In the early afternoon on Sunday, the Cardinals started a major portion of their Trade Deadline moves. They traded right-handed closer Jordan Hicks to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for prospects Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein. Robberse was ranked #7 in their farm system.
Robberse is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher out of the Netherlands. The Blue Jays signed him back in 2019, and he made his pro-debut in the same season. After the pandemic, Robberse saw time in single-A and double-A and saw improvement at each level. While his strikeout numbers aren't eye-popping, he does have the ability to limit hits and walks.
Through 18 games (88.2 innings) in AA, Robberse pitched to a 4.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and had an opponents' batting average of .213. He struck out 86 batters to 33 walks. For his minor-league career, he has a 3.73 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and an opponents' batting average of .231. He has struck out just under 9 batters per nine innings. To pair with his average strikeout rates, Robberse is able to limit walks; his 2.8 BB/9 and 2.61 K/BB ratios are both better than average.
Sem Robberse did play in the 2023 MLB Futures Game in Seattle. He had a rough outing, giving up two runs in 0.1 IP. He came in to start the 6th inning and gave up two hits. He was pulled after those two hits and was eventually charged with both runs after Yosver Zulueta (also a prospect for the Blue Jays) let both runners score. His one out was on a strikeout.
The Dutch righty could be well served with an increase in velocity on his fastball into the mid-90s; this should help his strikeout numbers increase as well. Per his profile on MLB.com, "Veteran hitters will be an interesting test for his specific pitching style, but he continues to make strides year-to-year on the mound."
The hope for Robberse appears to be minor-league depth at the moment. With the trade of Jordan Montgomery and the expected trade of Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals will have to promote AAA talent such as Michael McGreevy and Gordon Graceffo. Sem will then fill in the missing AAA innings for the rest of the year and possibly start there next year. Katie Woo addresses this fact in one of her most recent tweets.
The Cardinals likely aren't finished wheeling and dealing. Stay tuned for more trades!