Rick Ankiel #24

  • CF
  • B/T: L/L
  • 6' 1" /210

Rick Ankiel MLB Career Stats

1921 .240 76 251 21 .724

Rick Ankiel Bio

  • Full Name: Richard Alexander Ankiel
  • Born: 7/19/1979 in Fort Pierce, FL
  • Draft: 1997, St. Louis Cardinals, 2nd rd. (72nd overall)
  • High School: Port St. Lucie, FL
  • Debut: 8/23/1999
  • Last Game: 6/8/2013
View More Bio Info +
MLB Career Stats 1921 260 462 76 251 21 .240 .302 .724


Note: Opponent can be found on current team or on team when both players met.

Rick Ankiel Stats

*Since 2006

Rick Ankiel Advanced Stats

*Since 2006
*Since 2006

Rick Ankiel Statcast Events


Rick Ankiel Awards

Futures Game Selection

Year Team League
1999 Memphis PCL

Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year

Year Team League
1999 Memphis PCL

PCL Post-Season All-Star

Year Team League
2007 Memphis PCL

TEX Post-Season All-Star

Year Team League
1999 Arkansas TEX

MID Player of the Week

Week Team League
06/26/2005 Quad Cities MID

Rick Ankiel Leaderboards

Home Runs

Season HR Rank
2008 25 25th in NL

Rick Ankiel Latest Transactions

Team Date Transaction
June 11, 2013 CF Rick Ankiel elected free agency.
June 9, 2013 New York Mets designated CF Rick Ankiel for assignment.
May 13, 2013 New York Mets signed free agent CF Rick Ankiel.
May 9, 2013 Houston Astros released RF Rick Ankiel.
May 6, 2013 Houston Astros designated RF Rick Ankiel for assignment.
March 31, 2013 Houston Astros selected the contract of RF Rick Ankiel from Oklahoma City RedHawks.
March 31, 2013 Houston Astros designated Rick Ankiel for assignment.
January 17, 2013 Houston Astros signed free agent CF Rick Ankiel to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
July 27, 2012 Washington Nationals released CF Rick Ankiel.
July 19, 2012 Washington Nationals designated CF Rick Ankiel for assignment.
April 14, 2012 Washington Nationals activated CF Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list.
April 12, 2012 Hagerstown Suns sent CF Rick Ankiel on a rehab assignment to Syracuse Chiefs.
April 9, 2012 Rick Ankiel assigned to Hagerstown Suns from Harrisburg Senators.
April 5, 2012 Rick Ankiel assigned to Harrisburg Senators.
April 3, 2012 Rick Ankiel roster status changed by Washington Nationals.
March 30, 2012 Washington Nationals selected the contract of Rick Ankiel from Syracuse Chiefs.
March 30, 2012 Washington Nationals placed CF Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list.
February 6, 2012 Washington Nationals signed free agent CF Rick Ankiel to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
October 30, 2011 CF Rick Ankiel elected free agency.
July 1, 2011 Washington Nationals activated CF Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list.
June 29, 2011 GCL Nationals sent CF Rick Ankiel on a rehab assignment to Syracuse Chiefs.
June 28, 2011 CF Rick Ankiel assigned to GCL Nationals.
June 19, 2011 Washington Nationals placed CF Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 15, 2011. Left intercostal strain.
May 24, 2011 Washington Nationals activated CF Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list.
May 23, 2011 sent CF Rick Ankiel on a rehab assignment to Harrisburg Senators.
May 7, 2011 Washington Nationals placed CF Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 3, 2011. Right wrist sprain.
December 21, 2010 Washington Nationals signed free agent CF Rick Ankiel.
November 7, 2010 CF Rick Ankiel elected free agency.
August 1, 2010 Atlanta Braves activated CF Rick Ankiel.
July 31, 2010 Kansas City Royals Traded CF Rick Ankiel and RHP Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta Braves; Mississippi Braves Traded LHP Tim Collins to Omaha Royals and Atlanta Braves Traded CF Gregor Blanco and RHP Jesse Chavez to Kansas City Royals.
July 22, 2010 Rick Ankiel roster status changed by Kansas City Royals.
July 3, 2010 Kansas City Royals sent CF Rick Ankiel on a rehab assignment to Omaha Royals.
June 8, 2010 Rick Ankiel assigned to Omaha Royals.
May 5, 2010 Kansas City Royals placed CF Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 3, 2010. Right quad strain
January 25, 2010 Kansas City Royals signed free agent CF Rick Ankiel.
November 5, 2009 CF Rick Ankiel elected free agency.
May 24, 2009 St. Louis Cardinals activated CF Rick Ankiel from the 15-day disabled list.
May 7, 2009 St. Louis Cardinals placed CF Rick Ankiel on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 5, 2009. Bruised right shoulder

Richard Alexander Ankiel Bio Info

Last name is pronounced 'an-keel' ... Attended Port St. Lucie High School (FL) where he was named the 1997 High School Player of the Year by USA Today...went 11-1 with a 0.47 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 74.0 innings as a senior. ... Drafted by St. Louis as a pitcher in the second round of the June 1997 draft... signed by Cardinals scout Johnny DiPuglia, turning down a baseball scholarship to the University of Miami. ... Tabbed the Minor League Player of the Year by USA Today and Baseball America in 1999... was named the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in both 1998 and 1999. ... Finished second in the 2000 National League Rookie of the Year voting...heading into the season, was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in baseball. ... Converted to an outfielder in 2005. ... Is signed to a one-year contract that runs through the 2013 season...signed by Houston to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training on Jan. 17, 2013. 2012 Posted a .411 slugging percentage in 68 games with the Nationals...began the season on a rehab assignment that saw him make stops at Double A Harrisburg (4g), Class A Hagerstown (3g) and Triple A Syracuse (1g)...was on the Disabled List with a left quad injury...was reinstated on April 14 before getting designated for assignment on July 19...subsequently released on July 29. 2011 Started slowly and endured a pair of DL stints (missed 33 games thanks to 2 DL stints prior to July 1), but added athleticism to Nationals lineup both offensively and defensively...batted .263 with 12 doubles, 8 home runs, 28 RBI and 3 stolen bases in 74 games, beginning July 1...career-best 9 outfield assists ranked 2nd on club, behind Jayson Werth (11)...belted 4th career pinch-hit home run, July 2 off PIT's James McDonald...hit pair of solo home runs to trigger 5-3 win on Aug. 1 vs. ATL, including initial first-inning leadoff homer of career off Jair Jurrjens...down 3-2, 2nd career grand slam was go-ahead blast in eventual 9-3 win on Aug. 2 vs. ATL. 2010 In first season outside STL, combined to hit .232 with 13 doubles, 6 home runs, 24 RBI in 74 games for ATL and KCR... was acquired by the Braves at/near the July 31 trade deadline in a 5-player deal...notched 300th career hit (Aug. 23 vs. solo homer, Aug. 23 at COL off Jason Hammel) and 50th career homer (April 9 vs. BOS). 2009 Spent the entire season as an outfi elder for the Cardinals and, according to the club's count, led the team with 12 "defensive gems" after also doing so with 10 in 2008...Missed 16 games in May after colliding with the outfield wall following a catch on May 4 vs. Philadelphia. 2008 First full season as outfielder was cut short by abdominal injury that required seasonending surgery on 9/19 for abdominal strain/athletic pubalgia. ...Became just the 2nd player (Babe Ruth) in Major League history to hit 25 or more HR's in a season while having previously started 25 or more games as a pitcher. ...Made highlight reel on 5/6 at COL when he threw out a pair of runners at 3rd base & launched a solo HR. ...Hit his 1st career pinch-hit home run on 5/21 at SD. ...Hit a pair of homers on 6/25 at DET...it was his 3rd career multi-HR game and 1st since 9/6/07 vs. PIT. ...Hit a 2-run, 2-out walk-off single 7/5 vs. Cubs for the win & also homered. ...He had seven home runs (T8th NL) & 21 RBI (T10-NL) in July. He also batted .353 (30- 85) for the month. ...Started for the first time since 7/26 on 8/11 at FLA. Each of his final 15 starts were in LF. ...He appeared in 66 of the team's 86 wins, batting .326 (74-277) with 18 HR's & 53 RBI in those 66 wins. ...The Cardinals were 32-12 when he had RBI and 17-3 when he had a multi-RBI game. 2007 Led the organization with 43 HR's in just his second season as a full-time position player...his 11 HR's and 39 RBI following 8/9 call-up led the team during that time span. Was named to Pacific Coast League Post-Season All-Star team. Was promoted from Triple-A Memphis on 8/9 and started that night in RF. Was leading the Pacific Coast League with 32 home runs at time of purchase, 2nd in all of minor leagues (Omaha's Craig Brazell-33). Finished T2nd among final PCL leaders. His 32 home runs ranked 4th among all minor league players. Was T2nd in PCL with 89 RBI when purchased from Memphis. Had an .882 OPS in 102 games at Triple-A. Was on his way to breaking several Memphis Redbird offensive records...finished fourth in both single season HR's (32) and RBI (89) - Kevin Witt holds both records (36 HR & 107 RBI). Belted 3 HRs for Memphis on 6/16 at Iowa, one of his two multi-HR games at Triple-A. Belted 3-run HR in 1st game back as full-time position player 8/9 vs. SD. It was his 3rd career HR and 1st since 4/26/00, a span of 2,661 days (7 yrs, 3 months, 14 days). Rafael Belliard was last player w/ longer time between HRs (5/5/87-9/26/97; 3,797 days). Had two, two-homer games. First career two-homer game was 8/11 vs. LA, with both HRs coming on first pitches. Second multi-homer game of season was 9/6 vs. PIT with a career-high seven RBI and four runs scored. Recorded 23 RBI between 8/20-9/6 (15 games played) and hit .389 (21-for-54). Drew his first left field start 8/20 at CHI and was 2-5 with home run, double and outfield assist. Hit five homers and 19 RBI while batting .440 (11-for-25) during 8/31-9/6 homestand, then had an 0-19 skid that began on 9/7. Had nine RBI in 8/31-9/2 CIN series, including his first career grand slam. His eight-game hit streak in which he hit .467 (14- for-30) with two homers and 11 RBI ended on 9/3. Went 7-17 (.412) in 4-game series vs. HOU (9/20-23)...had 3 hits on 9/22 & again on 9/23, including a walk-off GWing 2-run triple in the 9th. Enjoyed his 7th 3-hit game on 9/29 at PIT with a home run and three RBI...it was his first road HR since 8/20 at CHI. Started 24 games in RF, 14 in CF and two in LF...had three OF assists. 2006 Missed the 2006 season due to a left knee injury suffered in spring training...The injury occured in a scrimmage prior to the Grapefruit League schedule and was diagnosed as a patella tendon strain...After initially rehabbing the injury, he underwent surgery to repair the tendon on 5/26...Was non-tendered on 12/13/06. Signed a minor league contract with St. Louis on 1/16/07. 2005 Lefthander announced his retirement as a Major League pitcher on March 9 to focus on becoming an outfielder...After extended spring training, split the season between Quad Cities (A) and Springfield (AA) clubs...Began season at Double-A Springfield and collected just one hit in his first seven games before being optioned to Quad Cities...Batted .270 for The Swing in 51 games with 11 home runs and 45 RBI...Played 23 games in right field and seven in center; was the DH in 19 games...Rick was named Midwest League Batter of the Week during June 20-26...Went 9-14 (.643) with two home runs and five RBI...Had two seven-game hitting streaks at Quad Cities. Batted .417 (10-24) during each streak (6/14-19 and 6/30-7/11)...Recorded a season-high three hits and six RBI in game 6/19 at Peoria, hitting a grand slam in the third inning...Returned to Springfield on 8/2 where he remained the rest of the season. Hit .243 at Double-A overall, but .308 on the road...Upon his return hit .272 with 25 RBI and seven homers during the month of August...Had a seven-game hit streak 8/13-20 in which he batted .281 (9-32)...Went 4-4 at Wichita with two doubles and a home run on 8/28 in the first game of a double-header...Committed four errors (three at Quad Cities, one at Springfield) in 55 combined games in the outfield and had five assists, including three in 25 games for Springfield. 2004 Talented lefthander spent the majority of the season on the Cardinals' disabled list recovering from left elbow ligament transfer sugery (Tommy John) on 7/16/03...Made a total of six starts during injury rehabilitation, beginning with Palm Beach on 8/2...made three starts for Palm Beach (A), two with Tennessee (AA) and one for Memphis (AAA)...Was a combined 2-1 with a 0.76 ERA (23.2 IP/2 ER) during his rehab...allowed just two walks and struck out 23...211 of his 311 total pitches were strikes (68%)...With St. Louis, recorded two holds in his five games pitched, all in relief...Was activated from the 15-day DL on 9/1 and made his '04 debut on 9/7 at SD with a scoreless 6th...it was his first ML appearance since 5/10/01...Appeared in both STL wins on SD-LA road trip, earning holds 9/7 and 9/12 at LA...Blanked ARI for 2.0 IP on 9/19, fanning four, matching the season-high K total by a Cards' reliever...Had a shaky outing at COL, allowing five runs in 2.0 IP on 9/25...Struck out two batters and walked none...Earned win in relief on 10/1 vs. MIL with 4.0 IP in relief. It was his first ML win since 4/8/01 at ARI when he bested Randy Johnson & D-Backs...Pitched in the Puerto Rican League during the winter where he had a 1-1 mark with a 3.25 ERA in six starts...Had one shutout and threw 27.2 innings total with 31 strikeouts and seven walks. 2003 Began the season in the bullpen for the Tennessee Smokies, going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 relief appearances...Was returned to the starting role in May and made his first start on 5/9 vs. Greenville, allowing 5 runs in just 2.0 IP...Finished the year 1-5 with a 6.20 ERA in 10 starts, but had strung together three straight quality starts prior to being sidelined withh elbow discomfort in early July. Rick allowed just four runs on 9 hits in his final three starts (20.0 IP) and had 23 strikeouts to just 7 walks...Fanned a season-high 12 batters while allowing no runs on just two hits in 6/25 win at Greenville in which he went 7.0 IP and walked just three...His season came to an end on 7/16 when he underwent ligament transplant surgery for his left elbow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum. 2002 Missed the entire 2002 campaign with a left elbow sprain...Appeared in just one spring training game before experiencing arm trouble...That lone appearance came vs. Montreal on 3/3, when he went 2.0 innings and allowed five runs on six hits...He threw 47 pitches, including 30 for strikes.
  • Was officially placed on the disabled list on 3/27 with left elbow tendinitis and a strained flexor muscle.
  • On 7/10, Rick met with Dr. James Andrews, who confirmed the findings of Cardinals Head Team Physician Dr. George Paletta that a non-surgical approach was an appropriate plan of action, and that Rick should not throw for the rest of the summer.
  • Was cleared to begin throwing off the mound following another meeting with Dr. Andrews on 12/9. 2001 Was brought along slowly in spring training as he tried to regain the form he displayed during his rookie campaign...He began the season on the big league roster and recorded his lone win in his first start, 4/8 at ARI, when he bested Randy Johnson and the D-Backs in a 9-4 win...He fanned eight in 5.0 IP and helped the Cardinals to a sweep of the 3-game series at Bank One Ballpark... After struggling in his final five starts with the Cardinals, Rick was optioned to Memphis (AAA) on 5/11... Made just three starts for the Memphis club, walking 17 batters in just 4.1 IP. He made his first start for Memphis on 5/15, walking six while throwing four wild pitches... He failed to get past the first inning his final two starts for Memphis and in his third and final start, 5/24 vs. Nashville, he set Pacific Coast League records for wild pitches (5) and walks (6) in a single inning... After a three week stay in extended spring training, Rick reported to Johnson City (R) in June and turned his season around by enjoying success both on the mound and at the plate... He led the Appalachian League with a 1.33 ERA in 14 starts, fanning a league-leading 158 batters in 87.1 innings pitched while walking only 18. He also made a run at the Appy League home run title, belting 10 round-trippers as a part-time designated hitter... He was tabbed the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year and was also named to the league's postseason All-Star team as both a pitcher and designated hitter... He hit a pair of HR's in his first game as a DH on 6/21 vs. Bristol... He fanned 21 batters during his first two starts for Johnson City in just 10 innings pitched... Fanned 15 batters in 6.0 IP vs. Kingsport on 7/6, striking out nine straight batters at one point... Posted his fourth straight double-digit strikeout contest on 7/21 vs. Pulaski, collecting 17 K's in his 7.0 IP... Ran his streak of double-digit strikeout games to six in a 4-2 win vs. Martinsville on 7/31, fanning 14... He homered in four straight games between 8/1 and 8/8, going 8-for-16 with five HR's and 13 RBIs during that stretch. 2000 Rookie lefthander made 30 starts and one relief appearance in 2000... went 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA... has allowed just one home run to a left-handed batter in 208.0 career innings pitched (Cleveland's Kenny Lofton on 6/4/00)... ranked among National League leaders in strikeouts (194), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.0), opponents batting avg. (.219) and walks (90)... posted a Cardinals rookie strikeout record with 194 Ks. Broke Dizzy Dean's 1932 record of 191... was dangerous at the plate. Batted .250 with two home runs and nine RBI. Made three pinch-hitting appearances and struck out all three times... the Cards posted wins in nine of his 10 starts after 8/7. The only blemish was 9/8 at Milwaukee, when the Brewers plated four runs in the 9th inning in a 6-5 win... claimed a 1.97 ERA (45.2 IP/10 ER) in his last seven starts and struck out 54 while allowing just 16 walks and 31 hits... went 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA, 40 strikeouts and 11 walks in five September starts... had 12 no-decisions among his 30 starts... earned his 10th win 9/20 in Cardinals 11-6 division-clinching win over HOU. Matched his career high with 7.0 IP, allowing just four hits and two earned runs. He became the Cardinals fifth 10-game winner with the victory... notched his ninth win on 9/13 at PIT. Struck out 11 batters and walked none in a 9-5 victory. Allowed four runs (two earned) in 6.2 innings of work... made his first career appearance in South Florida and allowed only two runs on three hits in six innings at FLA on 8/28, but did not earn a decision. The Cards scored four runs in the eighth for a 5-2 win... notched his eighth win of the year and first in six starts with a 5-2 victory over PIT on 8/23. Allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings of work. Threw six shutout innings before giving up solo homers to Osik and Wilson... held the Brewers to just one run on three hits in his 8/12 start at County Stadium. Came away with a no-decision, as Cards pulled out a 2-1 win in 12 innings... survived a tough first inning (walk, hit, error) in his 8/7 start vs. FLA and went on to allow just one run on two hits in 5.0 IP, striking out seven. Took a no-decision in the Cards 2-1, 11-inning win... fell to 7-7 with a 4-0 loss at MON on 8/1. Allowed three runs in five innings of work, including a three-run homer to V. Guerrero... was a 17-5 loser vs. ARI in his 7/27 outing at STL. Fanned 10 batters in just 4.2 IP, including seven of the first nine batters he faced. The D-Backs nicked him for six runs (2 HR) and went on to tally 19 hits in the rout... enjoyed one of the best games of his young career on 7/21, a 12-1 win at HOU. Went seven innings and allowed just three hits while equaling a career high with 11 strikeouts. Went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, RBI and two runs scored... worked on nine days rest on 7/16 at MIN. Suffered his fifth loss in a dual with fellow rookie Mark Redman. Went six innings and allowed four runs in a 5-2 defeat... had one of the shortest outings of his career in his 6/30 start vs. HOU. Threw 98 pitches in just 4.0 IP and left trailing 4-2 in a game the Cards eventually won 5-4... did not earn a decision in the Cards 2-1 win over Kevin Brown and the Dodgers on 6/25. Struggled a bit with his control (five walks), but allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings of work; also collected his eighth base hit of the year... working on nine days rest, improved to 6-3 vs. SF on 6/20. Allowed two runs on three hits in six innings, with eight Ks and three walks in the 7-2 win... dropped a 10-1 decision at DET on 6/10, his first career appearance in an AL park. Allowed four runs (two earned) in his 6.0 IP... posted a 27:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three starts from 5/25 to 6/4... equaled a career high with 11 strikeouts in a five-inning outing vs. CLE on 6/4. Allowed two runs on five hits and walked none, but did not earn a decision in the Cards 3-2 loss. Surrendered a solo home run to Kenny Lofton, marking the first HR he'd allowed to a left-handed batter in 93.1 career innings pitched... earned fifth win 5/30 at ARI, 6-1. Threw five no-hit innings against the Diamondbacks before allowing one run on three hits in the sixth. Had five strikeouts and two walks... won for the first time in nearly a month on 5/25, when he downed the Marlins, 7-6. Fanned a career-high 11 batters in 6.2 IP. Walked none and allowed four runs (two coming via solo HR)... suffered his second loss on 5/19 at PIT in what was probably the worst start of his young career. Lasted just 2.2 innings and allowed seven runs on seven hits in a 13-1 loss, as Kris Benson three-hit the Redbirds... despite a solid performance, he did not earn a decision in his 5/13 outing vs. LA, a 3-1 Redbirds loss. Fired seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just four hits, while striking out nine and walking four... went without a decision in 5/7 outing at CIN. Had four wild pitches in a 9-7 loss... struggled a bit in his 5/2 outing vs. PIT. Went six innings and allowed four runs on five hits, with five walks and four strikeouts... posted a career-best 16-inning scoreless streak from 4/14 to 5/2... earned his third win with seven shutout innings against MIL on 4/26. Allowed just three hits and homered (off Steve Woodard) for the second straight game... posted a 14-1 win vs. SD on 4/20. Tossed five shutout innings and allowed just two hits. Struck out four, but walked a career-high seven batters. Collected three base hits, including his first career home run (off Vicente Palacios)... suffered his first loss of the year at Colorado on 4/14, losing 6-2... earned first Major League win in his 4/9 start vs. MIL. Fanned 10 batters in his 6.0 IP, allowing just three hits. Singled in the fifth inning, hitting safely for the second time in three starts. 1999 Considered by many to be baseball's top pitching prospect, he did nothing in his second professional season to dismiss such high regard... was tabbed Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive season; also received Minor League Player of the Year selections from USA Today, Baseball America and Howe Sports, and was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by USA Today Baseball Weekly. Was also named to Topps Class AA All-Star team... combined for a 13-3 won-loss mark and 2.35 ERA during his Minor League stops with Arkansas (AA) and Memphis (AAA); led the Cardinals farm system in victories (tie, with Larry Luebbers), strikeouts (194), strikeouts per nine innings (12.7) and starter's ERA... was honored as Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Month in both April and May... he and teammate Adam Kennedy were both tabbed for the Futures game which took place at Boston's Fenway Park in July... began the season at Arkansas of the Texas League where he was nearly unhittable; in eight starts for the Travelers, Rick was a perfect 6-0 with a league-leading 0.91 ERA. He fanned 75 batters in 49.1 IP and walked just 16... was 3-0, 0.46 ERA in three May starts and was brilliant in his five starts at Ray Winder Field, going 4-0, 0.29 ERA (31.0 IP/1 ER)... struck out 10 or more in five of his starts for Arkansas, including 12 in a two-hit complete game shutout vs. Shreveport on 4/24; allowed just one hit in 7.0 IP on 5/16 vs. Midland, his final start before promotion to Memphis... was proficient at the plate as well, batting .400 (4-for-10) with a HR at Arkansas... made his first Triple-A start on 5/21 at Salt Lake, posting a win with 5.1 IP; completed his 16-game stint at Memphis with a 7-3 mark and a 3.16 ERA... continued to record strikeouts in bunches, fanning 119 in his 88.1 IP. He whiffed 14 in 6.0 IP on 6/20 vs. Iowa and fanned 13 in six innings work vs. Tucson on 5/26... suffered the first of his three defeats on 5/31 vs. Omaha, allowing four runs (two earned) in 6.2 IP... made his final start for the Redbirds on 8/16 vs. Oklahoma when he tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out nine... earned promotion to the Majors on 8/23, drawing the starting assignment in the Cards series opener with MON at Olympic Stadium; allowed three runs in 5.0 IP, taking a no-decision in the 11-7 defeat... his Busch Stadium debut came on 8/29 vs. ATL. Had second straight no-decision, allowing two runs on five hits in six innings pitched. Left with game tied 2-2, but Braves went on to win, 4-3, in 12 innings... struck out nine in 9/8 start at ATL. Suffered his first Major League loss as well, losing 5-4 to the Braves... made a total of five starts for the Cardinals, going 0-1, 3.86 ERA. His final four appearances came in relief. Did not allow a run, and only two hits, in 5.0 IP out of the bullpen... struck out six in 2.0 innings of relief vs. Padres in nightcap of 9/29 twinbill... was credited with his first professional save in season finale vs. Cubs. Worked out of a bases-loaded no-out jam to preserve 9-5 win in rain-shortened contest on 10/3... finished the year 0-1, 3.27 ERA in nine games (five starts) with the Cardinals. Struck out 39 and walked just 14 in his 33.0 IP. Held opposing batters to a .215 BA, including a .133 mark as a reliever... collected his first Major League hit with a single off Brewers Scott Karl on 9/14. 1998 Split his first professional season between Class A Peoria and advanced Class A Prince William, posting a combined 12-6 record, 2.63 earned-run average and 222 strikeouts in 161 innings... honored as the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year after twice receiving organization Pitcher of the Month honors, in May and June... honored as the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Year and as a postseason league All-Star, named to Howe Sports' Minor League All-Star team and All-Teenager team, and selected to Baseball America's Minor League All-Star team and Class A All-Star team... also voted by Baseball America as the best pitching prospect in both the Carolina and Midwest leagues, and named No. 18 on the publication's list of top 100 prospects (one of two Class A Minor Leaguers to make the top 20)... among all Minor League pitchers in 1998, ranked first in strikeouts among all Minor League starting pitchers, ranked second in strikeouts per nine innings (12.41) and third by limiting opponents to a .191 batting average... led the Carolina League in strikeouts per nine innings (12.93), ranked second in strikeouts (a Prince William-record 181) and opponents batting average (.205), and finished fourth in ERA (2.79)... started the year with Peoria in the Midwest League after participating in the Cardinals Major League spring camp. In seven starts at Peoria, was a perfect 3-0 with a 2.06 ERA, allowing just 15 hits in 35 innings... won his pro debut on 4/10 vs. Kane County, allowing just one hit in five scoreless innings as the Chiefs prevailed, 8-3... Pitched back-to-back hitless starts on 5/1 and 5/6, stretching his hitless innings streak that began 4/26 vs. Burlington to 15.2 IP. On 5/1 vs. Quad City, fanned seven in six hitless innings of a 7-1 win; on 5/6 at Fort Wayne, retired the first 11 batters en route to 6.2 no-hit innings, fanning 10... wound up pitching a Minor League-best 17.2 consecutive hitless innings. Streak ended 5/11 vs. Lansing with a third-inning leadoff single, though he allowed only one other hit in seven innings, winning 7-1... made his Carolina League debut on 5/22, striking out seven in 5.2 IP. Lost 3-0, though he pitched five scoreless innings before surrendering a pair of runs in the sixth... gained his first win with the Cannons on 6/1, allowing just one hit (a fifth-inning single) in seven scoreless innings... struck out 11 as Prince William beat Winston-Salem, 7-0... became the first pitcher in the Minors in '98 to strike out 10 or more batters in three-straight games (6/1-6/11) by fanning 12 in a 6-2 win at Salem on 6/11; struck out seven of the first eight batters he faced and nine of the first 12... recorded his fourth double-digit strikeout game in seven Carolina League starts by striking out 12 batters over seven innings in a 5-4 win over Kinston on 6/21... struck out 11 in a no-decision start vs. Lynchburg on 6/27, allowing one run on three hits... posted his second streak of three consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts (6/21-7/2) by fanning 10 in a 4-3 win over Salem on 7/2; saw the streak end on 7/13, when he struck out nine in a 7-1 win at Frederick... wound up with 35 strikeouts over 19.2 IP in his first three-game streak 6/1-11 and 33 whiffs in 19 IP in his second three-game streak 6/21-7/2... pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing one hit, in a 1-0 win at Lynchburg on 8/4... won his third straight start and improved his ERA over that stretch to 0.95 with a 13-2 win at Frederick on 8/25... earned Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors 5/3-9 for Peoria and Carolina League honors 5/28-6/3 for Prince William. 1997 Was the 72nd overall pick in the June amateur draft and signed a Minor League contract on 8/28... was a member of the USA Junior National Team, which captured the bronze medal at the International Baseball Association's World Junior Championship... named to the All-Tournament team as a left-handed starter... tossed a two-hit shutout against South Korea in the quarterfinal round, fanning 15 batters and walking just two... finished the tournament with a 3-0 record in five starts, including one complete game, struck out 48 and walked 12 in 29.2 innings; allowed only six earned runs (1.82 ERA), and opponents batted just .189 against him... also played 13 games in the outfield; batted .387 (24-for-62) with three home runs, 16 RBI and a .955 fielding average in the tournament.