St. Louis Cardinals’ Arizona Fall League Preview: Corey Littrell

michaeldavidmiles
Jun 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; A major league baseball rest in the grass prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; A major league baseball rest in the grass prior to the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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As we continue our AFL preview, we turn our attention to Corey Littrell who the St. Louis Cardinals have decided to send to the Arizona Fall League for an extended look.

The St. Louis Cardinals have chosen the six players that they will be sending to the Arizona Fall League’s Glendale Desert dogs. As a team, we here at Redbird Rants are covering them separately and giving you a heads up on how each player has performed in 2016 and how they profile. We will also be giving you our opinion on if/when the player will make the majors.

Our other writers have covered Luke Voit (read here) and Rowan Wick (read here).  For this installment, we turn our attention to left-handed pitcher, Corey Littrell.  The 24-year old Littrell hails from Louisville, KY.  Littrell graduated from Trinity High School in Kentucky and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 43rd round of the 2010 amateur draft.

Littrell elected to attend the University of Kentucky and was later drafted in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by the Boston Red Sox.  Corey spent 2013 with the low-A level affiliate of the Red Sox and then played in high-A at the start of 2014.  At the trade deadline of 2014, Littrell came to the St. Louis Cardinals in the John Lackey deal that sent Allen Craig and Joe Kelly to Boston.

Littrell was assigned to Palm Beach (the Cardinals’ high-A team) for the remainder of 2014.  Pleased with his development, the Cardinals wanted to allow him an additional year in high-A to work with staff and that is where he sat during 2015.

St. Louis Cardinals
Feb 25, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Corey Littrell (75) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

2016 became the exciting year for the St. Louis Cardinals in their relationship with Littrell.  The St. Louis Cardinals were excited enough by Littrell’s material that they offered him a non-roster invitation to the 2016 spring training and then assigned him to AA with greater plans in the future.  After spending a mere month with AA, Littrell was promoted to AAA Memphis where he finished the 2016 campaign.

Here’s a quick look at his historic pitching statistics by level:

[AA] 13 games; 15.2 innings; 8 hits; 3 ER; 2 HR; 14 K; 1 BB; 1-2 SVO; 1-0 record; 0.57 WHIP; 1.72 ERA

[AAA] 39 games; 51.0 innings; 51 hits; 26 ER; 5 HR; 49 K; 28 BB; 1-2 SVO; 1-4 record; 1.55 WHIP; 4.59 ERA

Littrell has been used exclusively out of the pen and this might be the best place for him.  The St. Louis Cardinals are not stocked full of left-handed relievers out of the pen so this feels like the Littrell’s future.

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According to the Red Sox scouting report on Littrell, he throws a fastball ranging from the mid-80s to the mid-90s from a 3/4 arm slot.  In addition to the respectable speed, Littrell’s fastball has good cutting action.  Littrell also commands a circle-change, curve ball, and cutter to round out his repertoire.  The Red Sox, in addition, praised his pick-off move which I have witnessed in person.

This plus-rated arm should find little difficulty climbing the ranks in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and this year’s AFL will clarify this a great deal.

My thought?  Littrell will either raise his stock significantly through the AFL such that 2017 has him starting with Memphis but moving to St. Louis early or his stock will rise strongly enough that he will find a new home for an even better player to come to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Next: AFL Preview: Luke Voit

Are you excited for the AFL?  Many St. Louis Cardinals fans might have missed the AFL in seasons past but we at Redbird Rants feel that this year’s fall league hold names worth following.  Stay connected with us and we’ll keep you up-to-date on these great names and the shining future ahead.

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