The St. Louis Cardinals must trust their young starting pitchers to deliver big in 2018.
As mentioned, the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation is one of the more intriguing parts of the roster entering the new year. Most notably, Luke Weaver is slotted for a starting spot after coming on strong in the rotation late last season.
Weaver went 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 13 appearances last season, 10 of them starts. The Cardinals appear ready to let go of the reigns and commit to him being a big piece of the rotation. Make no mistake, this is absolutely the right move with Weaver. He was a first round pick for a reason.
Surely there will be growing pains for Weaver, but he has the maturity as a young starter to blossom quickly. He’s performed exceptionally in the Cardinals’ minor league system. He’s at the stage where there’s nothing more he needs to prove. He deserves a spot in the starting rotation.
Weaver isn’t the only young Redbird that will get a look this season in the rotation. Alex Reyes is on the mend, and will likely hear his name called to start some games for the Cardinals this season. The organization will ease him along, since he’s still the team’s top overall prospect and rebounding from major surgery.
At the same time, once he’s ready to go, the Cardinals shouldn’t hesitate to plug him into the rotation should the need arise. Reyes has the size to withstand a large workload, and certainly the stuff to be dominant.
If the Cardinals find themselves in the thick of the playoff race come summer, Reyes could be the guy to put them over the top. The organization must be prudent in considering Reyes’ future, but also opportunistic in using Reyes to accomplish what it desires in 2018.
Aside from Weaver and Reyes, the Cardinals still have some starting pitching depth at the minor league level. After trading Sandy Alcantara to the Miami Marlins as part of the Marcell Ozuna deal, Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson are the top two starting pitching prospects in the Cardinals’ system.
Flaherty and Hudson will be needed in some capacity by the Cardinals at some point this season. Flaherty was a member of the rotation in September 2017, but will likely begin the 2018 season in the AAA Memphis rotation. He, after Reyes, should be at the top of the starting pitching waiting list in Memphis.
Hudson has yet to make his major league debut, but made major strides in the Cardinals’ system in 2017. He’s on track to break into the big leagues at some point in 2018.
With Weaver, Reyes, Flaherty, and Hudson, the Cardinals have four still very young starting pitchers with high ceilings. Should these four tap into their potential at the big league level this season, the Cardinals could be in great shape with their starting pitching.
Given the question marks surrounding the rotation as it stands now, the Cardinals shouldn’t be afraid to turn to one of their young guns to shore up the pitching outlook in 2018.