October 12, 2012
Big League Ready-or-Not
Even when a player has developed and shows he might be ready to handle major league competition, some clubs are still hesitant to promote from within, preferring instead to play a veteran incumbent. This is often particularly true if the club is trying to compete rather than rebuild. However, many organizations are willing to bet on youth, even if letting the incumbent go is more expensive.
Several top prospects figure to play heavily into the decision-making process this winter when their clubs consider trades and free agents to shore up their rosters. Here are just a few players who are good bets to get some consideration as viable options:
Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals
Miller was inconsistent at best during his first 17 starts in Triple-A Memphis before tweaking his mechanics and showing his offspeed stuff with more regularity. He also put back on some of the weight he lost over last offseason, which may have aided the life on his fastball and his durability within each start.
If the Cardinals are as convinced as I am that Miller is ready for a full season in the majors—workload should not be much of an obstacle, ether—it could mean the end of the line for soon-to-be free agent right-hander Kyle Lohse, even if Garcia's status for 2013 does not fall in the club's favor.
If Garcia is ready to go next spring, Miller could push Lance Lynn or Jake Westbrook to the bullpen, and certainly allows GM John Mozeliak to focus on improving the club's middle infield and bullpen depth rather than having to consider spending money or trade assets on the rotation.