St. Louis Cardinals: Which Starting Pitcher Is Most Important?
By Dave Jasmon
Can the young Jedi return to a starting role and avoid a sophomore slump and will this spell the solution to the St. Louis Cardinals’ success?
Luke “Dream” Weaver has appeared in two straight seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, and 2017 showed that he had learned quite a bit from his first checkered run. In limited innings, Weaver has shown an ability to get strikeouts with his excellent stuff, but he’s also shown instances of falling apart that aren’t all that surprising for a 24-year-old.
If Luke takes another leap in 2018, the Cardinals have another solid starter on their hands that could rival any team’s 5th starter.
However, Luke has only started 18 major league games and never pitched more than the 138 innings he pitched last season. Who’s to say that the quality of his innings won’t nosedive as his innings total rises and major league hitters get to see him more and more?
Perhaps he’ll suffer a downturn in performance; a sophomore slump, as it were. Maybe his arm won’t hold up, as we’ve seen from so many other young pitchers who get overextended.
Why Luke Weaver is the most important starting pitcher
More from Redbird Rants
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- What’s next for the St. Louis Cardinals after Contreras signing?
- Report: Cardinals Emerge As Mystery Team for Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Trade targets after signing Willson Contreras
- Reflecting on the 2013 Cardinals’ top 30 prospects
When the Cubs added Darvish, their 4th and 5th starters became Kyle Hendricks and Tyler Chatwood (presumably). Assuming Mikolas is passable as a starter, the Cardinals need Luke Weaver to be better than the league’s other 4th and 5th starters. He looks like he can be more than that, but how soon? If it’s not this year, then what?
If Weaver not only shows that he’s a serviceable pitcher who can throw a full season’s worth of innings, that will go a long way towards solidifying what seems like a wobbly St. Louis Cardinals rotation. If he needs more seasoning, though, the back end of this rotation could be very week until Reyes shows he’s ready.
If forced to choose, I’d say the most important St. Louis Cardinals starter is Carlos Martinez. If he’s not an ace, everyone who follows him will have to not only answer the questions surrounding them, but exceed them in order to compete with the Cubs and Brewers. Alternatively, I think the next most important pitchers are the rotation’s backups: Reyes and Flaherty.
By not adding a veteran starting pitcher, Mo and Co. have made a clear statement: They think that the organization’s young guns are the best choice for pitching the innings that a veteran would have otherwise been given.
Next: Plan-B for the 2018 Cardinals
If the youth movement is everything it’s supposed to be, than it shouldn’t matter as much if Wacha is a middle of the rotation guy, if Wainwright is just plain old, if Mikolas is a bust, or if Weaver isn’t the immediate answer.