Interview: 4th-Rounder Bittle Signs w/Cards

Right-hander Scott Bittle of ‘Ole Miss, the St. Louis Cardinals' fourth-round draft pick, has come to terms. We have an exclusive audio interview with the organization's most recent signee!

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Scott Bittle, also known as Joseph Bittle. The 22-year-old was the organization's fourth round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft from ‘Ole Miss.

Bittle, a senior, was taken twice by the New York Yankees in the draft - in the 48th round in 2007 and in the second round in June, 2008.

He transferred to Ole Miss prior to the 2007 season from Northeast Texas Community College. Bittle became the closer for the Rebels and tallied an almost 5-to-1 K/BB ratio, striking out nearly two batters per inning. In 27 appearances, he struck out 130 batters and walked only 30 in 70.2 innings of work. Bittle held opponents to a .145 average and posted a 1.78 ERA on the year.


In 2009, the right-hander became a starter during the season, posting a 5-2 record with a 2.17 ERA in 14 games, including six starts. He took no-decision in a start at number two-ranked LSU in which he worked seven scoreless innings and threw a complete-game shutout of Kentucky with a career-high 13 strikeouts. Bittle struck out 68 but walked 44 in his 45 2/3 innings. Opposing batters managed a .175 average against him. He missed the final six weeks of the season due to a shoulder injury.


According to scouting reports, the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder's 88-91 mph fastball is just average with his mid-‘80s cutter his primary pitch. Bittle works effectively down in the zone and effectively mixes in a changeup. However, his profile is not that of an MLB closer, so his future role remains a question.


The Cardinals have now agreed to terms with 14 of their top 15 selections, with only their number one pick still without an agreement (right-handed high school pitcher Shelby Miller). In total, 42 of their 50 picks have inked deals.



Update: I spoke with Scott late Friday evening as he was packing up to head to Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida. In the following exclusive audio interview, Bittle explains how he came to terms, his relationship with former teammate Lance Lynn, the current state of his strained joint capsule and when he expects to be ready to compete.




Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.


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