Born: January 30, 1988
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 218
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2006 (Minnesota)
How Acquired: From Atlanta Braves for Matt Diaz
Birthplace: Santiago, Dominican Republic
Agent: N/A


The Pirates acquired Cardenas as the PTBNL from the Braves for Matt Diaz.  He’d originally signed with Minnesota and spent five years in their system struggling to harness his stuff, which is good.  The Twins eventually lost him to Atlanta in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft and he took a big step forward in his one year with Atlanta.  He throws in the low 90s and has a mid-80s slider that’s a swing-and-miss pitch, but he has trouble throwing strikes.  He’s generally been hard to hit.

DSL:  3-0-1, 1.26 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 5.0 K/9

Pitched in relief in the DSL, managing a very low ERA despite walking more than he fanned.  Opponents hit .210 against him.

DSL:  2-3-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 52 IP, 3.8 BB/9, 9.7 K/9

Moved to DSL rotation and greatly improved his walk and K rates.  Opponents hit .201 against him.

DSL:  5-1-0, 1.57 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 68.2 IP1.4 BB/9, 7.7 K/9

The Twins kept Cardenas in the DSL for a third year, although he was 20.  He improved his control and opponents hit .221 against him.

R:  1-2-0, 5.47 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 24.2 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 8.8 K/9

Finally got to the GCL and struggled.  It wasn’t his control; he walked only seven in 24.2 IP, but he allowed an opponents’ average of .298.

A:  5-1-8, 3.69 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 63.1 IP, 6.3 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

The Twins moved Cardenas up to low A, where he pitched in relief, partly as the closer.  His control slipped badly, as he walked 44 and threw 11 wild pitches in 63.1 IP.

A+:  4-3-7, 0.79 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 56.2 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 11.9 K/9
AA:  0-0-0, 27.00 ERA, 7.00 WHIP, 3 IP, 18.0 BB/9, 3.0 K/9

After drafting Cardenas, the Braves sent him to high A.  They moved him up for a couple of brief stints in AA early in the season, but those were disastrous:  he allowed 15 hits and six walks in just three innings, spread over five games, for an amazing WHIP of 7.00.  He stayed in high A the rest of the season and was almost untouchable there, including an opponents’ average of .159 and a very high K rate.  The one negative was a high walk rate, but it was an improvement over 2010.

Cardenas appears to have a good arm, although you have to wonder just how good if the Twins weren’t willing to protect him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.  Obviously, he was eligible for that draft again in 2011 and wasn’t selected.  He had a very good year in high A, but he hasn’t solved his control problems and he’ll be 24 when the 2012 season starts.  He was expected to open 2012 at Altoona, but he was injured when the season started.

Baseball Reference–Minors
2012: Minor league contract
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2006
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2012
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
May 24, 2006: Signed by the Minnesota Twins as an international free agent.
December 9, 2010: Selected by the Atlanta Braves from the Minnesota Twins in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
August 31, 2011: Traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Atlanta Braves as a player to be named later in exchange for Matt Diaz; trade completed on September 20.