From Prospects to Playoffs

What a season. And what a season it might not have been if the farm system hadn’t produced the rookies and prospects it did. So much of the 2013 regular season and even the NLDS and NLCS has been throwing rookie after rookie into the fire and (to the delight of many a Cardinals fan) seeing them emerge from the flames virtually unscathed and not just serving as place-fillers, but leading this team all the way to the World Series. And when you start to think how many quality young players have contributed this season and realize what is/may be coming next season and beyond, it’s scary how good the cardinals can be for the foreseeable future.

So we’re going to take a look at the rookies and prospects that have been a part of this postseason run. Who has over-performed? Who has underperformed? Who has been what we thought they’d be?

*All stats listed are 2013 Postseason stats unless otherwise noted*

Michael Wacha: 3-0, 21.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 22 K, .114 AVG

Not many players go from AAA to spot starting to regular starter to NLDS savior to NLCS MVP. All Michael Wacha has done this season is blow the minds of Cardinals fans and blow away opposing hitters. After going 4-1 in the regular season, Wacha was inserted as a stopper in the NLDS, to which he almost threw ANOTHER no-hitter against the Pirates. From there on he became a regular in the four-man rotation, besting Clayton Kershaw (who TBS never failed to mention as the “best” pitcher in baseball) not once, but TWICE in the NLCS, earning NLCS MVP honors. He’s only given up one run so far, and it was to Pedro Alvarez, who’s torched the Cards for much worse throughout the season. And 22 strikeouts to only 4 walks? Sounds like another Waino with that ratio. Sadly if he doesn’t go 2-0 again in the World Series, everyone will probably forget the crazy awesome postseason he’s had, but maybe he’ll stay hot and go from starting at Texas A&M to winning the World Series. Not a bad first year at all.

Matt Adams: .286 AVG, .333 OPB, .390 SLG, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R

Though Adams has pretty much been with the club all season, I still label him as a prospect because he wasn’t meant to start and was still a potential trade waiting to happen as Craig was putting up historically good RISP numbers. Craig got hurt, enter Matt Adams. And while Adams hasn’t been as good as during the regular season, he hasn’t been horrible, coming on late in the LCS to be respectable. His glove has stayed consistent, but with all new guys, the more pitchers see him, the more they get to know him. So many fastballs high and tight and breaking balls low and away. With Craig coming back to DH in the World Series, I see Adams reaping some benefits of Craig, Beltran and Holliday protecting Big City.

Trevor Rosenthal: 6 G, 3 SV, .100 AVG, 24 SO, 4 BB

Move over Jason Motte, because there’s another young right-handed flamethrower closing out Cardinals postseason games. The setup man for most of 2013 took the closer job by default after Mujica’s All-Star arm went dead. Now the job is Trevor’s and he hasn’t looked back. He’s shut the door against the Pirates and the Dodgers and the saves number is a bit skewed because Matheny has entrused the 9th to Rosenthal with one run leads and nine run leads. Though he’s been a bullpen staple, he’s technically a rookie, so he continues the run of great young pitchers in St. Louis.

Kevin Siegrist: 5 G, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 SO, .364 AVG

It’s hard to measure just how great Siegrist has been since joining the Cardinals bullpen earlier this season. With Choate the token lefty after Scrabble was sent packing, Siegrist has played like a veteran, pitching in everything from lefty specialist roles to setup roles when asked. He was hit more than usual against the Pirates, but regained his mojo in the NLCS.

Carlos Martinez: 0-1, 2.70 ERA, 7 G, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, .105 AVG

This was my pick to be the closer in the postseason. A rookie flamethrower closing out games in the playoffs? I guess Matheny thought that too, but chose Rosenthal. Martinez has filled in the setup role, and has done a mighty fine job in my opinion. Sure he did lose one game, but the Pirates were going to score against this bullpen and it just so happened to be against Martinez. He was lights out against the Dodgers and will be against the Sox as well. I’ll be intrigued to see whether the cardinals groom him as a starter to contend for the 5th spot next season or as a permanent setup or 7th inning guy. Probably a starter, but who knows?

Seth Maness: 5 G, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO

The “double-play guy” for most of the year has been called upon a few times this season. He hasn’t induced many double plays, and I’m sure he’s given up runs (though not credited to his stats), but he has been fine as far as the eyeball test.

Adron Chambers: 5 G, 5 AB, 0 H, 3 SO, .000 AVG

Chambers has never been much of a hitter, but he’s super fast and a decent defensive outfielder. Often put in pinch-hitting situations, he hasn’t had time to get in a rhythm and thus, he hasn’t hit. That last strikeout in Game 5 was a complete bogus strike call though.

Kolten Wong: 3 G, 3 AB, 0 H, 1 SO, .000 AVG

See Chambers’ report and substitute infield for outfield.

Overperforming Rookies: Wacha, Rosenthall, Martinez

Underperforming Rookies: Chambers, Wong (limited and inconsistent sample size)

What We Expected Rookies: Adams, Siegrist, Maness

Enjoy the World Series, Cardinals fans. It’s been a great year, and another pennant is no small feat. Hopefully these rookies can keep up the good work and help Beltran and the gang to their second title in three years.

 

 

 

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