DALLAS, Texas., December 8, 2011 –The St. Louis Cardinals selected outfielder Erik Komatsu from the Washington Nationals’ Syracuse affiliate in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft today.
Komatsu (ko-MAHT-su), 24, split the 2011 season between Double-A affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals batting .277 with seven home runs, 48 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
The 5-foot-10, 175 lb., right-handed hitting prospect was originally drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2008 first-year player draft out of Cal-State Fullerton. He has a career minor league batting average of .302 compiled over four seasons covering 348 games and 1298 at bats.
Komatsu had a breakout season in 2010 as the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year, batting .323 with five home runs, 63 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 130 games at Class-A Brevard County of the Florida State League. He led the FSL in runs scored (90), on base percentage (.413) and walks (68); and ranked second in the league in batting average (.323) and hits (157). Komatsu was rated by Baseball America as having the “Best Strike Zone Discipline” and “Best Hitter for Average” in the Brewers system.
The Cardinals paid the Nationals $50,000 to acquire Komatsu and must keep him on their Major League roster or disabled list for the entire season or have to offer him back to the Nationals for $25,000.
During the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Cardinals selected right-handed pitcher Steven “Shooter” Hunt (2-0, 7.38 ERA in 2011, Fort Myers-A) off the Minnesota Twins’ New Britain roster and left-handed pitcher Barret Browning (2-1, 4.61 ERA in 2011, Salt Lake-AAA) from the Los Angeles Angels’ Arkansas roster. Both pitchers will be added to the Memphis (AAA) roster for the 2012 season.