On the afternoon of August 20th, the Cardinals announced that they would be calling up left-handed pitching prospect Drew Rom. Rom's prospect profile can be found here. Though Rom possesses back-of-the-rotation upside, he struggled this season with Baltimore's AAA affiliate before being dealt to the Cardinals. Rom was acquired at the trade deadline as part of the package Baltimore sent over in exchange for Jack Flaherty. He was joined by Zack Showalter and Cesar Prieto. Each of the three has enjoyed success since joining the Cardinals organization, although Rom has been particularly promising.
Since coming over, Rom has been an entirely different pitcher. Though the sample size is small, his two starts in Memphis have been incredibly encouraging. Rom has sharpened his control without sacrificing his ability to generate strikeouts. While some predicted that Rom may debut in 2023, it was unknown whether the Cardinals would give him an audition for a spot on the 2024 squad so soon. This call-up makes him the second of the ten players the Cardinals acquired to reach the major league level.
Rom has struggled this year to pitch deep into games, and he's not always as efficient as he would prefer. In his last start, Rom went six innings, allowing just one run. It was easily his best outing of the year, and it marked just the third time that he had completed six innings. It's unlikely that the Cardinals will give him much leeway, and it's possible that they pull him before he's through five, even if he is pitching well. However, it will be encouraging to watch the Cardinals give opportunities to younger players with an eye toward 2024.
While Rom represents the first player to receive such an opportunity, it is possible he won't be the only one. By the end of the season, the Cardinals may give other players, including Adam Kloffenstein, Gordon Graceffo, and Michael McGreevy a shot at starting. However, Rom will be receiving his opportunity first. This is due to his status as a member of the 40-man roster. Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned names are currently on that roster, and thus it remains possible that they do not reach St. Louis until 2024. Hopefully, Rom opens eyes in his debut and locks down a spot on the 2024 roster!