The Cardinals announced this afternoon they’ve added three players — right-handers Jake Walsh and Freddy Pacheco and utilityman Brendan Donovan — to the 40-man roster. The moves keep all three players from being taken in the Rule 5 draft. The club’s 40-man roster now sits at 36.
Walsh was the Cardinals’ 16th-round pick in 2017 out of a Florida junior college. The 26-year-old spent some time as a starter early in his pro career but worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 2021. Injuries limited Walsh to 17 appearances between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis this year, but he combined for a 2.86 ERA across 22 frames at the minors’ top two levels. Walsh, whom Baseball America credits with a 95-97 MPH fastball, punched out a whopping 38.6% of batters faced. He could be a big league bullpen option in 2022.
Pacheco, 23, is also strictly a reliever. A former amateur signee out of Venezuela, Pacheco traversed three levels of the minors this past season, topping out in Triple-A. Overall, he combined for a 3.67 ERA and struck out an incredible 44% of opponents. Pacheco’s 13.4% walk percentage is alarming, but that swing-and-miss capability makes him an intriguing bullpen flier. BA ranked the 5’11” righty the #29 prospect in the organization midseason, lauding his fastball’s ability to get whiffs at the top of the strike zone.
Donovan was a 7th-rounder in 2018 out of South Alabama. The left-handed hitter has posted above-average numbers all the way up the minor league ladder while playing all over the diamond (with the bulk of that time at second and third base). Donovan hasn’t hit for a ton of power, but he’s drawn plenty of walks while rarely striking out over the course of his career. Like Pacheco, he rose from High-A to Triple-A this year, posting a cumulative .304/.399/.455 line over 459 plate appearances. BA ranked Donovan fifteenth in the St. Louis system midseason. He could be a bat-first utility option for the big league club as soon as next season.