Cardinals’ Rotation has a Bright Future


That’s right folks. Believe it or not, the rotation has got quite a promising future outlook. Don’t believe me? Well then, just sit back, relax, and digest the following…

Before we get into the outlook for this rotation, though, don’t think that my words will pertain to this year. The Cardinals will definitely struggle this year with the loss of Wainwright, and most of that struggle will involve the starting rotation.

However, that does not take anything away from the exciting outlook for future St. Louis starting rotations. With Wainwright’s return scheduled for as early as this time next year and the developing young fireballers that the Cardinals have in their farm system, in a few years this rotation might match that of the Philadelphia Phillies. Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But, trust me. Before long, these guys will really be fun to watch.

The first, essential piece to this future all-star rotation that the Cardinals are building is of course Adam Wainwright. Although he will be out for 12-15 months recovering from Tommy John’s surgery, the one piece of good information that came away from this ordeal was that most pitchers recover fully from this surgery. In fact, many guys come back as even stronger pitchers than they were before the surgery. Hopefully the Cardinals will be able to get him some kind of a contract extension to tie him down for the years to come. Cardinals fans would love to see that guy retire a Cardinal.

Assuming that Wainwright will be able to come back sometime next year, perhaps the Cardinals will be able to pick-up Carpenter’s option for 2012 in order to keep the 1-2 punch together for one last year.

These two guys might be with the team next year. Or, Wainwright might not heal and Carpenter might be out. Who knows?

If Chris Carpenter doesn’t stay with the team past this year, the Cardinals still have a good couple of pitchers in Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook.

But we’ve seen these four guys together before. We’ve seen the 1-2 punch of Waino and Carp rack up wins for St. Louis. What makes the next few years any different? What is the real subject of this article?

Two men: Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. Or should I say kids. These two guys are arguably the top pitching prospects in the St. Louis farm system.

Miller has been with the team since 2009, and he has been quickly rising through the ranks. Making national news this year, Miller was named to the number 20 spot of MLB’s preseason top 50 prospects. Miller is 20 years old. For my article on Miller, click here.

Then there’s Martinez, the dazzling nineteen year old out of the Dominican Republic. This Cardinals prospect threw for the first time on American soil Saturday. And boy, did he throw.

Various members of the Cardinals brain trust were there for this guy’s throwing session on Saturday, showing the hype of this prospect. Although Martinez seemed somewhat nervous and moved too quickly at times, the stuff he was throwing was impressive. He threw comfortably in the mid 90’s and was able to reach 97-99 mph. Eyewitnesses also reported a lot of bite on his breaking ball, while his change-up lagged behind his top two pitches. But he as all the time in the world to improve.

Martinez will probably stay in the U.S. this year rather than go back to the Dominican Republic, and may even play for the low class A Quad Cities Bandits, one of the Cards’ minor league affiliates.

The expectations are high for this young man who received a $1.5 million signing bonus last fall. In fact, even Mozeliak had high praise for the young man, saying that “you can tell he’s got a big time arm.”

It usually takes a good two to three years to develop pitching prospects before they are given a shot in the big leagues. However, with the maturity shown from Miller and the skill and firepower shown from Martinez, we may be seeing these guys on the big stage sooner rather than later.