The Cardinals announced they’ve selected outfielder Ben DeLuzio onto the big league roster and recalled reliever James Naile from Triple-A Memphis. They’ll take the two extra active roster spots available to teams in September. St. Louis already had an opening on the 40-man roster.
It’s the first big league call for DeLuzio, who has spent six years in the professional ranks. An undrafted free agent out of Florida State in 2016, the right-handed hitting outfielder first signed with the Diamondbacks. DeLuzio would spend the next five years in the organization, using his speed to post strong results on balls in play but never hitting for much power. The Florida native never hit more than four home runs in a minor league season, and his strikeout rate began to mount as he hit the Double-A level.
Arizona didn’t add DeLuzio to the 40-man roster, and he was made eligible in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft last offseason. The Cardinals selected him with the 17th pick and assigned him to Memphis. (Unlike those taken in the big league portion of the Rule 5 draft, minor league selections don’t have to be added to the MLB active roster). DeLuzio has responded with arguably the best season of his career, posting strong numbers in 94 games to earn his first MLB call.
Through 408 plate appearances, the 28-year-old has a .277/.353/.429 line. His nine home runs aren’t the mark of a power hitter, but it shatters his previous personal high. The athleticism upon which he’s long relied has remained intact, as he’s swiped 30 bases in 36 attempts while playing over 700 innings in center field. DeLuzio isn’t likely to get many starts with the Cardinals looking to wrap up the NL Central over the season’s final month, but he adds a speed and defense oriented player whom manager Oliver Marmol can creatively deploy late in games.
Robert Murray of FanSided first reported DeLuzio’s promotion this morning.