St. Louis Cardinals: Three Rookie of the Year candidates for 2020
By Matt Graves
Ryan Helsley, SP
Ryan Helsley had one of the most underrated seasons of any Cardinals pitcher this year as the rookie pitched in high leverage situations down the stretch.
It felt like Helsley should’ve lost his rookie status but in the end, he actually only appeared in 24 total games in 2019. Helsley got plenty of time on the Memphis shuttle though as those 24 appearances happened over six different months of the season. The only month he didn’t appear in a game was March, which technically doesn’t count.
In all, Helsley finished with a 2.95 ERA and a 146 ERA+. He still fits under the small sample size window though, but he made good on the chances he did have. Helsley has the ability to throw 100 mph and offsets that with a cutter, slider, and changeup.
While Helsley was generally regarded as the Cardinals 5th-10th best prospect, the one thing he didn’t do in 2019 that he had done all of his career was start games. All throughout the minors, the 24-year-old has started. Looking at the transition Dakota Hudson made from relieving to starting from 2018 to 2019, I would love to see Helsley make the same transition.
For 2020, the starting rotation might be presently full with Adam Wainwright’s return, but as we saw in 2019, a spot can open up really fast. If it does, I would expect Helsley to take that spot by storm and maybe even the whole league.
Genesis Cabrera is another choice for a breakout pitcher, but Helsley showed more promise in 2019 and got better results, so he’s my pitching pick for 2020 that could take the league by storm.