The Cardinals organization has the greatest collection of talent in the league. There, I said it. Not to suggest they are the perfect team and sure-fire bet to win the World Series, but the talent on their big league roster is enviable and their minor league pipeline is stuff.
If the 2013 Cardinals have a weakness, it is the performance of their bullpen through the first month of the season. Just like last season (in which they lost in the National League Championship Series) and the season before (in which they won the World Series.) Before the Cardinals make their requisite sneaky trade to bolster their relief corps, they first must call up one of their ridiculous arms from the minor leagues.
Today is that day, as the Cardinals announced former fill-in closer Mitchell Boggs was demoted to AAA and 21 year-old pitching prospect Carlos Martinez will take his place, making the jump from double-A to the show.
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) May 3, 2013
Martinez is a starter by trade but, like Trevor Rosenthal last year, the Cardinals will use him out of the bullpen for the time being. Carlos Martinez has affectionately earned the nickname Little Pedro for his small stature and big stuff, with a fastball that reportedly sits around 95 mph but can touch 99 when required. In his preseason Cardinals rundown, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus tabbed Martinez as a possible number two starter though the potential for him to settle as “just” a reliever exists, due to his lack of starter size.
Cardinals staff now includes: Martinez (age 21), Miller (22), Rosenthal (22), Kelly (24), Maness (24) and Lynn (25).
— Andrew Simon (@HitTheCutoff) May 3, 2013
The Cardinals got a live arm for their bullpen for the rest of the season, for free! Questioning the Cardinals development plans for pitchers is nothing sort of reckless (baseball-wide issues aside), so let’s differ to the masters in this instance. Adam Wainwright started as a reliever, as did Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller. That’s 60% of their current starting rotation, btw. If Martinez spends this season in the pen and returns to starting next year, it’s because the Cards think it’s best. They know. They always know.