Daniel Ponce de Leon
First appearing in the Majors last year at the age of 26, Daniel Ponce de Leon still has his rookie status intact after pitching as a spot starter and reliever for the Cardinals in 2019. Ponce de Leon sits in a similar spot as O’Neill as he clearly has potential, but hasn’t been given a very extended look.
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He did replace Michael Wacha for some time in the rotation during the 2019 season but was removed after just a couple of starts. In total, he made just eight starts on the year but was still 16% above average with a 3.70 ERA.
Ponce de Leon spent a lot of the year just sitting in the bullpen waiting to pitch as the long man even though he proved he could perform in the starter’s role or in a short inning reliever. As with O’Neill, how the team treated him shows where he sits.
If Ponce de Leon was a part of the team’s long-term plans, I believe we would’ve seen him in a more prominent role. At the end of the day though, he is a pitcher who has proved he can start and start well. Even at the age of 27, he has value that could be moved for another player.