MLB.com Top 100 Prospects Features Six Cardinals

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Thursday, Februrary.07/2013

The Cardinals will start another year without an ace pitcher.  They have survived without Carpenter and Wainwright is recent seasons

The Cardinals will start another year without an ace pitcher. They have survived without Carpenter and Wainwright is recent seasons.

By Landen Crouch ( Cardinals Correspondent)

The Future for the St. Louis Cardinals is pretty clear – they are a team that will continue to win at a high level and compete in the playoffs.  Many teams in Major League Baseball have developed habits of heavy spending, looking to buy a potential World Series Title.  But the Cardinals have remained true to what has proved to be a winning formula: draft well and develop talent.  It will for sure pay off for them.  The Cardinals received some devastating news recently that Chris Carpenter will likely miss the entire 2013 season.  With that news hitting hard, the Cardinals have to feel good about how they have built their farm system recently.  The Cardinals‘ Minor League teams are loaded with talent, mostly pitchers.  Last week, mlb.com released their Top 100 Minor League Prospects in 2013, featuring six players from the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization that could possibly see action with the top club in St. Louis during the 2013 regular season.

Trevor Rosenthal vs Oscar Taveras:

No. 83 – Michael Wacha (P)

Micheal Wacha fanned 40 Batters in 21.0 IP - in 3 different Minor League Stints during the 2012 year

Micheal Wacha fanned 40 Batters in 21.0 IP – in 3 different Minor League Stints during the 2012 year

Michael Wacha is the 4th of the Right Handed Cardinal Pitchers in MLB.com’s top 100.  Wacha is new to the organization, selected in the First Round (19th Overall) of the 2012 Amateur Draft.  He comes to the Cardinals with more experience than the rest of these prospects on the board.  Wacha was a star at Texas A&M for three years before signing with the Cards last June.  During his tenure in college, Wacha was a Freshman All-American in 2010 by Louisville Slugger and Collegiate Baseball.  In 2011, he was named third team All-American by Baseball America, and in 2012, second team All-American.  In the Cardinals organization in 2012, Wacha appeared in 11 games, starting 2 (3 Games with the Rookie League GCL Cardinals, 4 games with the Single-A Palm Beach Cardinals, and 4 games with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals).  Total, he had 21.0 Innings Pitched, struck out 40 batters, and only gave up 2 Earned Runs.  This adds up to an ERA of a mere 0.86.  Wacha shows great potential as a strikeout pitcher.  It might take him a little bit to make it to the big-league level, given his lack of experience as a pro; however, if he keeps picks up where he left of in 2012, it will definitely speed up the process.  Expect Wacha to start in Double-A with the Springfield Cardinals in 2013, where he finished the year in 2012.  He should be seeing much more action this year in Double-A, likely being a Starter.

No. 79 – Kolten Wong (2B)

Wong stole 21 bases and scored 79 runs in 126 Games Played with Springfield last year

Wong stole 21 bases and scored 79 runs in 126 Games Played with Springfield last year

The second base position for the St. Louis Cardinals has definitely been the most questionable spot on the field for the last couple of seasons.  Many players have suited up at second base for the Cardinals in recent years, including Felipe Lopez, Daniel Descalso, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot, Tyler Greene, Nick Punto, and even Matt Carpenter (for 1 game).  Based on the lack of a solid option, the Cardinals front office has to be excited about the possibility of finally solidifying the position with a long-term option.  Kolten Wong is that guy.  Not only will he be a great option defensively, he adds a solid left-handed bat at the plate.  The former star for the University of Hawaii spent the 2012 season with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League.  In 126 games played, he posted a Batting Average of .287, 9 HRs, and 52 RBI.  Given the uncertainty of the second base position with the big-league team, it is expected that Wong will at least get a spring training invite with an opportunity to win the job at second base.  More than likely, though, he will start the season with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, hoping to receive a call-up at some point during the 2013 season.

No. 43 – Trevor Rosenthal (P)

Rosenthal Struckout 25 hitters in 22.2 IP for the Cardinals last year after his call up.

Rosenthal Struckout 25 hitters in 22.2 IP for the Cardinals last year after his call up.  He appeared in 19 games, had a 2.78 ERA and  had 7 GF.

Trevor Rosenthal is an exciting young pitcher with an incredibly powerful arm.  Rosenthal had an interesting 2012 season, starting in Double-A with the Springfield Cardinals, getting called up to Triple-A with the Memphis Redbirds, and finally finishing with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Rosenthal started 17 Games for the Springfield Cardinals last season, with a record of (8-6).  In the Majors, Rosenthal appeared in 19 games down the stretch, all relief appearances.  With short relief appearances, Rosenthal was able to be very successful with his power fastball, hitting 100 MPH on a regular basis.  In the Postseason with the Cards, Rosenthal was lights out.  In 7 postseason appearances (8.2 IP), Rosenthal only gave up 2 hits and struck out 15 batters.  With his Major League time in 2012 being highly successful, Rosenthal is likely to make the roster for St. Louis, and will possibly be in consideration to earn a spot as the Cardinals 5th Starter.

No. 33 Carlos Martinez (P)

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez – the next dominant Martinez named Martinez from the DR?

Right-Handed Pitcher Carlos Martinez is yet another strong-arm that could be seeing some action in Major League Baseball very soon.  Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic, is a bright young pitcher in the farm system for the Cardinals.  It has been said of him that his stuff is comparable to that of former Major League Pitcher Pedro Martinez.  Carlos was drafted at the age of 18 and has spent the last three seasons in the Cardinals organization.  In 3 Minor League seasons (51 Games Started) he has posted a total of 15 Wins, with an ERA of 2.76.  He is absolutely a Strikeout pitcher, with 268 Ks in just 248.0 Innings Pitched.  Martinez was fairly successful in 2012, but only averaged about 5 Innings per start.  In 2013, I believe Martinez will start in Double-A with the Springfield Cardinals.  It will be interesting to see how the experience in Double-A in 2012 will affect him in 2013.  He will probably see some longer outings, but will the numbers stay the same?  Only time will tell.

No. 25 – Shelby Miller (P)

Shelby Miller had a nice cup of coffee in the Major Leagues during the 2012 year.  He appeared in 6 games, 13.2 IP - while holding down a 1.32 ERA

Shelby Miller had a nice cup of coffee in the Major Leagues during the 2012 year. He appeared in 6 games, 13.2 IP – while holding down a 1.32 ERA.

No doubt about it, Miller looks like a future ace for the Cardinals pitching staff.  Although Miller struggled in Triple-A in 2012, he got a chance to suit up for the big-league squad in early September.  Miller is an incredible young arm that looks poised to make the team in 2013, and now possibly even the starting rotation with the loss of Chris Carpenter.  After his call-up to the Cardinals in September, Miller was able to relax and be effective.  It seems that it was good for Miller to get an early chance in the big-league, perhaps before he was actually ready. 

Miller was clearly struggling in Triple-A Memphis in 2012, but was fantastic in September in his first ever MLB action.  He appeared in 6 games in 2012, giving up only 2 runs, and posted a 1.32 ERA.  The Cardinals clinched the 2nd NL Wild Card spot with only one game to go on the schedule.  Manager Mike Matheny used the one game left to play as a great opportunity to see what Shelby Miller could do as a starter.  In his first start in the majors, Shelby pitched 6 Innings of shutout baseball, giving up only 1 hit against the Cincinnati Reds.  Miller proved that he has great potential to be a dominating ace of the staff at the top-level for many years to come.

No. 3 – Oscar Taveras (OF)

Last offseason, the Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran in order to help make up for the production of Albert Pujols.  Beltran fit in nicely in 2012, but is only signed until the end of 2013.  At age 35, though, the Cardinals can’t count on him to continue the production for too much longer.  They shouldn’t have to though, because by that time Oscar Taveras should be big-league ready.  The 20-Year-Old outfielder is a future star at the big-league level.  All he has done at every level is hit.  Last year, Taveras played in Double-A for the Springfield Cardinals. 

He posted some incredibly impressive numbers,  with a .321 Batting Average, 23 HRs, and 94 RBI in only 124 Games Played.  Taveras has been invited to Spring Training with the Cardinals this year, and it will be interesting to see how he fits in with the club.  He’s a guy that’s sure to get serious consideration to make the opening day roster, but he will likely end up in Triple-A with the Memphis Redbirds in order to get more At Bats and continue developing his skills.  It is possible that we could see Taveras at the big-league level at some point in 2013, but it seems the Cardinals organization is aiming more for 2014 as the year for Taveras.

As you can see from this list of prospects, the Cardinals have one of the best farm system in baseball.  The franchise has the perfect balance right now of veteran players and prospects.  This healthy balance should help them easily maintain a winning culture in St. Louis.  The young guys will not have too much pressure on them to perform at a high level early on in their careers, but the older guys will be able to age gracefully, yet still have plenty of playing time to contribute to the team’s success.  When just looking at the MLB team in St. Louis, some Cardinals fans might worry a bit about this year; but if the club can remain healthy, they have a wonderful chance to fight for a division title in the NL Central in 2013.  

Taveras hit for a 3 Slash Line of .321/.380/.953 in AA Springfield last year.

Taveras hit for a 3 Slash Line of .321/.380/.953 in AA Springfield last year. He also had 67 Extra Base hits in the Minors – which is a true indication of his power.  He will have a great chance to be an everyday player by 2014.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of www.mlbreports.com and their partners.***

A big thank-you goes out to our Cardinals Correspondent Landen Crouch for preparing today’s featured article.  Landen is a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.  He has followed them almost religiously since he was 7-Years-Old.  In recent years, though, he has discovered how deep his passion for the game of baseball is.  His dream is to visit as many ballparks as he can in his lifetime.  Landen does not currently cover sports professionally, but as a hobby.  He is studying Vocal Music Education at Arkansas Tech University and is his final year in the program.  He is set to graduate in December of this year.  Follow and Interact with Landen on Twitter

 a landen crouch

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Posted on February 7, 2013, in On the Verge: MLB Prospects, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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