The Cardinals Dark Horse Candidates for Left-Handed Bullpen Options
The Cardinals currently only have three left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster. Who could they call on in case of injury or underperformance?
Going into 2022, the St. Louis Cardinals have three left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster: Genesis Cabrera, T.J. McFarland, and Brandon Waddell. If the last few seasons have shown anything to the club, it’s that pitching can become thin quickly when injuries begin to arise. So, what other options does the club have from the left side coming out of the bullpen?
Enter Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson.
There has been much speculation about when we may see these two left handed prospects in St. Louis, and there is good reason to believe that either or both of these arms will make their debuts out of the bullpen in St. Louis this year.
Both prospects suffered from down 2021 campaigns. Across 124.2 innings in AAA last year, Liberatore had an ERA of 4.04 and WHIP of 1.25. This was not the ideal season for the club’s top pitching prospect, but the top prospect was able to post an ERA of 2.82 across his final 50 innings. Although the club may look to insert him into the rotation at some point, they may find him useful as another left handed option in the bullpen.
Zack Thompson had an even worse 2021 season, finishing with an ERA of 7.35 across 93 innings and a WHIP of 1.84. There is a lot of reason for optimism though, as Thompson was able to put together an excellent Arizona Fall League, posting an ERA of 1.56 during his stint there.
During appearance on “BK and Ferrario on 101 ESPN”, Cardinals Broadcaster Dan McLaughlin cited that Thompson seemed to have everything begin to “click” during his time in the Fall League, and there is growing optimism that Thompson will continue his rise back into the conversation as one of the better left handed pitching prospects in baseball. If this bounce back is sustained, Thompson very well may become a stable in the bullpen, similar to Genesis Cabrera in 2021.