Looking back at the 7 starters who the Cardinals failed to develop into an ace

How on earth have the Cardinals not developed an ace in recent memory? Well, these 7 prospects all had a chance, but never realized that potential with St. Louis for a variety of reasons
St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Mike Stobe/GettyImages
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Shelby Miller

When Shelby Miller made his MLB debut during the 2012 season, I was bought in on him being a future ace in the league. Coming into 2013, he was the 25th-ranked prospect in all of baseball, and he backed it up with an incredible rookie campaign, going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA over 173.1 innings of work. Miller, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn all looked like they were going to lead the Cardinals' rotation for years to come.

Miller was not quite as good in 2014, posting a 3.74 ERA in 183 innings of work. That offseason, Miller was dealt to the Atlanta Braves for star outfielder Jason Heyward, as the Cardinals had just lost Oscar Taveras in a fatal car crash and made a panic move to replace him.

Miller was dominant for the Braves that next season. Although he led the league with 17 losses, he had a 3.02 ERA over 205.1 innings of work and was an All-Star that year. He was then flipped that offseason by the Braves for Arizona's top prospect Dansby Swanson.

On his third team in three years, Miller fell apart as a Diamondback. In his third start with the Diamondbacks, Miller injured his middle finger on the follow-through of a pitch where his hand hit the mound. It clearly impacted Miller, and it brought on a string of issues for him over the coming years.

In three seasons with Arizona, Miller had a 5-18 record with a 6.35 ERA and just was never able to regain his ability as a starter. After bouncing around a few organizations as a reliever the last few seasons, he's been a critical part of the Dodgers' bullpen this year, posting a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings of work.

Obviously, the finger injury was a freak accident, so one has to wonder whether or not Miller could have maintained his All-Star level production, or even become a Cy Young contender if he had not had that finger injury happen to him. I doubt the Cardinals would have traded Miller if Taveras had not passed away, and he could have been the next great Cardinal pitcher if he had remained in St. Louis.