The St. Louis Cardinals have an abundance of pitching prospects. The most notable names are 21 year old phenom Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver, and Marco Gonzales, but the pitcher that has been lighting up the minor leagues is not even on the Cardinals top 30 prospects (per MLB.com). This pitcher is Mike Mayers.
Mayers was picked in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Mississippi. He has always been overlooked, never appearing on the Cardinals top prospect list.
Mayers has big league caliber pitches. His Fastball sits at 95 and can touch 97 MPH which is accompanied by an above average Slider and Changeup that can be used to generate swings and misses. He also has the ability to create movement on his Fastball, forcing hitters to make weak contact.
Throughout his minor league career, Mayers was always overlooked for his inability to strike out batters. His repertoire warrant a strikeout pitcher but he has never been able to finish batters off. As he has matured, though, he has learned how to get batters out without three strikes. In 2016, he has posted a career low .234 opponents average against in Triple A. While that is not spectacular, Mayers also carries an impressive 2.44 ERA along with a 1.22 WHIP.
A 2.44 ERA Pitcher with a 97 fastball. Why isn’t he in the majors yet? Although he has been pitching sustainably better, outside of his young age, Mayers still walks too many batters. This season he has walked 30 batters in 88.2 innings. This 2.94 walks per 9 innings rate still trumps the MLB average of 3.1, but the Cardinals feel that this can be improved.
Currently, Mayers should be considered the Cardinals 6th starter, on the verge of being called up. Top prospect Reyes has looked like a shell of himself after serving his suspension for Marijuana. He has posted a 4.35 ERA while walking more than a batter every 2 innings. Other Cardinals top pitching prospects have been plagued by injuries in the 2016 season. Gonzales and Tim Cooney have been on the DL with arm troubles.
The rest of the Cardinals Triple A pitching staff has posted abysmal numbers and can simply not be trusted at the MLB level. They could start Tyler Lyons in an emergency situation, but they’d likely rather give a talented and high-growth- potential rookie a chance to prove himself.
Though many fans don’t know his name right now, Mayers will be a household name in a few years. The Cardinals have been lucky this season that none of their starters have gotten hurt (other than Lance Lynn), but injuries are inevitable and when someone goes down, expect Mayers to have an opportunity at the big league level.
Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports