Francisco Antonio Samuel Mercedes
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
Francisco Samuel has pitched as high as AA through 2009.
Samuel was signed by scout Rene Rojas for the St. Louis Cardinals in June 2006 and was awful with the DSL Cardinals that summer (1-3, 7.56, .364 opponent average, 19 BB in 16 2/3 IP). In 2007, the right-hander was promoted to the GCL Cardinals and did even worse - 0-4, 9.53, .309 average, 15 wild pitches and 35 walks in 34 innings. He did strike out 40, a lone bright side. He paced the Gulf Coast League in runs allowed (42), earned runs allowed (36), walks and wild pitches.
Francisco made amazing strides in 2008. He was 2-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA in five games for the Swing of the Quad Cities and was quickly promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals. He had a 4-6, 3.04 record for them with 29 saves. He struck out 85 in 56 1/3 innings and allowed just a .196 average, but did walk 48. He led the team in strikeouts despite pitching exclusively in relief. He tied Adalberto Mendez for the Florida State League lead in saves and paced all Cardinals farmhands in that department. His K rate was second to Anthony Slama among FSL relievers. Samuel made the FSL All-Star team, joining Slama as the relievers chosen. Baseball America named him the #18 FSL prospect, right behind Taylor Green and Cale Iorg, not bad for a guy who had led the GCL in four negative categories just a year earlier.
The San Pedro de Macoris native slumped with the 2009 Springfield Cardinals, going 3-4 with 22 saves and a 5.66 ERA and losing his closer's role in July. He struck out 59 in 47 2/3 inningsand allowed only a .208 average but walked 46. His season ended early due to a right hip strain in late August. He was two saves behind Cardinals minor league leader Jess Todd and he was second in the Texas League as well, trailing Andrew Johnston. Samuel was a late addition for the 2009 Futures Game, replacing the injured Jenrry Mejia. He was the 4th of nine World pitchers in a 7-5 win over the USA. Relieving Yohan Flande to open the bottom of the third, Samuel allowed a homer to Eric Young Jr. on his second pitch, a 97-mph fastball. He walked Desmond Jennings on five pitches and Brett Wallace on four, with Jennings stealing both second and third. He retired Chris Carter on a pop-up, then was yanked in favor of Leyson Septimo.