The St. Louis Cardinals have a very talented farm system. There are a ton of players with promise who are working their way through the minors.
There are a lot of promising players listed in the St. Louis Cardinals MLB Pipeline’s top thirty players. However, one of the most intriguing players did not make that list. Do you know the name Daniel Poncedeleon? He is pitching in triple-A Memphis, and doing very well too.
Through six starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA. Opposing teams are hitting a meager .196 off of him this year. Poncedeleon has struck out twenty-five through twenty-nine innings in 2017, while only walking thirteen.
It is par for the course for Poncedelon. He has played for the St. Louis Cardinals farm system since 2014 and carries a 2.78 ERA. He is a seasoned minor league veteran, but he is performing.
Just as things were starting to go well, tragedy struck the right-handed pitcher. Back in May, a line drive struck Poncedeleon in the head. He required surgery to relieve pressure in his brain. More information on that incident can be found here.
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Getting hit in the head is the worst nightmare for any pitcher.
It is not only career-threatening, but it can change the entire path of a pitcher’s life.
Poncedeleon has not touched a baseball since then. However, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported his recovery was going well, better than expected even.
As a ninth round pick back in 2014, the St. Louis Cardinals hoped they picked a pitcher who would develop as Poncedeleon has. With his six-foot-four frame, he set the stage to be a solid reliever at the Major League level from the start.
As he developed, he was proving he deserved a chance to crack the starting rotation.
Now, who knows. Both the team and the Cardinals nation can only hope for his full recovery. If, and when, that happens, then his career will be revisited. It is very rare for a player to go through a an injury like that and become the same player they were. It is unavoidable and unfortunate, but it is a part of the game.
Should Poncedeleon be able to emulate the player he was prior to the scary moment, he will be a very solid arm for the St. Louis Cardinals. He could be in the bullpen or become a starter, should he show the ability to succeed. For now, we hope he recovers fully and swiftly.