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A look ahead to 2019 rotation

Updated: Sep 26, 2018


photo from Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com

How will the Cardinal pitching shape up next year? The rotation started this year as.

Martinez

Wacha

Weaver

Mikolas

Flaherty/Wainwright.

Along the way we have seen, Mayers, Gant, Gomber, Hudson, Ross and Poncedeleon.

To me only 2 have solidified a place in the rotation next year.


Mikolas – Nothing but rock steady all year. His ability to throw strikes and consistently get into the 7th inning has been crucial for the team this year. Plus 17 wins right now with a 2.94 ERA in 192IP, and a 4 to 1 K to BB ratio. Opp avg .247 but he has a 1.09 WHIP


Flaherty – I will admit I was down on him in the off season but he has since being called up to replace Wainwright has been very dominate. He is one of two rookie starters with more than 100 innings. Flaherty has complied a 3.08 ERA, a 3 to 1 K to BB ratio and Opp avg of .195 a 1.08 WHIP.


The next tier are guys who have a good chance to make it


Austin Gomber – As a rookie he has appeared in 27 games with 10 starts sporting a 6–1 record with a 3.63 ERA. He is also the only Left hander in the rotation. While he has pitched well, I would like to see a better K to BB ratio,(he currently is under 2) and a better WHIP (currently 1.46). Given that he is a left handed I would say he has a legit shot at making the rotation.


John Gant -Like Gomber (and 5 other pitchers) a rookie this year 23 games 16 as a starter and 109 IP. 7-5 record with a respectable 3.53 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and an opp avg of .214 his K to BB ratio is under 2. He has shown a good maturity factor as a pitcher in his approach to the game. We have not seen him go deep consistently but I think that is more to keep the wear and tear down on his arm. So that he can pitch a full season unlike what Washington did with Strasburg a few years ago and not have him available for the playoffs. Depending on how the off season shakes out, I can see him getting his shot. With a good chance of making it.


Daniel Poncedeleon – a very small sample size for Ponce but you have to like what you see 32 IP 2.81 ERA, 1.16 WHIP teams only hitting .211 against him and a 2-1 K to BB ratio. How good can he be? only time will tell. I am sure he gets a look see during the Spring, but I think it is an outside shot.


Question marks.

Carlos Martinez – Some if not most say he is a no brainer for the rotation next year. I have him as a question mark for a few reasons.

First - is the obvious injuries this year. 3 times on the DL in one season gives reason to worry about his durability going forward.

Second - is his success coming out of the bullpen 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA, 4 for 4 in saves, not a real strong K to BB ratio. His WHIP is high 1.30 but opp are only hitting .208 and teams hitting .176 against him in 13 relief appearances.

Third – The “kids” that we have are creating a logjam for rotation spots.

Fourth – where will our biggest need be for his talent.

He will for sure be in the mix and possibly make the rotation also won't be surprised if he isn't.


Michael Wacha- he has the talent and had a great year going 8-2 with a 3.2 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and Opp avg .231 against him before going on the DL. The setbacks in his recovery this year and the trips to the DL in the last 3 years, leaves a big question mark on his durability. There is no doubt when he is on he is almost lights out. But with the seemingly yearly trip to the DL is he still a starter or should he go the bullpen route. I think going into next year If we do not make an effort to sign Tyson Ross. Michael Wacha will be the long man out of the Pen.


Alex Reyes – missed all of last year pitched 2 months in the minors this year and 1 game then out for the year. His stuff is electric with good control he is young but going into next year he will essentially only a hand full of games over two years. His youth works in his favor as far as physical recovery but what will all this time off do to his mental make up. If I had to lay odds I would say 50-1 he starts in the rotation next year. He may end up there but I don’t see him starting there.


Luke Weaver – 25 games 129IP, 6-11 record, 4.66 ERA, 2.3 K to BB ratio and a 1.44 WHIP and opponents Avg of .271. This season would be considered disappointing at best. His season has been marked by inconsistency even going back to last year. There is no doubt Luke has the talent to be a starter the question is does he have the mental make up to be a starter. He will probably be traded or relegated to the bullpen.


Others.

Adam Wainwright – Will he retire or won't he? He has been non-committal at best. His numbers have not been good, Early in the season April and May he compiled a 1-3 record with 4.00 ERA in 4 starts only managing to go 18 innings. With a 1.83 WHIP a 1-1 K to BB ratio and an Opp avg of .275. since coming of the DL he has had 3 starts going 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA going 17 innings with a 1.15 WHIP a 6-1 K to BB ratio and an opp avg of .254. He has been battling injuries he is 37. He still has a competitive fire and vast pitching knowledge. Will that be enough? I think If he wants to play he will be offered a contract but I doubt it will be as a starter.


Tyson Ross – A good insurance pick up who becomes a Free Agent at the end of the season. Not out of the realm of possibility that they would offer him a contract. 2-0 since joining St. Louis with a 2.10 ERA, a .94 WHIP and an opponent’s BA of .190 in 8 games spanning 25 innings. He could be valuable as a number 5 or as a long man out of the pen. As well as a low cost risk.


Then there is the possibility of going outside the organization however there is little In the way of true top pitchers available.

Clayton Kershaw could opt out of his deal, David Price could also opt out of his deal as well. Either of those Free Agents would be possible.


Other Free Agent options that would fit are:

Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ or Gio Gonzalez.

There is trade possibilities. The Mets were shopping both Syndergard and DeGrom. I think the Mets are in a rebuild as look for Jose Reyes and David Wright to retire. Prospects like say Wisdom, Munoz, Kelly, Knizner, Arozarena, Helsley, Hudson, Poncedeleon, could all be names that are talked about.


Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi could be offered up by the Twins. This might be a spot to move J, Martinez and use a lesser pitcher like Gingery or Cabrera along with say Shrock or Sosa.


The Tigers could be shopping Michael Fulmer if they can't get out of Jordan Zimmerman’s contract. They also could be shopping Mike Fiers. Again another possible place to deal J. Martinez.


The Yankees could be shopping Sonny Gray. Not sure what they would want.

If the Cardinals make no pitching moves I think the rotation stacks up like this going into Spring Training

In NO particular order

Mikolas

Flaherty

Gomber

C. Martinez

Gant

If any pitcher is added from the outside Gant doesn’t make the rotation in my opinion.


Donald A Glenn Jr.

Twitter - #@bortas2002

Email Bortas2002@yahoo.com

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