St. Louis Cardinals: Five potential break out players in 2016

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Sep 9, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Samuel Tuivailala (64) pitches during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Reds defeated the Cardinals 9-5. Image Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Image Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Sam Tuivailala

The tenth-ranked prospect in the St. Louis system, Sam Tuivailala has an electric fastball that sits in the 95-97 mph range and can reach triple digits. Tuilvailala also features a power curveball that he works off of his fastball very effectively.

The 2010 third round draft pick has appeared for the big club in stretches during both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Tuivailala appeared in 14 games in 2015, sporting a 3.07 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings pitched.

Issues with command have been the only thing keeping Tuivailala out of the Cardinal bullpen the past couple of seasons. When he works his fastball in the bottom half of the zone, and is able to locate his curveball on the outside half of the plate, he becomes virtually impossible to hit.

I look for Tuivailala to take a step forward this spring and compete for a middle innings role in the developing “super bullpen” that St. Louis figures to feature in 2016.

Again, depending on the effectiveness of Jonathan Broxton, newly signed Korean reliever Seung-hwan Oh and the health of Jordan Walden, Tuivailala could work himself into a late innings role, if he develops the command and presence to handle those pressure situations.

Next: Marco Gonzales