Cardinals RHP prospect Ian Bedell is ready for 2024 season

I was able to catch up with the Midwest League pitcher of the year in 2023, Ian Bedell of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Springfield Cardinals v Amarillo Sod Poodles
Springfield Cardinals v Amarillo Sod Poodles / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

Ian Bedell grew up in Davenport, Iowa. His high school career is littered with invitations to national tournaments, a sterling GPA, and recognition as a top prospect in the nation. Beneath all of the accolades, however, was a young man who loved watching St. Louis Cardinal baseball games.

Bedell, 24, grew up a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. As a middle schooler, his favorite player was Colby Rasmus; he saw himself as an outfielder. After an epiphany in which he discovered hitting wasn't his specialty, Bedell switched to being a pitcher in high school. He admired pitchers like Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Jason Isringhausen, a man he's been able to work with sporadically in his professional career.

I was able to catch up with the Cardinals rising prospect recently to discuss his experiences in his professional career and the path that brought him here.

(Italicized quotes have been paraphrased for this article.)

Bedell's professional career has been quite the rollercoaster. After his sophomore season in college, Bedell was ready to take the next step at the University of Missouri. His plans to become a high-end starting pitcher and the ace of the staff were cut short when the COVID pandemic hit. He was only able to make 4 starts that year before the season was shut down.

What was it like going through the draft process during COVID?

"There was a lot of unknown for me. I had no clue where and when I would be taken, and I heard that a team that wasn't the Cardinals could have taken me. I was happy to end up with St. Louis since I have been a fan of the team."

Bedell had to go through the MLB Amateur Draft process in a completely different environment than what players are accustomed to. Ultimately, St. Louis chose the starting pitcher out of Mizzou with the 122nd overall pick that year.

How did your recovery from Tommy John Surgery go?

"Overall, it was a weird surgery. I had no pain right after the surgery. There was general soreness, but for the first 10 months, I felt good. I was able to throw 90-92 MPH by month 10 but a couple of forearm strains set me back. Months 10 through 14 were a battle. It felt good to get a full season under my belt (in 2023). I started out on an innings and pitch limitation in order to manage my workload. The competitor in me obviously wants to go, but the team handled the situation well."

Once drafted, Ian Bedell was unable to start his professional career because the minor league season was shut down in 2020. He made his first 2 appearances in 2021 for the Peoria Chiefs only to require Tommy John surgery in May of that same year. Bedell's recovery from the surgery took about 16 months, and he was able to return to the mound in August 2022 to pitch 5 2/3 innings between the Florida Complex League and low-A Palm Beach.

Is there anything you've been working on this offseason to prepare for 2024?

"I am hoping to make my slider more consistent shape-wise. I want it to be in the 84-86 MPH range. My strongest pitch when it's on is my changeup. I lost it about halfway through last season, but It's my best pitch when it's on. My fastball is more consistent, and I'm hoping to keep its velocity up as well."

Bedell was finally able to experience a full season uninterrupted in 2023. He pitched entirely for the high-A Peoria Chiefs. He finished last year with a 2.44 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 106 strikeouts in 96 innings. Bedell's new slider led to him to a fantastic start to the season last year out of the bullpen; he was then moved to the rotation in May, and he held a 2.81 ERA across 19 starts. Mind you, Bedell was also able to graduate college while pitching professionally in Peoria.

Perhaps the greatest change for Ian Bedell--aside from his health--was the addition of a "gyro" slider, a slider with less break to it but with increased velocity.

What was your experience going through the Rule 5 Draft like?

"There were definitely some nerves heading into the Rule 5 Draft. I was prepared to be taken by another team, but I'm ultimately grateful to still be with St. Louis. I'm happy that it didn't happen."

The right-handed starter was not added to the Cardinals' 40-man roster by season's end, so he was eligible to be plucked by another team in the majors via the Rule 5 Draft. Bedell was not chosen by another organization, so he remained with the organization that he had been familiar with for over 20 years.

Ian Bedell is a prospect on the rise in St. Louis. He could make a major league appearance as soon as 2025, and he hopes to put himself in the best position that he can to achieve his goal of pitching at the highest level of professional baseball.