The St. Louis Cardinals have toyed with the idea of carrying 13 pitchers and this might be outcome of spring. Either way, names are still battling for spots of any nature.
The St. Louis Cardinals of 2018 can consider themselves pitching rich. This means that many names carry stats worthy of spots. Names such as Jack Flaherty, John Brebbia, Dominique Leone, Bud Norris, Jason Motte, Dakota Hudson, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Edward Mujica are all vying for spots in the pitching corp.
As with the bench roles above, let’s look first the stats and then dive into a discussion of each.
I wish there was a nice HTML table of Mujica’s work this spring but there just isn’t. That said, Mujica notched the save today against the Atlanta Braves. For a clip of his performance, click here.
Each name carries some worth that would make them a nice fit for the pitching corp for new pitching coach Mike Maddux, but not all can make it. While the St. Louis Cardinals might consider carrying thirteen pitchers, perhaps the bench is more valuable.
Jack Flaherty should 100 percent make the team. He needs to either be one of the starters or starting the season in the pen as the rotational sixth starter when needed. Either way, the St. Louis Cardinals need this impressive arm on their mound in some way.
John Brebbia is a name that many could consider already on the squad thanks to his performances in 2017 and those individuals would not be wrong. Brebbia is likely already on the St. Louis Cardinals opening day roster. And that’s the way it should be.
Bud Norris is one who should and could find his way departing Spring Training either in the minors or released. While he brought with him protective promise for the starting rotation, the Cardinals quickly moved him to pen duties with even considering him as a potential closer. I wanted to be impressed by him, but simply am not.
Jason Motte was a great story and had all the promise of being the reclamation piece that the St. Louis Cardinals were at one time known for, but that was back in the day of Dave Duncan. Maddux is amazing but I’m not sold yet that he is reclamation Jedi that was Duncan. I look for Motte to serve 2018 with Memphis and likely fill in when needed in the pen.
Dakota Hudson is amazing. Period. That said, I doubt the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to expose him just yet. While he has had a nice spring, it would do him well to serve a bit more time in the minors but don’t count him out. Injuries could pull him quickly onto the I-55 shuttle to St. Louis.
Daniel Poncedeleon, like Motte, carries with him an incredible St. Louis Cardinals story. This was to be the comeback kid and he well could be this. His spring numbers aren’t impressive but him simply appearing on the mound is in light of the life-threatening circumstances of 2017. Look for Poncedeleon to wet his chops in Memphis and to be a name to watch at the trade deadline.
Edward Mujica is an interesting, interesting name. To me, he is the incumbent backup for Gregerson if he falls or is injured. That said, it makes the most sense to see him start the year in Memphis. Should he show the front office that he has the closing chops that he had during his days of St. Louis Cardinals past, then the club can rest a little easier risking with Gregerson.
Here’s my final take on the arms: look for the club to NOT carry 13 pitchers. But, if they do, or if they want to consider any of the names above to break camp with the St. Louis Cardinals, I look for Flaherty and Brebbia to be on the flight from Canada to New York for Opening Day.