Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.
All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.
All write-ups were published during all-star week.
Prospect #4: RHP Ryan Helsley
Memphis Redbirds/St. Louis Cardinals
Drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft
It's been documented that Helsley missed the last half of his 2018 season because of a shoulder fatigue issue. I don't know how that is effecting him now. We know for a fact that he needed a short little IL stint of two weeks, from the middle of June until the end of June. Obviously, that's a concern.
We also know that the Cardinals have done a poor job dispatching Helsley this season. He's been up and down between the Majors and AAA a few different times. He started the season in a hybrid starter/reliever role that was designed to piggyback starts. Then, the Cardinals bullpen needed reinforcements, so the Cardinals turned to Helsley. He was called up, but hardly used. So, he was sent back down to Memphis. This time, he was sent to the Memphis bullpen to be used in a multi-inning capacity as the Cardinals' began their search for a multi-inning bullpen stopper. He kicked-ass in that role, and was called upon by the major league team again. After being used once over a week, he was sent back down to Memphis with the intent of being stretched back out as a starter.
This is a lot to follow. I know. Let's take a quick break. OK. Break time is over. Let's get to the really fun part...
Helsley, who, at this point, has been jerked around over and over again the season after shoulder fatigue issues last season, is called back up to the major league bullpen. This time, after being stretched out as a starter at Memphis. After going a week without pitching, Helsley is asked to pitch on back to back days for the first time in his career. He had one more relief appearance, and that's what led into the IL stint.
So what I'm saying more than anything, and what I've been saying more than anything, is that Helsley has been terribly mismanaged by this organization since the start of this season. IF HE IS HEALTHY ENOUGH THEN HE SHOULD BE STARTING. PERIOD. If he isn't healthy enough, then he should be pitching out of relief. PERIOD. But going back and forth between the two, and doing it while sitting for a week at a time, is poor form and bad for a pitcher. It's not a coincidence at all that Helsley hasn't looked the same since coming off of the IL.
Helsley is one of the truly electric arms in the organization, and it appears, as of right now, that the Cardinals have misused the hell out of it. It's a damn shame, and it should cause them to rethink some of the practices that they are employing throughout the organization. Unfortunately, that's an article for a different day...
Even with the struggle and the misuse and the arm issues and the IL stint, Helsley has still been very good in 2019, especially out of the Cardinals bullpen. We've said it countless times at this point, but Helsley possesses three pitches that are above average in a curve and change, and fastball that can reach just under triple digits (and triple digits on the rarest occasion). His cutter gets a little flat sometimes, but it's mean when it's moving. This is the type of arm that should be nurtured and used properly, not kicked around like a can down the road.
We are just going to have to wait and see what is in store for Helsley for the rest of the 2019 season. I'll be sitting here, hoping for health and proper usage.
On August 4th, Helsley was recalled from Memphis. He should spend the rest of the season, and his career, with the big club. Hopefully he's used in high-leverage situations if he isn't going to be used out in the rotation. Only time will tell.
Thanks to Fangraph for the stats!
Thanks For Reading!!