Jul 19, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (62) throws to a San Diego Padres batter during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. St. Louis defeated San Diego 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Questions: Birdinals Pitching


In October the world of baseball drooled as the St. Louis Cardinals unleashed their beastly young arms. Both starters and relievers demonstrated why the Cards cannons are a slice above the rest of MLB.

More than Rookies

Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist and Seth Maness all had remarkable impacts last season.  However, the best rookie performance by a Cardinals pitcher in 2013 was Shelby Miller.  During the regular season Miller amassed 15 wins, had a 3.06 ERA, and was considered for the Rookie of the Year award.  Nevertheless he was shutdown after being overused (173.1 innings) and giving up a projectile in the NLDS.

After the freshman have an offseason to work, their improvements will be clear.  The power pitchers (all but Maness) will have better change-ups to buckle more knees in 2014.  Being that all of the above are 25 or younger, it is likely that they still have some room before they reach their lofty ceilings.

The only question about the Redbirds soon to be sophomore slingers is how good they will be next year.

Determined Veterans

Will Mr. Motte still have the stinky cheese? Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every group of young players needs elders to look up to and  learn from.  While many of the wiser ones were banged up last season they are scheduled to return in 2014.  But after going under the sword it is difficult to predict what next year will bring for the organization’s experienced pitchers.

Will Jason Motte have a beard that rivals Brian Wilson‘s?  Is Motte going to have a successful comeback like Brian Wilson‘s?

Is Adam Wainwright going to be able to shake off an embarrassing World Series and contend for the Cy Young Award again?  Will Wainwright be the leader that is needed to guide the younger arms toward continued supremacy?

This shadowed figure is none other than the only southpaw starter for the Birds. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Lefty Jaime Garcia is returning from shoulder surgery after being out for most of 2013, and  he is still expected to have his red glove.  But will Jaime have the same stuff on the bump?  In 2012 Jaime hit .250, but will he continue to be solid in the 9 spot in 2014?

Will old Randy Choate be the lefty that St. Louis expects him to be?  Is Choate going to be in a Cardinals uniform in August or will Sam Freeman have taken his spot by then?

Experienced Youngsters

Joe Kelly was the 2013 second half Cardinals MVP.  Kelly’s stout summer and fall transformed him from a guy that lost his spot in the rotation last March to a guy that is favored this March.  Will JK be the long man or a starter in 14′?

Lance Lynn, aka Lance Light, looked different but acted the same in 2013.  He has not been the team player that his Little League coaches or his MLB manager would like because he is unpredictable. Will LL have the presence in the rotation that he has over the past two seasons?  If not, how much longer will he play for the Cardinals?

Yadi’s got the touch. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The pitching in St. Louis that appears stronger than ever has created a rugged sense of confidence for the club. No matter the opposing bat in the box the Birds on the Bat have an answer because of stellar drafts and sound development.

But Yadier Molina is the one man who makes all of the  STL hurlers better due to his dominance behind the plate. Without Yadi, these pitchers would have to read more signs, hold runners closer, and worry about passed balls.  After a year with countless faces on the hill, it is nice to imagine the success that more consistency will bring in 2014.

*Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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  • john weitzman

    Lots of good questions you asked here ! I believe way too many beat reporters in STL are taking the Rookies and the season they had for granted. “if thats the correct word to use” There are going to be many sophomores this season and all of these questions are valid ! One thing that may come back to haunt them is the lack of veterans on the pitching staff. I do not consider Lynn or Garcia vets and both have mental issues to overcome on the mound. Carpenters lack of presence may be felt. As good as the Rookies where I just do not see a sold 1,2,3 punch with Wainwright being the only veteran. Maybe and hopefully I am wrong and Miller/Wacha will be the 2, 3 punch needed for this rotation.. Leaving Lynn, Garcia, Kelly, as the 4, 5 at least till July,.. One thing about Kelly is he has been consistent and fearless ever since he came up, unlike Lynn and Garcia..

    • Thomas Demerath

      You said it well John. Kelly is indeed fearless. Thanks for the read and praise!