The St. Louis Cardinals have a fireballing prospect that they keep jerking from the Minors then sending back. The disrespect needs to end!
While pitching prospects who can break triple digits are becoming more and more common, watching someone with the athletic ability to accomplish that feat is still one of the most exciting things about baseball. So then, I ask, why would an organization like the St. Louis Cardinals decide to leave one of these athletic anomalies stuck in prospect limbo between Memphis and St. Louis?
The player of course that I am talking about is Ryan Helsley, the fifth-round pick from the 2015 MLB Draft. While him even making the MLB is a great win for the draft team out of that round, he has proven he is plenty worthy of a spot in the MLB.
Moving up through the Minors as a starter almost exclusively until this year, the righty has posted ERA’s of 2.01, 1.61, 2.72, 3.97 throughout his career until this year where he sports a semi-ugly 5.06 ERA over 15 games and five starts.
The problem this year has not been much to do with Helsley, and while he was the one who gave up the runs obviously, let’s take a look at how many times Helsley has been jerked between the MLB and Memphis.
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Helsley’s first stint at the Majors started on April 16th and ended April 29th and while he appeared in fewer than seven innings of game action, he posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.47 WHIP. Then he was called up for six days from May 17th to the 23rd, then for four days between June 5th and 9th, then called back up on the 10th of June before getting placed on the IL with a right shoulder impingement.
From his injury, he was activated and immediately sent down on July 5th and then recalled July 20th then sent back down the 21st.
Those last two paragraphs were horrible writing. I know it, but there was no better way to show how many times Helsley has been shuttled back and forth. In total, that was five total times he was called up and then sent out. He’s only been in the Majors for about 25 days by my count, which brings us to my other issue.
Over those 25 days he has been in the Majors, he has only pitched in eight games. The guy is your number nine overall prospect and (by MLB.com) your second-best pitching prospect behind Genesis Cabrera. How do you expect him to stay sharp in the Majors or at AAA when he spends so much time either sitting on the bench or in transit between Memphis and St. Louis?
Or even worse when you ask him to be a relief pitcher in the Minors and the Majors after starting the last four years? Through all that, he still has an ERA under 3.00 at the MLB level and while his FIP is all the way up at 4.68 (he’s been getting lucky), who in their right mind thinks that he is worse than some of the other names the Cardinals are keeping in the bullpen?
No offense to Tyler Webb and Chasen Shreve, but they should not be in the MLB. Ryan Helsley should be in the everyday bullpen. If your argument is that Webb and Shreve are there for LOOGY’s or just to get lefties out, you’re wrong.
Webb has allowed a .188 batting average against lefties, Shreve has only faced two lefties and walked one of them, and thus far, Helsley has held lefties to just a .158 average. Helsley is better against righty’s, but he has been better at doing Shreve and Webb’s job than they are. He needs to be up here.
Longterm, Helsley could still be fine going back to being a starter down the line, but this year, he needs to pitch, bottom line. Keeping him in limbo is doing nothing to help either his development or the Major league pitching staff. He is a top young arm that is clearly better than some of the players in the major league bullpen, GIVE HIM MORE OF A CHANCE.