ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals have optioned outfielder Jordan Walker to the minor leagues after a slow start to his sophomore season.

The team’s top-ranked prospect just last year, Walker now heads to Triple-A Memphis to refine his offensive approach. He was only hitting .155 with four RBI and no home runs through 20 games of action this season.

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that Walker and Zack Thompson were optioned to the Memphis Redbirds, while the team recalled infielder José Fermín and left-handed bullpen pitcher John King in corresponding moves.

Walker’s option sets up Lars Nootbaar, Michael Siani, Alec Burleson and Brendan Donovan to cover the three starting outfield spots in short-term.

The Cardinals optioned Walker to Memphis right around this same time last year as well, then indicating that he needed to drive the ball into the air more often. Walker originally started the season as the favorite for a bulk of opportunities in right field, though his starting opportunities have decreased in recent weeks amid his prolonged slump.

For what it’s worth, the Cardinals have dealt with a tough stretch of recent too, having lost five of their last six and sitting last place in the NL Central with a 10-14 record as of Wednesday. Only three qualified starters (Masyn Winn, Nolan Arenado and Willson Contreras) are hitting above league average (.240) to this point. The Cardinals have also struggled mightily with runners in scoring position to this point.

The Cardinals wrap up a six-game homestand on Wednesday before a new road trip begins against the New York Mets on Friday.