5 Cardinals relievers who are showing their prowess in Spring Training

Several newcomers who are fighting for a spot in the bullpen have had great springs thus far.

St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins
St. Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next

Keynan Middleton

Keynan Middleton was signed to a 1-year deal with a club option late in the offseason. The Cardinals signed him in hopes of bolstering the late innings of games and to provide high-leverage assistance. St. Louis will be Middleton's 6th organization since his induction to the league; he most recently saw time with the New York Yankees after a trade from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline.

Middleton has tallied just 15 saves in his career, but he has a 3.84 ERA, 4.47 FIP, 1.343 WHIP, and 9.2 K/9 in 194.1 career innings pitched. Batters have slashed just .225/.302/.355 against him in high-leverage situations for his career. It is likely he fills a late-inning role as well for the team. Middleton, Kittredge, Helsley, Romero, and Gallegos make for a potent collection of high-leverage relievers in a bullpen that needed some assistance.

Middleton does struggle with walks (10.8% in 2023), but he was in the top 9% of the league in strikeout rate last year. Middleton's best pitch has historically been his changeup, and it generates whiffs at a 37.7% clip. His fastball is used as his put-away pitch. Middleton also employs a slider.

In 3 innings this spring, Middleton has logged 2 strikeouts, giving up 2 hits, and has 1 hold to his name. He hasn't walked a batter yet either. If Middleton can continue to strike out batters at a high rate while working to limit his walks, he could become a strong weapon for Oli Marmol in high-leverage situations.

manual