Former Wabash Valley College pitcher Keith Butler has been added to the St. Louis Cardinals 40-man roster. He will be in Jupiter, Fla. for spring training when pitchers report in February.
Butler, a 23-year old righthander, had an outstanding season last year as the closer with the Cardinals Class AA Texas League team in Springfield last year. Butler was 30 of 31 in save opportunities, and finished with a record of 5-1, and ERA of 2.76.
Since he has proven to be successful at each stop so far in his career, baseball insiders think the 6-foot, 180-pound Butler, drafted in the 24th round by St. Louis in 2009, will be promoted to Class AAA this year, despite the overall depth of Cardinals pitching. Some foresee him as a potential Fernando Salas-type middle reliever in the major leagues.
Butler has built his reputation on a slider that ranges in speed from 70-75 miles per hour, to go with a fastball that rarely tops 90 mph. Not fast, but the results speak for themselves. Butler has 215 strikeouts in 171 innings at the professional level, to go with an ERA of 2.21.
Butler, from Morgantown, Ky., was named a mid-season and post-season Texas League all-star.
He just completed a stint in the Dominican winter league, working a total of six innings during six appearances with an ERA of 0.50 in November.