GCL Cardinals Reliever of the Year: 2009

Twenty-fourth round pick Keith Butler made his mark in the Gulf Coast Cardinals bullpen.

When the St. Louis Cardinals chose Keith Butler in the 24th round of this past June's draft, the organization seemed to know exactly what it was getting. A reliever in college, the Wabash Community College product was put in the back end of the Gulf Coast League bullpen and he thrived from the beginning.

Butler posted a record of 1-1 with a tremendous ERA of 2.22. Along the way he collected six saves, which was the sixth best mark on the circuit in 2009. Stingy might be a good way to describe the 20-year-old. The opposition managed only a .189 average against him. In 28.1 innings of work, he posted 34 strikeouts to go along with 12 walks.

For the sabermaticians, he posted an FIP of 2.47 and a RA9 of 2.86. Gulf Coast League hitters grounded out 48% of the time while posting a .277 average on balls in play.

Butler was rewarded for his fine play with a promotion to Johnson City where he did not allow a run in two appearances.

Honorable Mention

Cale Johnson showed impeccable control that earned him a quick promotion to Johnson City. In 12 GCL innings, he struck 14 while walking only two.

Omar Diaz made 11 appearances out of the pen and was able to pick up two victories along the way. The 21-year-old struck out 13 in 13 inning while struggling with his control.

Left-hander Manuel De La Cruz had as many walks as strikeouts but did pitch lefties tough. He did not allow a hit to a left-handed hitter but he did walk five in limited action.

Luis Orozco did finish second on the team with four saves but posted an ERA of over five.

Dustin can be contacted at dustin@whiteyball.com.
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