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A closer look at Malcom Nunez and Johan Oviedo, whom Cards gave up in deal with Pirates

With the Cardinals looking to bolster their rotation before the Aug. 2 trade deadline, infield prospect Malcom Nunez was included a deal that sent him and right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo to the Pirates for lefty Jose Quintana and right-handed reliever Chris Stratton, according to reports.

Nunez, who was listed as the Cardinals’ 11th-best prospect in a ranking done by the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold, began the season with Class AA Springfield, where he played in 85 games. Oviedo had found a role in the Cardinals’ bullpen after he was recalled in early June from Class AAA Memphis.

Malcom Nunez

Position: 1B/3B

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 5-11, 205

Age: 21

Acquired: Signed as an international free agent (Cuba) in July 2018

2022 season: .255/.360/.463, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs in 85 games played with Class AA

Nunez began the 2022 season with Class AA Springfield, where he not only debuted at a new level of minor-league baseball but also at a new position. The infield prospect made the transition from third base, where he’d played 82 games in 2021, to first base in large part due to the arrival of top third base prospect Jordan Walker at Class AA. Nunez got off to a slow start at the plate to begin the year as he batted .189 and had a .655 OPS after his first 40 games with Springfield.

Then things turned around for the 21-year-old as he batted .381 with nine homers and 27 RBIs, posting an 1.180 OPS in 23 games in June. The bounce-back efforts were enough for Nunez to garner organizational honors as the Cardinals minor-league player of the month for June. He took a step back through July as he slashed .230/.299/.425 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 22 games.

Nunez’s bat, which has been described as his “carrying tool,” first helped him climb prospect rankings when he debuted as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League in 2018. As a teenager, Nunez batted .415, hit 13 homers, and drove in 59 RBIs, all of which were enough to win the DSL Triple Crown. Nunez’s path to the majors with the Cardinals had been cloudy with All-Stars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt manning the corners of the infield as well as the promising 20-year-old Walker also rising through the minors as a third baseman.

Johan Oviedo

Position: Right-handed pitcher

Height/Weight: 6-5, 245

Age: 24

Acquired: Signed as an international free agent (Cuba) in July 2016

2022 season: 2-1, 3.20 ERA, 25? innings over 14 games played with Cardinals; 4-2, 5.58 ERA, 50 innings over 10 games played with Class AAA

Oviedo began the 2022 season with Class AAA Memphis, where he started in 10 games for the Redbirds before he was recalled to the majors on June 3. In his return to the big-league club, Oviedo, who made 13 starts and went 0-5 with a 4.91 ERA with the Cardinals in 2021, made 13 appearances out of the bullpen. His only start for the Cardinals this season came on June 5, when he pitched five innings and allowed three runs to the Cubs.

Oviedo earned his first career win in the majors on June 22 after he threw 2? scoreless innings in a relief outing against the Brewers. In his last seven appearances from the bullpen, the righty posted a 3.12 ERA over 8? relief innings and struck out 11 batters.

The 24-year-old has a 4.65 ERA over 19 career appearances (112? innings). He made 19 starts in 33 outings from the bullpen since making his MLB debut in 2020.

Springfield's Malcom Nunez celebrates after a home run during a baseball game on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.

Springfield’s Malcom Nunez celebrates after a home run during a baseball game on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.

Daniel Guerrero

@TheDanielGuerrero on Twitter

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