Nine games into his professional baseball career, Trejyn Fletcher of Portland earned his first promotion. On Sunday, Fletcher was assigned to Johnson City (Tennessee) of the Appalachian League, moving up one level in the Cardinals’ minor league system.

Picked in the second round by the St. Louis Cardinals on June 3, Fletcher signed a $1.5 million contract on June 12. He was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, a Rookie League team in Florida featuring mostly teenagers. Johnson City is also a Rookie League team, but it features several players in their second and third seasons of professional baseball, with 10 international free agents, and 11 of the Cardinals’ 2019 draft picks who had played in college. Fletcher, who turned 18 on April 30, is the youngest player and highest draft pick currently with Johnson City.

With the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, Fletcher hit .297 with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in 37 at-bats over nine games. He had at least one hit in eight games, though he did strike out 17 times. In the field, the 6-2, 200-pound center fielder, made 23 putouts with one assist and no errors.

Fletcher’s quick move up is a bit unexpected when compared to most of the Cardinals’ recent top draft picks out of high school. Pitcher Jake Woodford (first round, 2015), outfielders Bryce Denton (second round, 2015) and Dylan Carlson (first round, 2016), and infielders Delvin Perez (first round, 2016), and Mateo Gil (third round, 2018) each played a full season in the GCL after being drafted. Power-hitting third baseman Nolan Gorman, a 2018 first-round selection, started his pro career at Johnson City.


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