and a trip to the Arizona Fall League. But having seen him several times during the 2008 season, for me, he has lost some of his luster. He does possess a good slider that he used to once again put up superb strikeout numbers. But he lost his closer role to Fernando Salas after struggling with his consistency.

In a system with a plethora of right-handed power arms in the bullpen, Gregerson doesn't have the same upside of some of the pitchers that will be featured higher on this list.

Ray Mileur (38): After starting the year with some minor shoulder issues, the Springfield Cardinals' reliever put together a good season at Double-A. He finished the year, appearing in 57 games posting a record of 7-6 with 10 saves and an ERA of 3.35. After keeping the ball in the park for the entire season in 2007, Gregerson surrendered six home runs in 2008.

He has a decent low 90s fastball and a good slider that allowed him to strike out 78 batters in 75.1 innings. At the time of this report Gregerson was playing very well in winter ball. I had him ranked at #21 in last year's ranking and I wouldn't be surprised to see his stock bounce back in 2009.

Message board community (37): Gregerson started out the year as the closer at Double-A Springfield and after an excellent start, struggled mid-year, eventually losing his closer role. After going through a rough period in the middle of the season during which Gregerson gave up his first professional home runs (after two years as a pro - he would eventually give up six on the year), he settled down and finished the year with nine scoreless appearances. He followed that up in the Winter leagues with 13 more spotless games before giving up a run.

Despite his mid-year struggles, Gregerson finished with a more than respectable 3.35 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He has averaged over 10 K's per 9 innings for his minor league career. Gregerson has been described as having a major league slider and if he can regain his consistency in 2009 could challenge for a major league spot by the end of next year. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (30): After seeing Gregerson first-hand in the Arizona Fall League one year ago against the strongest competition he has yet faced as a professional, I ranked him #36 on my personal list. Jumping him to #30 makes me the only voter here that actually moved him up year-to-year.

Gregerson was dominant at Palm Beach in 2007 and as noted above, dealt with injuries and inconsistency in his first extended shot at Double-A. (He had a brief cup of coffee there at the end of 2007.) I suspect the physical problems may have lingered, but once right, Gregerson finished 2008 extremely strong with Springfield – during a time when many are wearing down.

In 21 2/3 August innings, his busiest month all season long, Gregerson was more effective than Salas. Luke held opposing hitters to a stingy .121 average (8-for-66). Their average on balls in play was just .163, his ground ball rate jumped to over 60% and in his final month allowed none of the six home runs yielded during the year. For the season, even with the problems, Gregerson still averaged over one strikeout per inning, proving you don't have to throw the ball 98 mph.

The fact that Gregerson continues to build upon that late-season dominance in Venezuela (0.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings to date) gives me additional confidence in considering his earlier rough period to have been an anomaly.

To see our entire list of 40 prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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