Five St. Louis Cardinals prospects named Arizona Fall Stars

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 24: Lars Nootbaar #68 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs in game two of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 24: Lars Nootbaar #68 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Chicago Cubs in game two of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Five St. Louis Cardinals prospects have been named to the Fall Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League. Four will play in the game with one sidelined to injury.

This Saturday, the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game will take place at 7:00 PM ET. The Fall Stars Game is similar to a Futures Game, where teams’ top-performing prospects get to compete against each other. Players such as Mike Trout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ronald Acuña Jr. took part in past games.

In the West lineup, five Cardinals were selected. They were Lars Nootbaar, Juan Yepez, Zach Thompson, Nolan Gorman, and Brendan Donovan.

Nootbaar and Yepez have dominated the Arizona Fall League since they’ve arrived after the season. Not only are both players hitting over .300, but they both are ranked second and third overall in OPS among qualified players.

Nootbaar’s success down in Arizona has already been documented, so it’s not a shock he was considered a Fall Star. Juan Yepez, who my colleague J.T. Buchheit wrote about last year, has been very impressive in the AFL, especially with his power numbers.

Yepez currently ranks second overall in slugging percentage (in front of Nootbaar), and is tied for second as well in home runs. Just listen to the sound off the bat:

Did I also mention he’s No. 1 in RBI as well?

Zach Thompson was the only pitcher selected from the Cardinals’ prospects. If you’ve followed the AAA Memphis Redbirds, you’re probably aware that Thompson had a very rough 2021 season. A 2-10 pitching record with an ERA over seven is not going to get you promoted to St. Louis.

Since coming down to Arizona, he’s really improved. In 15.1 innings pitched, Thompson has a 1.76 ERA with 18 strikeouts compared to 12 walks. It would be nice Thompson could cut down on those walk numbers, but he is trending in the right direction, which would be a nice development for the Cardinals.

Nolan Gorman was a strong participant in the Arizona Fall League through six games, but he is unable to play in the Fall Stars game due to a tight hamstring. Still, the future for Gorman with the Cardinals is bright, as he recently received praise for his play at second base by The Secret Weapon himself, Jose Oquendo.

If Oquendo is high on you for your fielding skills, then you are doing something tremendously well.

On Thursday, Brendan Donovan was named the “Final 2 Vote” over Nationals’ prospect Jackson Cluff and Astros’ number-one prospect Korey Lee. In twelve games, Donovan has a slash line of .350/.471/.625. His OPS, granted among all players, is seventh at 1.096.

This is a great opportunity for these guys to showcase their craft against some of the best prospects in MLB. If you have the chance to watch the Fall Stars game on MLB Network, do it!

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