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2023 D50: Prospect #38

Updated: Feb 14, 2023


Each post will feature these words, so feel free to skip accordingly. I offer the same always-standing apologies for the lackluster quality of my writing, as well as the stream of consciousness nature that I write with. I sincerely wish that I was better at writing than I am but, alas, here we are. Also, I'm very good at this as compared to most, but I am still VERY bad at it. Just think about that for a second, for context purposes.

I want to start off by reminding everyone that these posts are aided and enhanced by the works of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. Each embedded link will take you to their subscription pages and you should absolutely do that. Shout out to Geoff Pontes and Matt Thompson from Baseball America and Prospects Live, respectfully, because they're awesome. FanGraphs stats are OBVIOUSLY clutch and awesome, and that's why they are used in nearly every "Dirty" post. LOVE that FanGraphs.

Accordingly, @Cardinalsgifs provides his artistic touch to the pictures in each article, and I wouldn't do this at all if he wasn't a part of it. Special shoutout to @KareemSSN who is a must follow for Cardinals prospects stuff. His partner in crime is @Cardinalsreek and they have their own prospect list coming out soon!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry)and Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.

I also want to remind everyone that my list is different in that I don't include players with rookie eligibility that have made a Major League debut. So, you'll have to look elsewhere for Matthew Liberatore, Ivan Herrera, Alec Burleson, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, and ZacK Thompson. Some of these guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway. I'm just trying to get ahead of this because I will 100% be asked about each. I did almost add 32-year-old Rule 5 draft selection Wilking Rodriguez to the list, but decided against it because he's 32-years-old, entering his age 33 season, and the coverage of him will surely be overly saturated by the time that Spring Training gets going. Also, I didn't add recently acquired Jose Fermín because I just don't care at all. I'm sure he'll make a Major League debut at some point in 2023 which will be cool but I just can't find it in me to care about it at all.

The last thing that I'd like to do is remind everyone that this is just a snap shot of THIS moment. I'm not 100% sure what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. So, when I'm a little more conservative with a player like, say, Michael McGreevy, it's without the knowledge of what he's worked on this offseason, along with the gains that he's made in the areas that I'm concerned about. You never know when/if things are going to click for a player, and there's more reason now than ever before - with the advancements in modern baseball technologies - for a prospect to catapult themselves from out of nowhere. Vice versa, it's easier than ever for a prospect to fall off into obscurity.

Finally, I'd like to provide links to other sites that rank Cardinals' prospects. The Cardinal Nation, Prospects Live, and Baseball America all have their 2023 lists published, and MLB and FanGraphs will link to their most recent rankings from 2022:

THE CARDINAL NATION (Subscribe to the damn site, dummies) MLB


RHRP Nick Trogrlic-Iverson

Age 25

Undrafted Free Agent in 2020

Listed at 6'1, 175

Sometimes, you just have to stick to your guns, and sometimes you just have to stick with your guys.

Nick Trogrlic-Iverson is one of my guys. He's also kind of an unexpected badass on the mound, too.

When you first watch "T-I", you might be underwhelmed. He isn't an imposing pitcher. He doesn't over-power in the traditional sense. He was never really that highly-regarded, from a draft-then-prospect standpoint.

What Nick is, however, is a pitcher. Crafty and clever in his approach with a quick arm and a fastball capable of scraping the mid-90's, T-I just knows how to work with what he has. He does it quickly and confidently, and it's a pleasure to watch.

As you can see in the stat line above, Nick's stats aren't overwhelming, but they are solid. They are consistent and they are repeatable. Trogrlic-Iverson also has a little extra giddy up on the pitches that he throws as compared to some of the middling righties that the Cardinals have trotted to the minor league mound over the years. His 2200 RPM heater can get up to 95-ish, but it's mostly in the 93 range. It has great life on it in part because of Nick's quick and direct arm, and it explodes out of a release point that is well hidden. Because of this, T-I does a great job of getting the heater past hitters of both handedness up in the zone.

Because of his arm speed and the way that his fastball comes out of his hand, his low-to-mid 80's changeup is also a weapon against both lefties and righties. You'll be able to tell from the gif below just how great of a pitch it is, how much depth it has, and how much of a weapon it can be against lefties.

T-I does a great job of tunneling, too, and you'll be able to see that in all of the gifs within this post. Sometimes his slider can be a bit of a cement mixer and it'll hang in place, but he's been able to get away with that at the "A" levels of the minors. For the most part, Trogrlic-Iverson was about as good against lefties as he was against righties while pitching out the Peoria pen during the 2022 season, but I'd like to see the slider be a little bit more consistent at the AA level. I think that this will help to solidify the success that he's already had against righties. When he is commanding the shape of it, it's a beautiful pitch that he can get away with throwing up in the zone. Obviously, that allows it to play off of his fastball even better. He doesn't always need to do that, and the good 'ol fashioned slider low and out to righties can get the job done.

I'm all over the place with Trogrlic-Iverson, and that's why we haven't even touched on either the sinker or curve yet. Well, his sinker was incredibly good during the 2022 season as he paired it so well with his heater and change to often get the better of lefties. His sinker was his pitch he used the least during the season, and it was used juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust right. The same can be said for how he used his curveball, as well. On the surface, aside from the changeup, nothing in his arsenal screams "above-average" or better. However, when you put it all together with the command that T-I shows, everything becomes above-average all at once. He'll need to keep doing this to keep hitters off of his fastball as he moves up the ladder, because that fastball sets up everything.

I've heard some say that he might be better off using the curve and change more frequently at the cost of the slider, but I don't really have a feeling on the matter. I don't remember ever thinking or feeling like the slider was more vulnerable than the other breaking pitches, but I'm also drunk about 58% of the time and I watch three games at once. I'm not exactly what you'd call "reliable".

Aside from a repertoire that doesn't measure out particularly impressive, the only thing that keeps Trogrlic-Iverson from a higher spot on this list is his age against talent level at a level that he repeated. This, of course, is why the measurable pitching data is so important; because it helps to sort through some of the success of this type. For me, the jury is still out regardless of the data because I think that Nick Trogrlic-Iverson does it a little differently and more polished than a lot of other smoke and mirrors pitchers. It's also worth noting that this was Trogrlic-Iverson's first taste as a true reliever in affiliated ball, and he only got stronger in that role as the season ticked on. It's weird because the "reliever of it all" also takes some of the luster off of T-I. If he were still starting and coming off of the ratio numbers that he put up in 2022 then we'd probably all be a little more excited and bullish on Trogrlic-Iverson. Because he doesn't throw high-octane, the perception of his future out of the pen gets dinged a little bit. In some ways, that Trogrlic-Iverson is caught in the middle of what you'd expect from roles and that hurts him, too.

Of course, we haven't even gotten into all of the intangibles that Trogrlic-Iverson possesses. It's so redundant within this organization, but T-I is an incredibly hard worker and competitor. He's a great teammate, he's incredibly athletic on the mound, and he's very good at fielding his position. There's a lot of quick-twitch motions that come out of that frame. In a lot of ways, there's some version of Mike Leake here. I know that won't get Cardinals fans super excited, but he does all of those kind of things that made Mike Leake a lot of money in the Majors, including getting grounders at a really great clip in 2022 (53.8%).

Thinking about it off of the top of my head, I don't think that the organization had a more reliable and consistent multi-inning reliever on the farm. When you are that reliable and that consistent at the lower levels, it's extra impressive because you are being used more than you probably should be because of the frequency of innings needing to be filled. I think that it says a lot about T-I that he was able to handle this while get stronger as the season progressed. It also didn't matter when Trogrlic-Iverson was used. Early in a game to save a struggling starter. Late in the game for two innings to close out a nailbiter. Didn't matter. Trogrlic-Iverson just came in and got the job done.

Nick's 2023 season might be the most fascinating to follow of all of the older righties in the organization. Will he suffer the same fate as Anthony Shew, Matt Pearce, or Alex Fagalde before him? Or will he maybe discover that little extra that he is going to need to rise through the ranks? I know that I'm not betting against Nick Trogrlic-Iverson, and you shouldn't either.

As I re-read this write-up in an attempt to correct and proofread, it dawns on me that I probably should have ranked T-I higher on the list or hit him with more criticisms. One way or the other I'm wrong, and never forget that.

Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis


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