Prospect trio among Cards headed to AFL

Prospect trio among Cards headed to AFL

MILWAUKEE -- Three of the Cardinals' most advanced position-player prospects -- Harrison Bader, Carson Kelly and Paul DeJong -- will extend their 2016 seasons with time in the Arizona Fall League.

Those three, along with pitchers Corey Littrell, Ryan Sherriff and Rowan Wick, were announced on Wednesday as those chosen to represent the Cardinals on the Glendale Desert Dogs club. The Cardinals, who have one open pitching spot still left to fill, will also send Class A Peoria coach Dernier Orozco to serve as a pitching coach for the team.

The AFL, considered baseball's finishing school for prospects, begins its season on Oct. 11 and continues play through its annual championship game on Nov. 19. Four of the players the Cardinals sent to the AFL last season -- Alex Reyes, Luke Weaver, Aledmys Diaz and Dean Kiekhefer -- have since made their Major League debut.

Bader, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, will be one of 21 players in the AFL who rank on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 list. A third-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2015 MLB Draft, Bader slashed .286/.352/.485 in 77 Double-A games before earning a midseason promotion to Triple-A Memphis.

Kelly, the organization's 11th-ranked prospect, followed a similar path. After representing the Cardinals in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the converted catcher moved up to Triple-A. Since that promotion, Kelly has hit .284/.347/.376 in 31 games.

Top Prospects: Kelly, STL

DeJong, selected one round after Bader in the '15 Draft, has been a mainstay on Double-A Springfield's roster all season. There he has been a power source, blasting 21 homers and 26 doubles while driving in 71. He ranks 15th on the Cardinals' prospect list.

Top Prospects: DeJong, STL

Sherriff and Littrell are finishing their Minor League seasons pitching in relief for Memphis. Sherriff leads that team with 47 appearances and has posted a 2.76 ERA. Littrell has a 4.68 ERA over his 39 outings.

Wick, who initially burst onto the scene as a power-hitting prospect, is nearing the end of his second season as a pitcher. In what has been his first full season on the mound, Wick has a 2.40 ERA in 42 appearances split between Class A Advanced Palm Beach and Springfield. Wick has struck out 55 and walked 19 over 41 1/3 innings.

Worth noting

• On Wednesday, Luke Voit and Luke Weaver were named to the 2016 Texas League Postseason All-Star team. Weaver, who actually started for the Cardinals on the same day he was honored, went 6-3 with a 1.40 ERA in 12 Double-A starts. Voit has hit .301 with 19 homers, 19 doubles and 72 RBIs in 128 games.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.