Mike O’Reilly (Woodstock 2014) just continues to prove people wrong. So far, anyway.
Mike was picked in the 27th round of the 2016 draft (by the Cardinals), and by definition, that makes him a long shot. Add in that his stuff is not overpowering (he usually throws 88-91 mph), and maybe that makes him a double long shot.
However, in pro ball, Mike continues to make adjustments, and continues to consistently retire batters.
After the 2016 draft, he was assigned to the Gulf Coast League, even though he was already 21. In 11 games (4 starts), he went 3-1, 2.48, with 1 save, a 1.000 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, and 8.6 K/9 in 40 innings. Striking out 38 batters while only walking 5, even in Rookie ball, equals another chance.
So, in 2017, he was assigned to Peoria of the Midwest League, and continued to dominate. In 15 games (12 starts) and 87 2/3 innings, Mike went 9-2, 1.75, with an incredible 0.684 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, and 9.1 K/9. (That equals 11 walks and 89 strikeouts for those scoring at home).
In August, he was moved up to Palm Beach, the Cardinals’ affiliate in the Florida State League. O’Reilly found things much tougher there, going 3-1, 3.29, with a 1.354 WHIP, 1.5 BB/9, and 7.1 K/9 in 54 2/3 innings. He allowed more than a hit per inning, and his walk rate went up a bit, and his strikeout rate went down.
That’s why 2018 has been so fascinating. Mike was sent back to Palm Beach to start the year, and ATVL was curious to see how he would respond. Well, the results were pretty clear; in 3 games and 17 innings, Mike went 1-1, 2.12, with a 0.706 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, and 10.6 K/9. Small sample size, sure, but he was quickly back to the results he earned for Peoria.
The Cardinals didn’t wait to see any more- they sent him to Double-A Springfield, where he made his first start on April 27th, and his second start just last night, on May 2nd. How has he done in those 2 starts? Only 2-0, 0.00, with a 0.650 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, and 8.0 K/9 in 12 1/3 innings.
It’s not likely that Mike will continue to throw shutouts every time out, but he’s surely improved from his Palm Beach stint in 2017, and perhaps showing that he has a future in St. Louis.
Great job so far, Mike!