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Scouting report for new Cardinal Corey Littrell

While everyone was talking about the acquisition of John Lackey, people didn’t take notice that the Cardinals also received Corey Littrell in the deal that sent away Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.

Littrell was drafted by the Red Sox in the 5th round (143rd overall) of the 2013 draft as a junior out of the University of Kentucky. During his final season at UK, he was selected as a Louisville Slugger Second-Team All-American. A left handed pitcher, Littrell’s velocity in college sat in the low to mid-90s. He was known for having 4 pitches and being polished.

In 3 years at Kentucky, Littrell was 21-13 in 46 games. He owned a 4.20 ERA, but that was partially due to a rough freshman season where he had a 6.95 ERA. His WHIP was 1.42, but again it was impacted by a rough freshman season (1.73). His K/9 (6.68, 7.94, 7.35) and K/BB (1.76, 3.48, 2.20) were decent.

The pitcher started his pro career where his college one left off.

He started in short season A ball with Lowell, where he went 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 games. He saw his K/9 and K/BB increase to 8.71 and 3.00 respectively. The team limited him to 31.0 innings since he’d already pitched 94.1 prior to signing.

2014 has also been successful. At Salem (Hi A), Littrell was 5-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 starts and 1 relief appearance. His K/9 was 8.19 and his K/BB was 2.39; both are acceptable numbers considering he doesn’t overpower hitters. His BB/9 is 3.42, which isn’t horrible but he might need to improve upon it at the higher levels.

Littrell has 4 solid pitches. His fastball sits in the low-90s, occasionally touching 95; he doesn’t usually throw that hard though, sitting between 88-92. His changeup is a plus pitch, which sits in the low 80s. Some scouts also rate his cutter as a plus pitch since it tough on lefties. He also has a curveball that sits in the 70s. He mixes all 4 pitches well, but can be wild at times.

Baseball America notes that he’s got baseball bloodlines; his grandfather was a shortstop for the A’s and Cubs and his father was in the Dodgers’ and Expos’ systems.

Littrell should be able to move fairly quickly in the system. He could be up to Springfield (AA) by the end of the season if he continues to pitch well. The majors are a real possibility here, as early as mid-2015. His ceiling is a back end starter and his floor is a lefty reliever; he’s closer to his ceiling right now, as he pitches better the longer he goes (0.70 ERA after the 3rd inning).

Littrell has been added to the Palm Beach (Hi A) roster, where he will join the rotation.

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