With spring training wrapping up, and Opening Day just around the corner, it is time to take a look at who will be on the St. Louis Cardinals’ major league roster to start the season and what to expect from each of them. Here is a look at the pitchers.
Adam Wainwright – The staff ace was an All-Star and finished second in the Cy Young Award ballot and there is every reason to expect similar results this year. Wainwright appears to be firing on all cylinders already as his final two spring starts were 13 innings of shutout ball.
Michael Wacha – The October sensation of last year will be looking to establish himself as a reliable innings-eater this year. He has been phenomenal already, how much will he improve this year?
Lance Lynn – While he has posted a run-of-the-mill ERA over the past two seasons, no one in the National League has tallied more wins. Consistency has been the struggle for Lynn thus far in his career, but look for notable improvement in that area with another year of maturity and his contract becoming arbitration eligible next offseason.
Shelby Miller – Once the prized prospect in the Cardinals’ system, Miller must feel the need to make significant improvements from a stellar rookie campaign as the Cardinals seem to find more and more young, hard-throwing pitchers similar to him.
Joe Kelly – Over the past two seasons he has become a reliable starter, and now he will have his chance from the beginning of the season to prove he can eat innings and earn wins.
Seth Maness – Maness is a groundball extraordinaire who was once developing to be a starter. He may have to take the long relief duties this season if the Cardinals do not find any other options for that role.
Pat Neshek – The Cardinals picked up Neshek this offseason after a comeback year with the Athletics. He has a unique delivery which can be very difficult for opposing right-handers.
Kevin Siegrist – Talented lefty who has the stuff to be a starter some day, he was fantastic in his first season with the Cardinals and could take another step this year.
Randy Choate – The matchup lefty performed admirably last season and the Cardinals expect the same from the veteran this season.
Carlos Martinez – Martinez is the wild card, in many ways, of this pitching staff. Groomed to be a starter, Martinez competed with Joe Kelly all spring for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. Martinez looked better than Kelly in many respects, with much better stats, but the Cards went with Kelly nevertheless. The volatile Martinez now will be used to man the high-leverage eighth inning set up role. His psyche is something to keep an eye on as the club continues to bounce him around.
David Aardsma (Replacement for Jason Motte until he is back healthy around late April/early May) – The Cardinals signed Aardsma this week and he figures to be the final piece in the bullpen. It is tough to project how he will fit in when Motte comes back as long as there are no other injuries, but it is nice to have a veteran reliever like Aardsma to fall back on.
Trevor Rosenthal – Rosenthal was excellent as he filled the closer role for the Cards late in the season, and he did not allow a run in over 11 innings of postseason play. Rosenthal also could be a starter down the road, but for now his nasty stuff will be utilized in the all-important closing inning.