St. Louis Cardinals' Arizona Fall League Preview: Rowan Wick

BY foxsports • September 2, 2016

The St. Louis Cardinals have decided to get an extended look at Rowan Wick this year, as they have chosen him to represent the team in the Arizona Fall League.

The St. Louis Cardinals have chosen the six players that they will be sending to the Arizona Fall League’s Glendale Desert dogs. As a team, we are going to cover them separately and give you a heads up on how this player has performed in 2016 and how they profile. We will also be giving you our opinion on if/when the player will make the majors.

One of the players the St. Louis Cardinals have chosen is Rowan Wick. The former outfielder turned pitcher that is starting to turn heads in the system. The story of Wick turning into a pitcher is quite something, as the outfielder was once a promising hitting prospect.

In fact, in 2014, the outfielder hit .378/.475/.815 with 23 extra base-hits  (14 homers, 8 doubles, and 1 triple) in 35 games with the short-season State College Spikes. Not surprisingly, Wick got promoted to Class A Peoria that season. However, Wick’s success at the plate didn’t follow him to Peoria. 

    However, Wick’s success at the plate didn’t follow him to Peoria. In 39 games with Peoria, he hit .220/.299/.433 with 16 extra base-hits (8 doubles, 6 homers, 2 triples). While the extra base-hits were there, Wick couldn’t make contact consistently and struck out nearly twice as much in those 39 games.

    Oddly enough, the Cardinals sent him to A+ Palm Beach (where hitters go to die) at the beginning of 2015 and his frustration continued at the plate as he hit .198 with just six doubles and three homers in 33 games. 

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      It was after that dismal start that the Cardinals informed him that his days as a pitcher were over. Widely regarded as one of the best outfield arms in the system, the team thought he may have a future on the mound.

      Wick was not that happy about it, as Joe Schwarz of Viva El Birdos quotes Wick from Rob Rains’ book “Taking Flight”, saying “I thought they would give me a full season to try to figure it (hitting) out. Maybe I would have hit in the second half. My childhood dream was to hit in the big leagues. Now I’m trying to get there as a pitcher.”

      However, the organization really was looking out for his best interests here as John Mozeliak was quoted as saying “Looking at it from a performance standpoint, things were becoming tougher for him”.

      The same organization who did the same thing with Jason Motte may know what they’re doing here after all. In 23 games with Palm Beach, Wick posted a 1.09 ERA and a 13.5 K/9. This lead to him getting the call up to AA Springfield in June.

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      With a fastball that Nick Kreuger of MLB.com says can touch 98 MPH and a curveball that is being developed as another pitch for him, it is not out of this world to see Wick eventually get a shot to make his major league debut as a pitcher.

      Major League ETA

      Wick will be worth keeping an eye on in the Fall League this year because he carries a ton of intrigue with his ability. With a good showing in the AFL and a strong start at AA next season, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him up at AAA before the All-Star break.

      This would mean that he would definitely have a shot of making his major league debut by the end of the 2017 season. Wick has a lot of life in his arm and given that he hasn’t been a pitcher for long, there shouldn’t be too much of a concern for injury. Although the club knows that they need to be patient with him.

      Not only will I be keeping tabs on Wick during the AFL, I will definitely be keeping an eye on him next season. If he can develop another pitch, he could become a legitimate weapon out of the bullpen.

      Make sure you keep looking out for our pieces on the upcoming AFL. While there’s no Alex Reyes or Aledmys Diaz this year, there is still some intrigue to this group that should keep you as a fan interested.

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