Jason chats with the Cardinals' top pitching prospect.
When the Cardinals selected Michael Wacha 19th overall in last year’s draft, the right-hander was widely regarded as a polished arm who could potentially zoom to the major leagues. While that has proven to be true––Wacha reached St. Louis less than a year after he was drafted––he’s showing to be more than just a “safe” pick.
The Texas A&M product put himself in the big-league discussion this spring by yielding one unearned run in 11.2 innings out of the bullpen, walking one and striking out 15 while flashing 95-98 mph velocity. The impressive performance yielded an aggressive assignment to Triple-A Memphis out of camp.
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News and notes from around the league for May 31, 2013.
Thanks to Jason Martinez and Clint Chisam of MLB Depth Charts, we'll now be bringing you daily news, notes, transactions, injury updates, and notable performances from the previous day's games...throughout the entire season! And if you like what you see here, don't forget to check out MLBDC's Insider subscription, which also includes starting pitcher rankings and matchups, top 25 batter vs. pitcher stat rankings, lineup tracker (includes lineups from past seven games), rotation report, stat tracker, and more!
The Cardinals dip into their Triple-A rotation to reinforce their depleted big-league staff.
The Situation: After logging only 73 2/3 minor-league innings, Michael Wacha will make his major league debut for the Cardinals against Kansas City today. The club currently has four starters on the disabled list, leaving them with few other options. In fact, three-fifths of the Triple-A Memphis rotation from just two weeks ago is now in the majors. One of those arms, lefty John Gast, landed on the big-league DL this week, creating the need for Wacha.
Background: Regarded as a polished college arm when he was selected 19th overall in last year’s draft, Wacha has moved more quickly than anyone could’ve expected. The Texas A&M product made brief cameos at three levels last summer, striking out 40 batters in 21 innings and rising to Double-A. An impressive performance in spring training, where his fastball touched 98 miles per hour in short bursts, earned him an aggressive Triple-A assignment out of camp. Wacha has been equal to the challenge, posting a 2.05 ERA through nine starts. In 52 2/3 innings, he has yielded just 35 hits, walked 15, and struck out 34.
The Dodgers skipper may be excited about the minor-league production of his organization's top prospects, but neither ranks among Bret's top 25.
I would be remiss not to talk about this past week’s strangest story, at least as far as potential call-ups from the minor leagues are concerned. On Wednesday, Don Mattingly said that the Dodgers had “internal conversations” about calling up top prospects Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson from Double-A Chattanooga.
The way I see it, there are a few different plausible ways this could have gone down. The first is that Mattingly forgot that these two prospects were outfielders and thought they could shore up the Dodgers’ tenuous (that’s being kind) infield situation. The second is that Mattingly brought their names up as a joke to lighten the mood after another Dodgers loss, and then poked a few holes in his Andre Ethier voodoo doll before muttering something under his breath about grit. The final option is that after watching Juan Uribe, Nick Punto, Luis Cruz, and Dee Gordon play for the last eight weeks, he’s just given up on the idea of a traditional infield and instead wanted to go with a five-man outfield.
The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Evaluating the mechanics of six pitchers chosen in the middle of the first round of this year's draft.
After a pitcher-heavy run to round out the top 10 picks of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, MLB clubs took a rest, with just two of the next 10 selections hailing from the mound. The roller-coaster ride continued with four consecutive arms chosen from picks 19 through 22, followed by a seven-pick drought before wrapping up with a pair of pitchers to close out the first round. Today's edition will cover the six-pack of pitchers who were taken in the middle of the round, a stretch that includes all right-handed hurlers, though today's group does involve a healthy mix of prep pitchers and college-trained arms.