Cardinals draft grade: St. Louis address pitching problems in a big way

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The St. Louis Cardinals used their 2022 MLB Draft to address their pitching issues in a big way.

The Cardinals used their 22nd overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft to select left-handed pitcher Cooper Hjerpe from Oregon State University.

Hjerpe was named National Player of the Year by several organizations in 2022. He accumulated a record of 11-2 with a 2.53 ERA. In 103.1 innings of work, Hjerpe struck out a school record 161 batters. Hjerpe led the nation in this statistic.

A first-team All-American, Hjerpe was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy.

Cardinals address pitching needs in a big way in MLB Draft

Drafting Hjerpe immediately addresses one of St. Louis’ most pressing needs — pitching. The lefty sinker specialist is a strikeout artist who can eat up innings. While it will be curious to see how fast Hjerpe can rise in the ranks of the system, obviously Hjerpe remains a few years away from contributing at that level.

The sooner Hjerpe can rise through the ranks of the Cardinals system, the sooner we can see how well the pitch converts to inducing grounders at the major-league level. This is a trait the Cards are huge on selecting for their young pitchers — being MLB-ready.

Getting Hjerpe in front of a Gold Glove defense that includes Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt and others will only help matters in the long run, as well.

Draft Grade: B

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