First-round pick Michael Wacha had a very successful professional debut and was named The Cardinal Nation's Relief Pitcher of the Year. As you will see below, there were many impressive performances, not only from the higher draft picks, but from late round finds as well. The number in parentheses following the players name is the round in which he was selected.
Michael Wacha (1)
Wacha was one player in this draft expected to be selected higher but fell to 19th overall for reasons uncontrollable by him. Like Shelby Miller and Zack Cox before him, the Cardinals showed a willingness to jump. Wacha immediately repaid the organization.
Limited because of a high innings load at Texas A&M, Wacha racked up 40 strikeouts and only four walks in 21 innings of work spread over three levels. The right-hander posted an ERA of just 0.86 and held opponents to a .114 average. In the hitter-friendly Texas League, Wacha racked up an eye-catching 17 strikeouts in only eight innings of work.
Cooney was a quick sign after being drafted out of Wake Forest. That enabled him to get a lot of work at Batavia. The southpaw went 3-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 55.2 innings. The 21-year-old made 13 appearances including 11 starts. Cooney gave up 56 hits including four home runs while walking only eight. The former Deamon Deacon struck out 43 and posted a 3.5-to-1 groundball-to fly ball ratio.
Cory Jones (5)
The big right-hander (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) made only five appearances at Johnson City before being shut down at the end of July. In 17.1 innings, he allowed 14 earned runs and a .296 batting average against. He did manage 15 strikeouts but allowed 11 free passes.
Kurt Heyer (6)
The former Arizona Wildcat logged a lot of innings during the spring season, one in which he helped lead his team to the College World Series. For this reason, Heyer was limited to only six innings in his professional debut in the Gulf Coast and New York-Penn Leagues.
Kyle Barraclough (7)
Barraclough made four appearances at Batavia before being promoted to the Quad Cities to finish the season. While in the New York-Penn League, the St. Mary's product made four appearances including three starts, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts. Once at the Quad Cities, he made 11 appearances out of the River Bandits' bullpen. In 17.1 innings, he racked up an impressive 21 strikeouts but struggled with his command, leading to 13 walks.
The highly regarded Florida prep left-hander was knocked around in his limited professional debut in the Gulf Coast League. Foody made eight appearances, which included six starts. In 16.1 innings, the 19-year-old was tagged for 26 hits and 16 walks which led to 21 earned runs. Opponents hit .356 against him during this stretch. On a positive note, he did strike out 18 and did not allow a home run.
Joe Scanio (16)
The St. Louis native made 19 appearances out of the Batavia bullpen, racking up two saves along the way. In 29 innings, he logged 15 strikeouts and posted an almost 3-to-1 groundball-to-fly ball ratio.
Chris Perry (17)
After throwing 92.2 innings this spring for Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C., the right-hander developed inflammation in his lower back shortly after starting his workouts in July with the Gulf Coast Cardinals in Jupiter. He has yet to make his official professional debut.
Steven Gallardo (19)
The California juco player made only two appearances at Johnson City before being sent to the GCL. Once at the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, he did not make any more appearances in 2012.
Assigned to Batavia, the Missouri native was overpowering in his pro debut. In 34.1 relief innings, the lefty racked up 49 strikeouts while allowing only seven free passes. His walk total matched his save number. Overall, he posted a miniscule 0.79 ERA while holding the opposition to a .183 batting average against.
Stoppelman was named The Cardinal Nation Rookie Reliever of the Year.
Dixon Llorens (25)
The right-hander totally overpowered the Appy League circuit during his professional debut. In 15.2 innings, he struck out 28 while holding opponents to a .098 average.
Llorens was then challenged with a jump to full-season baseball at Quad Cities. He proved to be up to the challenge and more than held his own against the more advanced Midwest League hitters. In 11 games covering 20.1 innings, he posted 34 strikeouts and held the opposition to an average of .189.
Steve Sabatino (26)
The ex-Notre Dame southpaw only made four appearances covering 7.1 innings. Sabatino finished with seven strikeouts and an ERA of 4.91.
Joey Cuda (27)
The undersized right-hander finished third in the New York Penn League with a team high seven wins. Cuda finished with a 4.15 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 60.2 innings.
The left-hander finished with a record of 4-2 to go with a solid 3.42 ERA while making 10 starts for Batavia. Helisek posted a 33-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55.1 innings of work.
Joey Donofrio (31)
The late-round selection made a strong professional debut for the Cardinals. Donofrio pitched 2/3 of an inning at the Gulf Coast League before being sent to Johnson City. Most Appy League hitters wish he would have stayed in Florida because he really found success in Eastern Tennessee. Donofrio went 4-2 with a 1.26 ERA in 13 appearances out of the Baby Birds' bullpen. In 28.2 innings, he racked up 31 strikeouts while allowing 10 walks and 22 hits.
Ben O'Shea (35)
O'Shea started his pro career at Batavia where he found his groove in the Muckdogs rotation. The left-hander went 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 12 starts. O' Shea showed great control with only five walks in 60.2 innings. He finished the season with 43 strikeouts while allowing 61 hits including six home runs.
Javier Machuca (38)
Drafted out of Puerto Rico, Machuca made 17 appearances out of the Gulf Coast Cardinals' bullpen. The 19-year-old was credited with three wins while posting an ERA of 5.16. In 29.2 innings, the southpaw struck out 22 while walking nine. The competition hit .265 against him which included allowing left-handed hitters a .391 batting average against.
Mike Aldrete (39)
The son of the Cardinals' bench coach struggled to find his way at Johnson City. In 15 appearances working out of the bullpen, he managed 24 strikeouts but allowed opponents to hit .320 which led to an ERA of over seven. He finished the season at Batavia where he appeared in four games with mixed results.
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