It was certainly an interesting season for the Cardinals’ rookie pitchers, filled with some great highs and a pretty bad low.
Twenty-three year old Luke Weaver made his Major League debut on August 13 as the starting pitcher against the Cubs. He went on to rack up his first major league loss, but ended up playing nine games, pitching 36.1 innings. He finished this season with one decision win and four losses. He holds an ERA of 5.70, and a WHIP of 1.596, both of which are a little bit high, but not too bad for a rookie. He tossed 45 strikeouts and 12 walks for a decent rookie season.
Then we have 22 year old Alex Reyes, who debuted on August 9, pitching one inning against the Reds. In 2016, he pitched 12 games, 46 innings total, for the Cardinals, starting five games. He tallied up four decision wins and a loss, as well as one save. He chalked up a 1.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.217, seemingly off to a pretty good start. He tossed 52 strikeouts and walked 23 batters, so not a bad first season.
Twenty-five year old Matt Bowman made his debut as a reliever on April 6. He was pretty solid, pitching 67.2 innings over 59 games. His ERA is 3.46, with a 1.167 WHIP, bringing home two wins and five losses this season. He threw a solid 52 strikeouts, though he surrendered 20 walks. He definitely has his work cut out for him, but we could very well see him on a Major League mound again in 2017.
Twenty-seven year old Dean Kiekhefer debuted on May 14 as a reliever. He threw for 22 innings over 26 games, earning himself an ERA of 5.32 and 1.409 WHIP, which shows that there is some room for improvement. He gathered 14 strikeouts and gave up seven walks, with no decision wins or losses.
Twenty-four year old Mike Mayers debuted on July 24 against the Dodgers, a day he probably wishes we would forget. He made headlines as he pitched what was, statistically speaking, the worst debut for a pitcher ever. He handed out nine runs, including an Adrian Gonzalez grand slam. He left the game with his ERA skyrocketing at 60.75 and his first major league loss. He finished the 2016 season with an ERA of 27.00 and a 3.563 WHIP, definitely not good, but better than the statistics from his first game. He ended up pitching in four games, 5.1 innings total. He had one decision win and one loss, with two strikeouts and three walks for the season. He definitely had a rocky start, but hopefully 2017 will be better.
Following that, Cardinal Nation met 34 year old Seung Hwan Oh who saw success as our closing pitcher this season, after veteran Trevor Rosenthal was removed from the position. He debuted on April 3, and continued on to play 76 games, pitching a total of 79.2 innings. He ended his first season in Major League Baseball with 19 saves, six decision wins and three losses. He has an ERA of 1.92, with a 0.916 WHIP. He racked up 103 strikeouts and only 18 walks, so it’s pretty safe to say that we’ll be seeing more of him in the coming seasons.
There is definitely a lot of work to be put in by these rookies, but with the offseason upon us, there is plenty of time to put in the work. Perhaps they will be able to earn themselves a spot in the bullpen next season. Or maybe we’ll see some more new faces, only time will tell.