The Cardinals’ fifth-round pick in 2015 from a smaller college, Helsley might have cracked the big league roster last year had he not gone down with a late-season injury. He has risen through the system steadily, if not a bit quietly, recording time in Triple-A each of the last two seasons. He waited until 2019 to make his big league debut, cracking the Cardinals’ roster this April.
Helsley is undersized for a starter and doesn’t have ideal in-zone command, but double-plus velocity on his fastball bails him out to some degree. The heater sits 94-to-97 late into games, topping out around triple-digits. Both his curve and changeup flash sharp movement but aren’t always consistent, backed up by a cutter he’ll mix for another look. St. Louis has a good track record with hard-throwing starters, and Helsley could be a back-rotation piece if he maintains his velocity while cutting down the walks. The tools are here for a potential late-game ‘pen arm if durability becomes a long-term issue.