CARDINALS & BALTIMORE ANNOUNCE TRADE
LHP DREW ROM, INF CÉSAR PRIETO & RHP ZACK SHOWALTER JOIN CARDINALS ORGANIZATION; PITCHER JACK FLAHERTY TO THE ORIOLES
ST. LOUIS, MO., August 1, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that they have acquired minor league pitchers Drew Rom and Zack Showalter and minor league infielder Cesar Prieto from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitcher Jack Flaherty.
Rom and Prieto are both listed among the Orioles top-20 prospects by MLB Pipeline.
Rom, 23, has made 18 starts for Norfolk (AAA) this season, going 7-6 and striking out 100 batters in 86.0 innings pitched. The 6-2, 215-pound lefty, who was the Orioles 4th round draft selection in 2018 out of Highlands (KY) High School, will be assigned to Memphis (AAA).
Prieto, 24, is in his second season of professional ball, having signed out of Cuba in January of 2022. The versatile lefty hitting infielder has played shortstop, 2nd base and 3rd base, and was batting .349 with a .868 OPS between Bowie (AA) and Norfolk (AAA) this season in 85 games. The 5-9, 175-pound Prieto will be assigned to Memphis (AAA).
Showalter, 19, was the Orioles 11th round selection in 2022 out of Wesley Chapel (Fla.) High School. The 6-2, 195-pound righty has posted a 2.37 ERA this year in his 1st professional season in 9 games (8 starts), while producing a 32 pct. strikeout rate and 46 pct. groundball rate. He will be assigned to Palm Beach (A).
Flaherty, 27, was 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 20 starts for the Cardinals this season. He was a 1st round draft selection by the Cardinals in 2014 and pitched seven seasons (2017-23) with St. Louis, going 41-31 with a 3.58 ERA in 122 games.
— STL —
The Cardinals received a pretty solid return for 2 months of Flaherty in Baltimore.
Prieto (ranked #16 by MLB in the Orioles system) is has a little power from the left side of the plate; he was expected to make more contact than he has a pro but can recognize pitches. He’s made adjustments as he’s advanced, but not as quickly as some analysts hoped. None of his qualities stand out, but all are at least average. He’s played second and third; looks like a third baseman in the long run.
He could reach his ceiling as a starting third baseman; his floor is a utility player.
Prieto moves to #9 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.
Rom (ranked #18 by MLB in the Orioles system) has average stuff and a deceptive delivery from 3/4 slot. Owns a high spin, low-90s fastball that his hard to hitters to get on top of. Slurve (a slider/curve hybrid type pitch) sits in the high-70s with good movement; considered near a plus pitch. Also has a split-change that is improving. Solid command in the lower minors, but has struggled with it as he’s advanced to AA/AAA.
Most likely a back of the rotation starter; comped to J.A. Happ.
Rom slots in at #26 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.
Showalter has a fastball that sits mid-90s that plays well up in the zone and could be a plus pitch; he’ll be able to add velocity as he matures. He owns a average slider that keeps righties on their toes; as he continues to generate spin, this could move to slightly above average. He’s working on a changeup, but lefties hit him hard; again, as he matures, the arm speed could push this up to an average pitch. He struggles with command, which scouts are hopeful that he can improve due to his smooth mechanics and athletic frame.
He’s got the potential to be a #2-3 starter if the change progresses and he fixes his command; he’s more likely a bullpen arm.
Showalter is ranked #23 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.