Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 6/3/13
The St Louis Cardinals were mocked for most of the 2000’s for having a lackluster minor league system. As of today it is one of if not the best systems in baseball. Suck it, Cubs fans. Unlike the rivals to the north, the St Louis Cardinals have pitching depth that could lead the team to success far beyond 2013. There was supposed to be drop in play this season with age and a regression to the mean forecasted. Heading into June, St. Louis has the best record in baseball without three starting pitchers and one of the best closers from 2012. Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Jason Motte have all missed significant time in 2013. Westbrook may be back by July, and Carpenter is trying to make a comeback as a reliever. Garcia and Motte are done until at least 2014. So who has stepped up to toe the rubber for the Cards? Carry-overs Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly continue to solidify the bullpen, with Rosenthal being trusted to hold the lead leading up to new closer Edward Mujica. He and Kelly could be in the rotation long-term if push came to shove. The prized prospect of the St Louis Cardinals is Shelby Miller. After a cup of coffee in 2012, Miller is now leading the National League with a 1.82 ERA as a starter. Miller should be the future ace of the Redbirds, and a solid 1-2 combo with Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has fully recovered from Tommy John and is back to being a force. The other stud pitcher from the farm is Carlos Martinez. In just three minor league seasons, the 21-year old has compiled a 2.72 ERA while striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings pitched. As a reliever for St. Louis in 2013, he has a 4.5 ERA, but has nine K’s in eight innings. Being pushed to start would hurt his maturation with such a quick rise to the majors. Much like Miller, Martinez will be brought along slowly and is back in the minors. A new face to the mix is Michael Wacha (Flocka Flame…yeah I went there). The 2012 1st round pick was raking as a reliever and steady as a starter in less than a year in the minors. His first career start was May 30 and pitched seven innings of one run ball. Fill-ins like Tyler Lyons and Seth Maness have been welcomed additions in starting and relief roles, with Lyons winning his first two starts of his career. I list all of these guys because without them, the high-powered offense in St. Louis would be trying to out hit every opponent. To see any franchise run out eight pitchers from the minors without hesitation says a lot about the Cardinals organization. If the St Louis Cardinals can keep using pitchers from within their group, the money needed to bring added offense is there for the next few years. As promising as the future looks for the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cardinals are going to stick around for longer than most would like to admit. Follow me on Twitter @jeffrotul44 for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where my weekly column ‘Peaks and Valleys’ covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season. The post St Louis Cardinals have damn good pitching prospects appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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