St. Louis Cardinals: Trevor Rosenthal Should Be A Starter
The St. Louis Cardinals had a stellar closer fall from grace in 2016 and now have a dilemma to face with him in 2017.
Trevor Rosenthal had served as the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals since 2012. This was a great success until injury and exhaustion started taking its toll in 2015 and 2016. Add to this the acquisition of Seung-Hwan Oh and Rosey was bumped out of the closer role.
Rosenthal took these moves in stride but each year hinted at his desire to become a starter. Should 2017 be the year the St. Louis Cardinals actually experiment with this idea?
With the offseason addition of Brett Cecil, the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen seems stocked at the back end. The 2017 bullpen looks to close games with some variation of Kevin Siegrist, Brett Cecil, Matt Bowman, and Oh. So where does this leave Rosenthal?
Let’s look at his starting numbers from his rising career:
|162 Game Avg.||2||5||2.92||68||0||40||0||27||68||60||22||3||30||88||292||1.323|
Notice that he held his own in AA/AAA as a starter despite these numbers coming some five seasons ago. In those outings, Rosey amassed 104 strikeouts over the 109 innings pitched and 440 batters faced. His ERA is pretty respectable there too.
In my opinion, the time has come for the organization to actually commit to the experiment and have Rosenthal start Spring Training as a starter with the goal of beginning 2017 in Memphis. I know this is a quick jump to my conclusion but I want to show you similar numbers existing currently in Memphis.
Here’s our first comparison: Marco Gonzales. The St. Louis Cardinals organization need to make decisions about Marco too. For comparison sake, Marco last pitched in AAA in 2015 when he split time between A/AA/AAA and pitched a total of 80.2 innings posting an ERA of 4.69 and striking out sixty-one of 359 batters faced.
Marco and Rosenthal should compete for starting spots this spring and both, in my opinion, should be starters for Memphis out of the gate.
Another comparison contender is Luke Weaver. We were all enamored by Weaver in 2016 but with the stocked starters rotation entering 2017 in St. Louis, I am not sure that 2017 is the season to have Weaver break camp with the big boys. That said, I think it would be wise for him to be in Memphis.
As a point of comparison to Rosenthal (in an effort to justify Rosey’s starting experiment), Weaver last started in 2016 when he split time with AA/AAA in eighty-three innings posting an ERA of 1.30 and striking out ninety-two of 330 batters faced. Even though Rosenthal’s numbers were some five seasons ago, they seem to hold in line with Weaver’s stats.
Marco, Rosenthal, and Weaver should compete for starting spots this spring and all three, in my opinion, should be starters for Memphis out of the gate.
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Let’s look at one more: Arturo Reyes. Reyes was a starter for Memphis in 2016. I am listing him here to illustrate Rosenthal’s legitimacy as a starter in AAA. In 2016, Reyes pitched in 101.1 innings, surrendered ninety-seven hits and forty-seven earned runs, all culminating in a 4.17 ERA. Rosenthal, should he repeat his numbers of 2012 as a starter in AAA, would outshine these numbers.
All of the above comparisons suggest to me that Rosenthal would be best suited for himself and for the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a starter in Memphis at the start of 2017. Let’s be honest, Rosenthal needs to add value to himself and to the team and this might be tarnished sitting and waiting in St. Louis.
Let me jump to a conclusion then: Rosenthal MUST be a starter for Memphis. Here’s another: Rosenthal is destined to be traded as he has lost real estate in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and his value will gain through AAA starting experience. Here’s one more: Rosenthal’s best value to the organization in 2017 will be as security against injury and is best protected in Memphis.
Next: Matt Adams for Jerrod Dyson?
All of these things considered, the real question will be whether Mozeliak and the organization share these feelings and whether the market is ready for a changed Rosenthal. Time will tell as Spring Training approaches– please come quickly!