The Peoria Chiefs and St. Louis Cardinals have announced that outfielder David Popkins has joined the Chiefs roster while outfielder Nick Martini has been placed on the 7-day disabled list with a sprained ankle.
Popkins, 23, hit .288 last season in 44 games split between the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and the Short Season-A Batavia Muckdogs. Signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the University of California - Davis last June and made his pro debut in the GCL on June 21. He hit .353 in 21 games in the GCL with seven RBI, five doubles and one triple. Popkins had a seven-game hit streak from June 25-July 10 and finished his time in the GCL with four multi-hit games including a three-hit game on July 19. He was promoted to Batavia on August 2 and hit .243 with one homer, 10 RBI and six doubles in 23 games to finish the season. His first pro home run came on August 25 against Williamsport and he twice hit in four-straight games with Batavia.
Popkins played four seasons at UC Davis batting .322 with 14 homers, 34 doubles, 84 RBI and 97 runs scored in 166 games. He hit .388 as a sophomore in 2010 with five homers, 43 RBI and 14 doubles before batting .321 in 2011 with four homers and 23 RBI. In 50 games as a senior in 2012 he batted .276 with five homers, 10 doubles and 18 RBI. On the mound as a junior he was 0-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 13 relief outings after going 3-2 with a 6.67 ERA in 16 outings as a sophomore. Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso also played at UC Davis. Popkins played his high school ball at St. Augustine HS in San Diego, the alma mater of Brian Barden, Solly Hemus and John Wathan.
Martini sprained his ankle while sliding into third base on a successful stolen base Tuesday night against Burlington. He scored on the play after an errant throw but then left the contest as Michael Swinson took his place in the outfield for the ninth inning. In eight games this season Martini is hitting .207 with one double, one RBI, two steals, five walks and four runs scored. A native of Crystal Lake, IL, Martini was the Cardinals seventh round draft pick out of Kansas State University in 2011.