June 16, 2017 - Frontier League (FL) - River City Rascals
Warner, 22, is the first Rascal to be sold to a Major League organization this year and is the ninth Frontier League player since Spring Training began on April 26th.
The southpaw was a dominant part of the Rascals starting rotation since signing with the club on June 29th, 2016, out of Bellarmine University and leaves for the Cardinals with a professional record of 6-1 and a 4.01 ERA through 16 games (12 starts).
"I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity with the Rascals," Warner said over the phone Friday morning. "It was easily the most fun I ever had on a baseball field. I learned a lot as a player and a pitcher and made many friends along the way that I know I'll miss the hell out of."
Through the first month of the 2017 campaign, Warner showed his electric presence on the mound and made six starts, winning two games and combining for an ERA of 3.74 in 33.2 innings. Warner also leaves the Rascals with 33 strikeouts this year and he tied the single-game team high with eight, set back on May 27th against the Joliet Slammers where he tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, the longest scoreless outing of his career.
He also struck out eight batters two games later in a seven inning start, where he allowed just one run in a win against Windy City.
As a rookie-1 in 2016, Warner was a huge reason why the Rascals ended the year strong as he won four straight starts in the month of August, allowing just six earned runs in 23.2 innings and set a career high with 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings on August 19th against Windy City.
He would then go to have success in the 2016 Frontier League playoffs and once again struck out eleven batters, this time on a much bigger stage in game one of the Divisional Series against the Southern Illinois Miners.
Warner was a huge addition to the Rascals rotation and it was only fitting that the strikeout machine struck out two batters in his final inning Thursday night while sporting the Rascals uniform.
The southpaw will be assigned to a minor league affiliate and will report to his new destination hunting to become the fifth Rascal to make it to the Major Leagues.
"I'm definitely excited about the opportunity the Cardinals have given me," Warner said. "I have dreamed of this since I was a kid and it's all I have worked for my entire life. I'm just ready to go show them what I'm capable of."
Warner will be missed by Rascals fans, coaches and teammates and the organization would like to wish the best of luck to him as he starts his new journey with the St. Louis Cardinals.
"This is what our league is all about, I am so happy for Austin and the opportunity that he is going to get with the Cardinals," said Rascals manager Steve Brook. "I'm confident that he will have success in higher levels and I am excited to see what the future holds for him."