Cardinals name Kelly, Weaver top minor leaguers of 2016

December 15, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- Catcher Carson Kelly and right-hander Luke Weaver made their major league debuts in 2016 but spent enough time in the minors to earn the distinctions of Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.

Kelly batted .289 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 96 combined games at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. He made his big-league debut Sept. 5 in Pittsburgh and hit a double in his first at-bat.

At 22, Kelly was the youngest Cardinals catcher to make his major league debut since Yadier Molina did so at 21 years and 326 days in 2004. Kelly was named to the USA Team for the Futures Game in San Diego. He threw out 21 of 63 base stealers in Springfield and six of 24 in Memphis a year after winning the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove at catcher for all of minor league baseball.

Weaver went 7-3 with a 1.30 ERA over 13 combined minor league starts with Springfield and Memphis. He posted an 0.92 WHIP, leading all Cardinals minor league full-season pitchers, and struck out 92 batters in 83 innings. He made his big-league debut Aug. 13 at Wrigley Field and went 1-4 with 45 strikeouts in nine appearances, including eight starts, for St. Louis.

Weaver, 23, joined Alan Benes (1995) and Stu Miller (1952) when he became only the third Cardinals pitcher to record 10 strikeouts in one of his first four career starts. He reached the double-digit mark at Milwaukee on Aug. 31 (his fourth career start).

Both players were named Texas League postseason All-Stars.



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