The St. Louis Cardinals are always on the lookout for new talent and they just signed a new pitcher, Austin Warner.
Austin Warner is coming to the St. Louis Cardinals from the River City Rascals, an independent team in O’Fallon, Missouri. They play in the Frontier League. Since Spring Training, there have been nine players signed to MLB organizations from the league. More information about the signing can be found here.
He is a 22 years old, 5’10” left-handed pitcher who found the Rascals after four years at Bellarmine University. Warner threw 198 innings at the Division-II level, posting an ERA of 3.31 and 172 strikeouts.
The numbers were similar over one and half seasons with River City, though he developed more into a swing-and-miss kind of pitcher. Through eighty-seven innings he struck out ninety-three batters, however his ERA was at a 3.90.
Upon signing with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, he will be placed with a minor league affiliate, and start his journey.
While this addition to the organization may not be earth-shattering news, it is worth taking note of. The odds are certainly against Warner, but clearly the Cardinals saw something they liked enough to snatch him up.
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It is worth noting that there have been a total of twenty-four players out of the Frontier League to make it to the show. And of those twenty-four, only three of them were position players. That means twenty-one pitchers, just like Warner have succeeded enough throughout the minors to make their signing pay off for the organization. Here is the full list of players.
The Cardinals have signed three players from the independent league who have made an appearance at the highest level. All three of them are pitchers. Jason Simontacci, Matt Duff, and Josh Kinney all came from a Frontier League team before finding their way to the Redbirds.
If Warner can continue to strike guys out at a high rate and continue to grow, there is no reason he can’t work his way into the majors. Especially as a lefty arm. There is value there for him as a bullpen pitcher.
Really the only way that Austin Warner’s name will come up again is if he exceeds all expectations. As I said, the organization saw something in him that made him a target to sign. He has come this far, and now he will have to work even harder to continue moving up the ranks. For now, I extend my congratulations to Warner as the newest member of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.