MIAMI (CBSMaimi/AP) — It’s rare when a ballplayer can crack the big leagues and make an impact at a young age.
Once St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Magneuris Sierra reached the major leagues, he needed little time to make a big splash.
He’s that fast.
In his first three games after being recalled from Class A Palm Beach, Sierra went 5 for 14 (.357) and won raves for his baserunning. He scored in the ninth inning Tuesday night to give the Cardinals a 6-5 comeback victory at Miami, and then said he felt like he had won the World Series.
“I never expected to be here this quickly, so I just work hard,” the 21-year-old Dominican said through a translator. “My speed is something I have been working on since I was a kid, and it’s obviously what has gotten me this far and what helps me be in the big leagues right now.”
Sierra has been regarded as a top prospect since 2014, when he was chosen the Cardinals’ minor league player of the year. Last season he hit .307 and stole 31 bases for Single-A Peoria.
Nonetheless, it’s surprising he has come on so … fast. Sierra was called up Sunday when center fielder Dexter Fowler was sidelined by a lat injury, and the rookie has hardly had a misstep since.
He beat right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s strong throw home to score from second base on pinch hitter Fowler’s sharp single to break a 5-all tie Tuesday night.
“Nobody else on our team obviously scores on that play,” manager Mike Matheny said.
An inning earlier, Sierra singled and kept running to reach second base standing up as left fielder Marcell Ozuna lobbed the ball back to the infield. Sierra later scored in a four-run inning.
Matheny loved the daring.
“I think surprised all of us,” Matheny said. “He never slowed down. Next thing I know he’s three strides from second on a ball that’s pretty much just straight in to the cutoff man.
“That has to be who you are, and what you do as soon as you put the bat on the ball, and not being satisfied with getting a base hit. It’s one thing to have speed, but it’s another thing to have that kind of desire to get that next base.”
Sierra was 0 for 1 on steal attempts through three games with the Cardinals, and Matheny predicted the youngster will improve with experience in that area. Sierra will likely get more grooming in the minors once Fowler is healthy and outfielder Stephen Piscotty returns from a hamstring injury, likely next week.
So for the Cardinals, this is just a first glimpse of Sierra’s potential.
“It’s awesome to watch,” Fowler said. “Speed never slumps.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)