July 21, 2024

According to a team announcement, the St. Louis Cardinals will elevate starting pitching prospect Gordon Graceffo on Friday. Though Graceffo has been a starter throughout his professional career, Katie Woo of the Athletic reports that the Cardinals intend to employ him in the bullpen for the time being.

In similar moves, St. Louis placed Steven Matz on the 60-day injured list to free up a 40-man slot, while Kyle Leahy was sent to Triple-A to clear a position on the active roster. Matz has suffered a setback in his recovery from back problems and will miss at least another 4-6 weeks.

St. Louis Cardinals To Promote Gordon Graceffo

Welcome to the Show: St. Louis Cardinals Promote Gordon Graceffo for Major  League Debut - Villanova University

 

St. Louis selected Graceffo from Villanova in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB draft. In 2021, the 6’4″ righty established himself with a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings of Single-A baseball.

In 2022, Graceffo continued to impress. In 26 starts throughout High, Double, and Triple-A, he threw 139 1/3 innings with a 2.97 ERA and 139 strikeouts. With this performance, many saw him as a potential top-100 possibility.

However, his status plummeted after a poor performance in Triple-A last season. Graceffo struggled with shoulder issues in 2023, posting a 4.92 ERA in only 86 innings of work. It was unclear whether his struggles were primarily due to injuries or if he just overachieved on lower levels.

Despite his failures, Graceffo remained among the Cardinals’ top prospects. MLB Pipeline presently ranks him as the team’s fourth-best pitching prospect and eighth-best overall prospect.

However, the Cardinals will elevate Graceffo following a strong showing in the minors this season. In 14 Triple-A starts, the 24-year-old has excellent, but not spectacular strikeout and walk rates, as well as a 3.84 earned run average. The Cardinals are likely to see Graceffo as a long-term starter, but for the time being, he must produce several innings of relief.

Ideally, the Cardinals can elevate Graceffo while trading for one fewer arm at the deadline. Because of the shorter periods in the bullpen, evaluators anticipate Graceffo’s fastball increasing by a couple miles per hour. At that point, the pitch should work well with his already above-average to plus slider.

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