Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Redbirds Young Rocket Arms

                       Trevor Rosenthal pitching against the Giants

This postseason, the Cardinals are showing off some young power arms out of the bullpen. Lance Lynn had this role last season, and moved into the rotation this year. Lynn made a relief appearance in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, but was moved into the rotation because of Jaime Garcia's injury. Garcia's injury led to the Cardinals adding 2009 first round pick Shelby Miller to the postseason roster. Miller was impressive in his start against the Reds in the season's final day. He no-hit them for 5 plus innings. He shut the Giants down in his first inning of his postseason debut in Game 2, but ran into trouble in his second inning of work.

Miller had a up and down year in Memphis, but turned it on in the second half. He started using his secondary off speed pitches, instead of using purely fastballs. Miller just turned 22 years old, and is still learning how to pitch. In the same 2009 draft, the Cardinals also drafted Joe Kelly in the third round and Trevor Rosenthal in the 21st round. Kelly has played the biggest role on the 2012 Cardinals, starting 16 games for the Redbirds, and now being a power arm out of the bullpen.

Rosenthal can reach up to 100 mph on his fastball. He also has a very good curveball. He is a valuable weapon out of the bullpen, and should be a very good starter someday. Rosenthal had a 2.78 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched in the big leagues this year. He pitched in Double A Springfield and Triple A Memphis this year before joining the Cardinals. Rosenthal is also from Lee's Summit, Missouri. Rosenthal has also pitched very well in the postseason this year, pitching 4.1 scoreless innings with 7 strikeouts.

The Cardinals should have plenty of arms for years to come. All three of these guys are good enough to be starters and could be All Stars someday. The Cardinals have several more top pitching prospects in the minors. The Cardinals signed Carlos Martinez form the Dominican Republic in 2010, and he was rated baseball's 27th best prospect coming into this season. Martinez just turned 21, and pitched in two levels this year, High A Palm Beach, and Double A Springfield. Martinez had a 2.93 ERA in 104.1 innings pitched in the minors this year. John Gast is the Cardinals top lefthanded starting prospect, and he was a 6th round pick in 2010. Gast dominated Double A, going 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA, but struggled in Springfield, going 9-5 with a 5.10 ERA.

Tyrell Jenkins was the Cardinals supplemental first round pick in 2010, and was baseball's 94th ranked prospect coming into the year. Mike Matheny compared Jenkins to Chris Carpenter in spring training this year. Jenkins is several years away from the big leagues, and struggled in A ball this year. He had a 5.14 ERA in 82.1  innings for Quad Cities this year. He did strikeout 80 batters, but is far from a finished product at 20 years old. The Cardinals spent their number 1 draft pick this year on Michael Wacha from Texas A&M. Wacha reaches the low to mid 90s on his fastball. He had a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings with 40 strikeouts in the minors this year after signing.

Its possible that some of these pitchers won't pan out, but I think the Cardinals will have some very good pitchers coming up in the next few years. Some might pitch out of the bullpen in the majors. I think this year's trio of Kelly, Rosenthal, and Miller will make a big impact on next years club. The three 2009 draft picks are already contributing on this year's club.


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