Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 5/3/13
At 17-11, the St. Louis Cardinals sit atop the NL Central and are tied with Atlanta and Colorado for the best mark in the National League. There is one major weakness with the Cards, though -- their bullpen has been an absoloute disaster in the absence of Jason Motte. Their relievers are putting up the worst ERA (5.90), highest opponent OBP (.359), highest opponent SLG (.454) and third-most blown saves (6) in the National League. The current bullpen is lacking in good options, reinforcements are needed, and that's why top prospect Carlos Martinez is being promoted straight from Double A. Mitchell Boggs acted as the team's closer to start the season, but lost it in less than a month to Edward Mujica. After another multi-walk (and this time, no-outs-recorded) outing Thursday night in Milwaukee, Boggs has now lost his roster spot to Martinez. In 10.2 innings this season, Boggs has walked 12 batters, allowed 17 hits and has been charged with 15 earned runs. Most of the ERA damage happened on April 8, when he allowed seven runs (six earned) on four walks and two hits against the Reds, but the clean outings have been few and far between. Martinez was ranked 38th in Baseball America's preseason Top 100 prospects list, and the third-best prospect in the St. Louis system behind Oscar Taveras (arguably the best outfield prospect in baseball) and Shelby Miller (who's struck out over 27% of the Major League batters he's faced as a 22-year-old). With stuff that can reach triple digits, the 21-year-old Martinez has struck out 277 batters in 259.2 career minor league innings as a starter. He'll be making the same Double A starter-to-MLB bullpen jump another hard-throwing righty -- Trevor Rosenthal -- made last year when the St. Louis bullpen was having similar issues. Rosenthal threw 22.2 innings for the Cards in the regular season last year, struck out 28% of the batters he faced in the regular season and was untouchable in the playoffs, striking out 15 and allowing just two hits in 8.2 innings. Even with the trouble the Cards have had at the back end of the bullpen, it seems unlikely that Martinez would be thrown into the closer's role as a rookie. Don't forget, though, that's where Adam Wainwright got his start in 2006 for that year's World Series winner before jumping back to the rotation the next year. Truthfully, Martinez is more valuable as a middle-inning, need-a-strikeout fire man anyway, rather than being reserved solely for the 9th inning. If you want an explanation as to how the Cardinals manage to keep winning even with all the injuries and roster turnover in recent years, this would be a pretty solid example. Not only do they have the resources to maintain a respectable payroll and keep (most of) their stars in town, but they also have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. Guys like Rosenthal and Martinez would be #1 pitching prospects for most organizations. They can't even crack the rotation in St. Louis. That's scary for other teams in the NL Central, and if Martinez can solidify the bullpen, it'll be a problem for the rest of the National League, too. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch] [follow]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Albert Pujols mocks Rangers pitcher after beef

Top 10 takeaways from the 2017 NFL Draft

Mitchell Trubisky booed at Celtics-Bulls game, for some reason

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Larry Bird's sudden exit adds to uncertainty surrounding Paul George, Pacers

Nationals Adam Eaton out for season with torn ACL

WATCH: Isaiah Thomas talks trash about Bulls on court during Game 6

Jets WR Devin Smith to miss all of 2017 with torn ACL

WATCH: Seahawks use scuba diver to announce 2017 NFL Draft pick

Marshawn Lynch takes out full-page ad in newspaper to thank Seahawks fans

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker